Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Fake Antivirus and Their Scam

Virus and trojan. These are some of the words that are feared by majority of people that uses computer. In general belief, viruses are closely associated with all the weird and nasty things that happens on one's computer. Even if something happened and it has nothing to do with viruses, most would blame it on viruses.

Through this fear in majority of people, malicious software (malware) creators uses the fear factor as a method to spread their viruses. This type of malware is categorised as scareware. Scareware comes in the form of legit looking antivirus software.

Here I have an actual scareware at work which freaked my friend's dad. Prior of installing an antivirus software called "System Security", the background is changed into this.

This is the scareware's first move, that is to get the victim's attention with something that says their computer is infected. In this case, it changed the background. There are also popup notifications to further enhance the effect of this move.

The victim should be in total fear and would follow the scareware's instruction in order to remove the non-existent threat. It urges the user to run a full system scan. Few minutes elapsed and it would have scanned tonnes of trojans and viruses to scare the crap out of the victim.

After finish scanning, the victim would be asked to download additional things to get rid of those non-existent trojans. In reality, the victim is downloading more malware into their computer. This effectively slows down the computer to a crawl. In addition to that, all the victim's data also risks being stolen.

Rather than asking the victim to download things, the latest trend now requests the victim to purchase a license in order for the fake antivirus to be able to remove the non-existent threats. If not, the victim won't be able to use much of their computer as any program are blocked from running because the fake antivirus says all of them are infected. In simple words, they want the victim to pay money for a useless license or suffer the inability to use their computer. This is yet another category of malware called ransomware.

So in the interest of your computer security, ALWAYS trust the big names. To name a few; Avast, Avira, BitDefender, Kaspersky, NOD32, and McAfee. You can't go wrong with them. 

For those of you that don't have any antivirus protection yet, you can try Microsoft's new Security Essentials. Yes, I know several attempts by Microsoft in the field of security is unsuccessful in the past, but things have changed this time round. They seems to have learnt their mistake during the dark times with Vista and OneCare.

That's it for now. Hope it has helped broaden your knowledge in the field of computer security. Cheers!