- October 12, 2004 - By taking advantage of a hole in Microsoft's Internet Explorer web browser, hackers have been able to introduce 'spyware' or 'adware,' which is downloaded on to hard drives without owners' knowledge. The scourge causes countless 'pop-up' ads to appear, driving many users away from their computers. But now, the government is cracking down.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission last week filed a legal complaint against two companies that allegedly infected computers with spyware and pop-up advertising, then tried to sell their owners spyware-blocking software, IDG News Service reported.

And, last week the U.S. House of Representatives passed the SPY ACT (Securely Protect Yourself Against Cyber Trespass), which outlaws computer technology that downloads programs onto users' computers without their permission. The spyware legislation is not yet law, IDG reported.

The FTC charges the two defendants, Sanford Wallace, owner or president of Seismic Entertainment Products, based in Rochester, New Hampshire, and SmartBot.Net, based in Richboro, Pennsylvania, with using unfair business practices by marketing "purported" antispyware software called Spy Wiper and Spy Deleter to Internet users through pop-up ads on websites controlled by Seismic Entertainment, IDG reported.

'Spyware' Under Attack by Government

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