FTC Cracks Down On Spyware Seller CyberSpy Software

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Well this case has taken a while but the FTC won in the end and reached a settlement two years after halting the company from selling it’s “100 per cent undetectable” commercial keylogging application.

It’s interesting to see court cases that venture into the grey area of ethics, I think the main problem stemmed from the information CyberSpy provided along with it’s software. They gave instructions on how to covertly send the application via e-mail and disguise it as an image attachment or an innocuous piece of software.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has reached a settlement with Florida spyware vendor CyberSpy Software, two years after suing the company for selling “100 percent undetectable” keylogging software.

Under the terms of the settlement, announced Wednesday, CyberSpy can keep selling its RemoteSpy spyware but must take new steps to prevent it from being misused or advertised as a tool for spying on someone else’s computer.

To prevent its program from being used illegally, CyberSpy must make changes to it to prevent surreptitious installation, and “encrypt data transmitted over the Internet, police their affiliates to ensure they comply with the order, and remove legacy versions of the software from computers,” the FTC said in a statement.

The FTC sued CyberSpy in November 2008 in an effort to get it to change its business practices.

The final verdict is CyberSpy can continue selling it’s software as that itself is illegal, but they must take precautions to prevent it from being misused or abused and they can no longer advertise it as a tool for spying on others.

This is why ethical cases are a little odd, they can continue selling the exact same software with the same functions – they just have to market it differently and not give people instructions which enable them to spy on others.

Not like people can’t find the same info elsewhere.

CyberSpy used to advertise its product as a tool that let users “secretly and covertly monitor and record PC’s without the need of physical access.”

Today, it’s billed as a tool that lets users spy on their own PCs — in order to keep tabs on children or employees.

The company previously had provided detailed instructions on how to attach a RemoteSpy executable file to an e-mail message, disguised as a photo or legitimate file attachment, the FTC said.

Today, CyberSpy simply advises users to do a Google search on compressing executable attachments, if they want to send RemoteSpy to their own computer and keep it from being blocked by e-mail filters.

CyberSpy have shifted their marketing slightly and now promote the tool as something to spy on your own computers (on your kids/employees etc.) – which is still highly questionable, but not illegal.

They also now include a disclaimer on the RemoteSpy page which states:

Notice: Installing computer monitoring tools on computers you do not own or do not have permission to monitor may violate local, state or federal law.

Source: Network World

Posted in: Legal Issues, Malware, Privacy


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One Response to FTC Cracks Down On Spyware Seller CyberSpy Software

  1. Bogwitch June 6, 2010 at 11:33 pm #

    If this was a UK based company, I suspect a prosecution under the trade description act would be more successful. “100 per cent undetectable” my backside!