Who Sued Symantec?
According to the Symantec class actions lawsuit, the personal computer giant regularly distributes bogus trial versions of its antivirus software to most unsuspecting users and then promptly reports that various personal issues, privacy concerns and other issues exist on the computer, no matter the state of their machine. The class action lawsuit is a response to this false advertising and deceptive practices of the company. It is not an illegal act to distribute a demo version of an antivirus program to a person in order to drum up consumer interest for the full version. It is a misrepresentation of fact, because the software is not defective or infected in any way. The problem arises when the virus scanners do not detect the actual infection, or if they detect a threat to the operating system and so alert the user to remove it.
A top class actions lawsuit describes how Symantec’s “virus-removal” application, “FixRedirect Virus” or more commonly known as “Reflection Engine”, has been designed to surreptitiously record and log keystrokes by the infected computer, which are then sent to a remote web server for further harvesting and monitoring. This is part of a much larger set of rogue programs developed by the hackers of Symantec. It has been designed to record IP addresses and credit card numbers, which are then used to transfer large sums of cash online. It has also been linked to stealing financial information from online banking systems.
Symantec’s class action lawsuit was filed against NetIQ, Inc., a subsidiary of Symantec, and the person who developed the internet security products. It is alleged that the products were sold with the representations that they were free of viruses and adware, when in actuality they were not. At first filed, the case was only a Class Action Lawsuit, but later, when negotiations took place, it was added as a named party defendant. The company is currently fighting back by filing a counter-claim that maintains that the security products do not have any defects.
Apart from the above mentioned case, there have been other cases Symantec has been involved in, where they reached a settlement without the need for a court case. One such case involved a claim by the U.S. Department of Defense, where a subcontractor employee tested negative spyware that could potentially have been damaging to the United States Armed Forces’ websites. The employee was tested at several locations where he used personal devices that connected to the internet. At one location, he was instructed to visit a website where Symantec’s anti-spyware product was available for download.
When the employee retrieved the software, he discovered that it did not work and was taken to a website that claimed he could download software that would allow him to surf the web anonymously. Once he clicked on this website, however, his identity was stolen and he was instructed to fill out a credit card form. Several days later, a payment was made to his original credit card company, but when he tried to cash it out, he was informed that the transaction had failed due to insufficient funds in his account. He then filed a class action lawsuit against the company and later obtained a $70 million settlement. This may not seem like much, but when you consider the amount of money Symantec could potentially have paid out if it was successful in its class-action lawsuit, it is easy to see why they settled out of court.
After this, the company decided to try and get a summary judgment by filing a claim with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, which is where the original complaint had been filed. This claim ultimately was denied in a motion to dismiss, but the investors later went on to file additional suits against the company, including one additional class action lawsuit regarding their unauthorized activity. All of these additional suits resulted in additional settlements for the plaintiffs.