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May 26th, 08

Half A Million Computer Users Duped Into Downloading Spyware With Booby-Trapped Music & Movie Files


May 8th, 08

Internet provider admits installing spyware on customers' computers.


May 1st, 08

System Doctor creator Ron Cooke faces charges.


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Technology News

System Doctor Creator Ron Cooke Faces Charges

Ron Cooke, creator of anti-spyware application System Doctor, is facing charges after Attorney General Rob McKenna discovered Cooke was illegally promoting the malicious anti-spyware application by infecting computers with trojans.  The attorney general has ordered Cooke to discontinue System Doctor and offer refunds to customers.  No word yet if Cooke faces sentencing.

Why System Doctor is so Malicious
System Doctor, an anti-spyware application, involuntarily installs on computers and infects it with trojans and spyware.  It claims to clean registries and protect users from malicious attacks, but in fact is the reason behind the malicious attacks.  It tricks people by claiming their computer is infected, when in reality it is not.  After using System Doctor's trial period, customers are forced to pay the full price to continue use of it.

Cooke also made System Doctor extremely difficult to uninstall.  Once removed, the program immediately reinstalls.  System Doctor must be uninstalled manually by editing the computer's registry.  Oftentimes computers die before a person can uninstall it.  System Doctor also disables Task Manager, a Windows device that shows the type of applications running on a computer.  This makes disabling certain executable files, which is needed to uninstall System Doctor, almost impossible to execute. 

Why Cooke Faces Charges
Attorney General Rob McKenna says that Cooke was in direct violation of Washington's Computer Spyware and Consumer Protection Act by infecting computers with System Doctor.  Involuntarily infecting computers and coercing users to buy an anti-spyware product is illegal according to those acts.  No word if Cooke faces any sentencing.  Currently, Cooke is required to offer refunds to all customers and pay additional penalties.  It is possible he will face sentencing, but McKenna has not said anything on the matter.

Furthermore, Cooke could face additional charges for disabling computer use.  Some computers have stopped working as a result of it.  System Doctor attacks a computer with trojans, spyware, and spam, rendering it unusable after a short period of time.  Spyware experts consider System Doctor a high risk trojan that must be removed immediately.  If charged, Cooke could face additional penalties, including fines and sentencing.

How Users Can Remove System Doctor
Currently the only way to remove System Doctor is by manually deleting the files it installs.  Because it changes a computer's registry, it is considered a high risk uninstall.  Several executable files must be disabled before deleting specific registry information it installs.  Additional files must be deleted after changing the registry, and one wrong move could kill a computer's life.  Conversely, any wrong move could cause it  to automatically reinstall.  Spyware experts suggest that users contract computer professionals to safely uninstall the malicious software for them.  Beginners are discouraged from uninstalling it themselves because of registry editing.

System Doctor No More?
The charges against Cooke specify he must take System Doctor off the market immediately.  Looks like this scam is defunct for the time being.  System Doctor attacks should die out within the next year, but in the mean time, protect yourself with real anti-spyware.  Anti-spyware software can protect you from contracting this faux anti-spyware wannabe.