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25 October 2008 @ 02:08 pm
Platte Media and MBS not-a-virus software alert  
This is a warning aimed at anyone who uses the internet to access media services.

The company knon as Platte Media uses software from a company called MBS to infect your computer with repeated IE1 pop ups (even whilst offline) demanding payment for a service you may not be aware you have signed up for. This service usually originates from something like a porn site, or some other film hosting site online. The company has taken several site owners to court and received an OFT (Office of Fair Trading) ruling to say that their practices are not illegal.

They may be legal, but they are most definitely not above the board in my opinion. This type of programme is insiduous, it infiltrates your computer and constantly harrasses you.

I have no proof that it is a result of this programme which led to the increased usage and downloads on the PC I have just worked at to repair, however in my view the timing of both instances are a little too convenient. I should note that the computer I have been repairing is not mine, but in case of legal ramifications I will not be revealing the identity of the owner of said computer.

Most of the readers of this blog are computer savvy enough to be wary of pop ups and agreements on sites which they visit, so really do not need this alert. However I am leaving it public so that anyone who chances along and who might not be as aware of this issue can read it.

If you have been to a site hosted by Platte Media and used their services, you are responsible for any bill they have sent you. I do not condone refusing to pay for services recieved, however the programming this company installs on your computer comes as a suprise to many and is extremely difficult to remove. (Methods are available, however due to legal issues faced by other site owners I will not post them here.) There are also instances where people have not used said services and yet are being plagued with the charges nonetheless.

Further information may be found here:
Michael Pollitt's blog - Pollitt is a freelance journalist who has been working on articles for the Guardian newspaper in the UK covering this subject. His blog includes links to the OFT ruling regarding MBS.

MBS Victims Forum - an online forum offering information and advice for those who have been affected by this issue.

Neither of these sites hosts information on how to remove the software. They are there to provide you with information and (in the case of the latter site) addresses of those to contact (including the Member of Parliament for the constituency in which the MBS company is located).

1 So far as I have been able to ascertain, the pop ups are always through IE if installed on the infected PC, whether or not this is the default browser. It certainly wasn't on the PC I worked on.

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