Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

An Infection Has Been Detected!

Online crime is bigger than the global drugs trade¹. The Internet shadow economy is worth over $105 billion. No country, no person, no business and no government is immune from cybercrime.

Currently there is an epidemic of fake anti-malware software on the Internet– which is collectively called “rogue anti-malware“ and/or “scareware“. Marketed under hundreds of different names, such as VirusRemover 2008 and Antivirus XP 2009, this type of rogue software scares people by giving false alarms, and then tries to deceive them into paying for removal of non-existing malware. [update: some of the newer ones are now encrypting your files, and requiring a ‘ransom’ for the key. Don’t pay. There is help online.]

This video shows what happens when a legitimate Website gets infected and redirected to one of these bogus anti-malware scams.
Yes, folks, legitimate websites are being ‘hacked’. (It’s called “poisoned”.)

Please watch, and see what these things looks like (how “real looking”). I repeat, there are thousands of these, being planted on tens-of-thousands of sites.

The people behind this scourge use many different ways to try to entice you to click – realistic looking pop-up windows appear, offers of “free trials” arrive in e-mail, and “free scan” buttons on legit-looking ‘fight malware’ websites.. the means are quite varied!

As this video shows, the user is tricked into (scared into, really) providing their credit card # to clean infections that weren’t there before they clicked and aren’t really there now.
* The ‘false positives’ are not “cleaned” BUT, more adware and spyware is installed.
* A good percentage of my calls at Aplus Computer Aid are folks needing help with getting rid of these rogues. Because these clever programs use the latest techniques to combat removal, and it can be quite tough — if not impossible — to truly remove them.. without formatting your hard-drive.
* For more, please read Is that anti-spyware program really spyware?
* One Website dedicated to combating this epidemic is Spyware Warrior. It has a pretty good list of known rogues, and much more detailed information. Another excellent resource is Bleeping Computer.
* I have written several How-To’s on protecting yourself from malware, and how to clean your machines as well. Click here to see those titles. But I really cannot advise you strongly enough – should you get one of these nasties – to enlist the aid of a Pro. I would tell you that even if I wasn’t one myself!

¹ From a recent MessageLabs whitepaper. (This eye-opening report provides a disturbing look into the ‘dark’ world of cyber-crime. This link is the online version.. you need to scroll a bit..)

Today’s free link(s): Spammers seeking “volunteers” to DDoS White House.
Cybercriminals have begun to capitalize on the vehement debate in the country over health care reform, sending spam targeted at opponents of President Obama.”

Also, it just so happens that Bill Mullins posted a close look at one these, named “Total Security 2009” on his site today. Please see, Total Security 2009 Scareware – Panda Security Takes a Look.

Today’s free download: WOT (Web Of Trust) is a free Internet security add-on for your browser. It’s community-based ratings can help keep you safer from online scams, identity theft, spyware, spam, viruses and unreliable shopping sites. WOT warns you before you interact with a risky Website. It’s easy and it’s free.

  • Ratings for over 22 million websites
  • Downloaded over 4 million times
  • The WOT browser addon is light and updates automatically
  • WOT rating icons appear beside search results in Google, Yahoo!, Wikipedia, Gmail, etc.
  • Settings can be customized to better protect your family (new “Parental Control” setting blocks access to Web sites with a poor child safety rating and no rating at all)
  • WOT Security Scorecard shows rating details and user comments

Orig post: 4/16/09

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

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August 22, 2009 - Posted by | computers | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. Hi Paul,
    I agree that the scareware are one of the biggest scams and threats these days. And seeing them turning into ransomware, is still more frightening.
    It is a fact that despite tremendous strides in threat detection by the security community, we are way behind the evil designs of malware writers.

    Like

    Comment by desinet1 | August 27, 2009 | Reply

    • desinet1,
      I absolutely concur.

      Folks, tell your friends and family about these very real-looking “rogues”, and tell them to tell their friends.

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | August 27, 2009 | Reply


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