Tech – for Everyone

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

Internet Plague – Rogue Antivirus

Currently there is an epidemic of fake anti-malware software on the Internet– which is collectively called “rogue anti-malware” (aka “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.
Worst part is, they are designed to appear to be legitimate products.. professionally packaged/presented, with testemonials, 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 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”.)

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 addon 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

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

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February 10, 2009 Posted by | advice, anti-spyware, antivirus, computers, cyber crime, hackers, how to, Internet scam, security, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments