by Mike Masnick

FBI Arrests Adware Affiliate Who Used Trojans To Install Adware

from the criminal-problems dept

The various adware companies out there like to pawn off the blame concerning all the sneaky installs onto their various "affiliates." While this has been a convenient excuse while the adware firms themselves have turned a blind eye to those affiliates, it is true that many of the affiliates were especially nasty. Once the threat of potential lawsuits got hot enough, many adware firms started turning on their affiliates, in some cases suing them. However, many of those affiliates may have more to worry about than a civil suit from adware firms. The FBI has arrested a guy who was an affiliate for 180Solutions and other adware firms. It turns out that this guy didn't just use typical sneaky install mechanisms. He built up a whole botnet of zombie computers, but instead of using them for denial of service attacks and keylogging or whatever, he used them to install adware systems. In the end, he made about $60,000 from the affiliate revenue. Oh yeah, he also rented out the botnet for others to do denial of service attacks and spamming runs, so it wasn't like he completely avoided that aspect also. What's oddest about this story, though, is that someone from 180Solutions admits the guy was an affiliate, but that his installs dropped off in January: "I don't know if he wised up, or somebody was on to him, or what." Shouldn't 180Solutions have been monitoring this and figuring out how he was getting so many users? From that quote, it sounds like they weren't checking up on their own affiliates at all -- which pretty much explains why the company is in its own legal hot water these days.

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