“You have a virus!”
Among the newest scams created by internet criminals are rogue antiviruses and scareware. Rogue antivirus are fake antivirus programs, which exploit your fear of malware. They display virus alerts, also known as “scareware”, claiming malware has been detected on your computer. The security alerts are professional looking pop-ups and ads and often have exactly the same design as Windows pop-ups. When you click on it, you’re advised to buy a certain anti virus protection software.
This software will not remove the virus, but instead allow malware in - often floods of annoying pop-up windows and aggressive advertising. Buying rogue antivirus can also compromise your credit card security and lead to identity theft.
If you ever receive a virus alert form an unknown source, simply ignore it. 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 you 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.
People 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 should you search for news and at the same time 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, don’t respond and leave the site immediately.
In the spring of 2010, researchers from Google released a new study on rogue antivirus. Over the course of 13 months the researchers went through 240 million web pages and found that 11,000 of them were involved in distributing rogue internet security software. They also found that rogue antiviruses account for 15% of all malware on the internet, but have recently decreased in popularity, allowing downloader Trojans to take the first place.
You can see a comparison between January 2010 and April 2010 in the graph below:
Read more about the Google rise of fake anti-virus research.
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