Spy-Ware Firms Fined for TheftSymantec (Norton) and McAfee were recently fined for charging their customer's credit cards without permission for 'subscriptions'.
Editors Note: Anti-virus software from Symantec and Norton have been shown to be spy-ware – software that tracks computer users’ activity and files and then reports the data to govt. agencies. We recommend that you do NOT use the software of either company and if you do then you should reformat your computer’s hard drive and install software which does not high-jack your computer.
Software believed to be safe includes Spybot Search and Destroy (free), Zone Alarm Security Suite and Trojan Hunter. There are other effective anti-virus programs available which are not spy-ware.
Anything sold in big box retail stores and any software which comes pre-installed on a new computer is generally not safe. If you use Windows you should know that it is virtually impossible to keep your computer secure.
Windows users are encouraged to consider switching to the secure and stable operating system, Linux distribution “Ubuntu” – available free from www.ubuntu.com.
You can download a great office suite from www.openoffice.org. It has more features than MS Office and is totally free.
Security firms Symantec and McAfee have both agreed to pay $375,000 to US authorities after they automatically renewed consumers’ subscriptions without their consent.
The firms have agreed to settle the case with the New York Attorney General, who says the companies must be more up front about subscription renewals in the future.
“Companies cannot play hide the ball when it comes to the fees consumers are being charged,” Attorney General Andrew M Cuomo claims.
“Consumers have a right to know what they are paying, especially when they are unwittingly agreeing to renewal fees that will not appear on their credit card bill for months.
“Symantec and McAfee – two of the nation’s largest vendors of computer security software – will now have to be clear and up-front with their customers when it comes to renewal fees. In other words, no more hide the ball with renewal fees.”
The Attorney General’s office began an investigation into the two companies after receiving complaints that customers were being charged for renewal subscriptions without their consent.
The investigators found that “information about automatic renewal charges was not clearly disclosed, but was instead hidden at the bottom of long web pages or in the fine print of license agreements”.
The companies have now agreed to provide electronic notification both before and after the renewal of subscriptions. Customers will also be allowed to apply for refunds for up to 60 days after being charged.