Security software maker MacKeeper might have to pay more than $2 million for the crime of exaggerating security problems on Apple macs.
While Apple has marketed itself with the improbable claim that it was super secure, MacKeeper made a killing telling Apple fanboys otherwise.
Released in 2010, MacKeeper has been dogged by accusations that it exaggerates security threats in order to convince customers to buy.
The program was originally created by a company called ZeoBIT in Kiev, Ukraine.
The class-action suit, filed in May 2014 on behalf of Pennsylvania resident Holly Yencha, contends that MacKeeper falsely flagged security and performance problems in order to coax consumers into paying $39.95 for the full version. The suit sought $5 million in damages.
According to IT World the case is close to being settled. Under the settlement terms, ZeoBIT would put $2 million into a fund for those who want a refund, but admit no fault.
In April 2013, ZeoBIT, sold MacKeeper to Kromtech Alliance Corp. Kromtech was closely affiliated with ZeoBIT in Ukraine, and many employees of ZeoBIT transferred to the company, which lists its headquarters as Cologne, Germany.
An effort has been under way by Kromtech to rehabilitate the image of MacKeeper to keep the franchise going. But concerns remain over how MacKeeper diagnoses a computer’s health.
MacKeeper warned in red in several places with exclamation points that the computer’s condition was “serious” due to more than 500 MB of “junk” files.
Some affiliates have wrapped MacKeeper ads into advertising software programs, or adware which makes life worse for users.
Kromtech has taken steps to reign in unethical affiliates, Fowler said. More than 80 percent of ZeoBIT’s affiliate agreements have since been suspended, and the company’s new compliance department closely vets new ones.
Still, the bad practices of former affiliates caused damage to MacKeeper’s reputation, Fowler said.