Fake spyware warning ends up in a $84,000 fine

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Fake spyware warning ends up in a $84,000 fine

Washington State has ordered an Oregon man to pay almost $84,000 for his part in selling fake anti-spyware programs. Zhijian Chen of Secure Computer was sued by Microsoft and by Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna for sending fake warning messages to victim’s computers. The messages warned that the victim’s computers were vulnerable and had a link to Chen’s “Spyware Cleaner” program.

While two other men from Secure Computer were also sued, Chen was the first person ordered to pay up. In all, he will have to come up with just under $84,000 at an interest rate of 12%. $24,000 is for civil fines, while $16,000 and $43,917 are for victim restitution and lawyer fees, respectively.

Chen used a built-in Windows command, “Net send”, to send false pop-up warnings to computers. These messages had a link to Secure Computer’s website and offered a free spyware scan. Afterwards, the victims could order the Spyware Cleaner software for $50.

Chen and the other two defendants were charged under Washington’s 2005 Computer Spyware Act.