Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, GoDaddy Subpoenaed - InformationWeek

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Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, GoDaddy Subpoenaed

Grisoft seeks info on companies that promoted counterfeit AVG antivirus products through sponsored text ads.

AVG said Wednesday that it has filed subpoenas under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act against Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Internet domain registrar GoDaddy.

The antivirus company, also known as Grisoft, is seeking the identities of search advertisers responsible for fraudulently promoting AVG antivirus products through sponsored text ads.

It is also seeking domain registration information associated with these search advertisers in order to identify those behind the sites selling counterfeit AVG software.

"AVG was founded to protect the Internet community against cyber-threats, so we find it particularly disconcerting that criminal organizations are exploiting our good name for fraudulent purposes," said J.R. Smith, president and CEO of Grisoft, in a statement. "Our goal is to locate and prosecute these criminal organizations to protect our users and the integrity of the Internet."

Reached via cell phone in the Czech Republic, Smith characterized the subpoenas as necessary since search engines and registrars get lots of requests for information that may not be legitimate. He said that those posting ads on search engines using AVG's name are trying to sell cracked or illegal software and that, rather than let the sellers get away with it, he believes it's important to try to stop the abuse.

AVG said it's working with French police in an active criminal investigation of the matter and that it had numerous other investigations under way throughout the world.

AVG expects to drop the Grisoft brand and be known only as AVG in the new year, according to a company spokesperson.

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