Tech – for Everyone

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

Your Computer Is Lying To You… The Epidemic Of Rogues

You Click On A Search Result, And A Screen Tells You An Infection Has Been Detected…

There currently is an epidemic of fake anti-malware software on the Internet– which is collectively called “rogue anti-malware” (aka “scareware”). These fakes are, in fact ‘marketed’ under hundreds of different names, such as “Internet Security 2010”, “Online Scanner”, and “Antivirus XP 2009”.

At our current state of Internet insecurity, you will see one of these scans pop open… if you haven’t already.

This ‘rogue’ software scares people by giving false “a virus has been detected!” notifications, and then tries to deceive them into using a credit card and paying for removal of of the non-existing “infection”.
Worst part is, many are designed to appear to be legitimate products.. professionally packaged/presented, with “customer testimonials”, etc.

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

This video (produced by the good folks at WOT) shows what happens when a legitimate Web site gets infected and redirected to one of these bogus anti-malware scams.
(Yes, folks, legitimate websites are being ‘hacked’. It’s known as “poisoning”. And search results links are being hijacked. And the cybercriminals can afford to pay for advertising and appear in search results that way too..)

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! There’s even some that put a red shield icon in your System Tray (down by the clock) and mimic a Security Center alert.

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? and Bill Mullins’ How Fake/Rogue Software Affects Real People
* 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.

¹ From the new 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 download: WOT is a free Internet security add-on for your web browser. It will 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.

  • So easy a child can use it
  • Ratings for over 20 million websites
  • Downloaded 3 million times
  • The WOT browser add-on is light and updates automatically
  • WOT rating icons appear beside search results in Google, Yahoo!, Wikipedia, and webmail – Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo!
  • Settings can be customized to better protect your family
  • WOT Security Scorecard shows rating details and user comments

In case I wasn’t clear:
1) The alerts are fake. The scans are fake. The results are fake. Don’t fall for it.
2) For you to even see these scans, your machine has been attacked, and you should start a virus removal process immediately.. and/or get help.
3) Epidemic? You bet! Thousands of websites get poisoned each week, and the cybercriminals create their own bogus websites at the rate of thousands a day.
Oh, yes, almost forgot. A new ‘variant’ of rogue is released onto the Internet roughly twice a week…

Copyright 2007-2010 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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February 10, 2010 Posted by | advice, anti-spyware, antivirus, computers, cyber crime, hackers, Internet, Internet scam | , , , , , | 6 Comments