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BullGuard Security Centre

Here we explain technical terms and how different security solutions protect your computer, phone or mobile devices.

What is Rogue Antivirus and Scareware?

Rogue Antivirus and Scareware

Rogue antivirus and scareware - the new threat

“You have a virus!” One of the newest scams created by internet criminals is rogue antivirus and scareware. Rogue antivirus are fake antivirus programs, which exploits computer users fear of malware by displaying virus alerts, also known as “scareware”, claiming malware is detected on the computer.  The security alerts are professional looking pop-ups and ads, which often have exactly the same design as Windows pop-ups. When clicking on the scareware alert, the user is advised to buy a certain antivirus software program. This software will not remove virus, but instead actually allow malware in - often floods of annoying pop-up windows and aggressive advertising. A purchase of rogue antivirus can also compromise credit card security and result in identity theft.
Do not respond if you receive a virus alert form an unknown source. If you have an internet security program like BullGuard Internet Security you are already protected – and you can always contact the BullGuard online support team with any doubts. 

Beware of fake news stories
Rogue/Scareware creators are constantly coming up with new ways to deceive the user into downloading their malware. One trick is to use Black Hat SEO (unethical search engine optimization techniques) to generate fake news stories containing scareware top search results. Users searching for news on the death of Polish President Lech Kaczyinsky in the spring of 2010 were led to websites containing scareware instead. Also searches like “jack johnson tour dates usa 2010”, “mine rescue teams” and “kristen stewart Budapest” led to fake news sites containing scareware.  The internet criminals keep themselves well informed on current events and exploit the public’s interest for the news, as they constantly launch scareware sites with the most effective keywords referring to current news stories. 
So how do you search for news but avoid scareware? Go directly to newspaper sites and search for news using the site’s search function. If you choose to “google” current events and you receive a virus alert when entering the alleged news site, do not respond to the alert, but leave the site immediately.         

Rogue research
In the spring of 2010 researchers from Google released a new study on rogue antivirus. Over a course of 13 months the researchers went through 240 million web pages and found 11,000 of them involved in distributing rogue antivirus programs.  The researchers also found that rogue antivirus accounts for 15 % of all malware on the internet and warns that the occurrence of rogue antispyware and scareware are growing faster than any other kind of malware.
Read more about the Google research here:
http://googleonlinesecurity.blogspot.com/2010/04/rise-of-fake-anti-virus.html



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