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Wednesday, 21 May 2008

pest-patrol.com is not the real PestPatrol

Thanks to Dancho Danchev for pointing out pest-patrol.com, yet another dodgy looking scareware site. Of course, the real PestPatrol is a pretty well known and legitimate anti-spyware product from CA, the one with the hyphen in the middle is definitely trying to pass itself off as the real thing. (Click the thumbnail for a larger picture).

The fake pest-patrol.com is hosted on in the Ukraine, a range of network addresses that features on the Spamhaus DROP list, and has domain registration service from Estdomains which always seems to be a popular choice with dodgy web sites.

The bottom of the page has a copyright notice claiming that it was created by "Pest Patrol, Inc.", but that is likely to be fake. A large amount of text has been copied and pasted directly from the real CA site. The "PestPatrol" name is pretty widely registered as a trademark, so apart from anything else, this fake pest-patrol.com site is clearly violating CA's trademark rights.

What's interesting about this is just how the pest-patrol.com domain ended up in the hands of a bunch of guys in Eastern Europe. Although the "PestPatrol" name is trademarked, that only applies to computer software. As is turns out, the original pest-patrol.com controlled pests of the creepy crawly variety. CA (or SaferSite Inc as it was before CA took over) would have had no claim over the domain name as it wasn't violating any trademark or causing confusion. But eventually the name expired and after being dropped a couple of times it ended up with someone who clearly is using it to violate a trademark.

The lesson for businesses is perhaps that they need to keep an eye on domains that could potentially violate a trademark or be confusing and secure them if they expire, several registrars can back order domain names. In the long run, that's probably easier than trying to track down an anonymous registrant from the former Soviet Union.

The download option on pest-patrol.com doesn't work at present, but it could be similar to this one (VirusTotal scan results) which appears on a sister site. Unfortunately, CA's genuine product doesn't seem to detect it..

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