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At the request of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the court also ordered a halt to the deceptive downloads of a marketing affiliate that helped spread malicious software by offering free background music for blogs.
The court has frozen the organizations' assets pending a further hearing.
The FTC alleges the practices are unfair and deceptive and violate the FTC Act. The agency will seek a permanent ban on the practices and redress for consumers. It will also seek to permanently bar the practices and seek restitution for victims.
The FTC complaint alleges that the Web sites of the defendants and their affiliates cause "installation boxes" to open on consumers' computer screens.
In one variation of the scheme, the installation boxes offer a variety of freeware, including music files, cell phone ringtones, photographs, wallpaper and song lyrics.
In another, the boxes warn that the users' Internet browsers are defective and offer to upgrade the browsers with security patches. Instead, the FTC claims, the upgrades were infected with spyware.This article was first published on InternetNews.com. To read the full article, click here.