Downloading Fake/Rogue Software Hurt$
There are literally thousands of these applications currently in the wild blue, just waiting for the unaware computer user to fall into the trap. It’s such a lucrative business for cybercriminals, that we are now dealing with a virtual epidemic of this type of malware.
Most of these rogue application use social engineering to convince users’ to download this type of unsafe application, and let’s face it – a dialogue box that states “WARNING! Your computer is infected with spyware! – Click here to remove it!”, is a powerful motivator for many unaware computer users. But here’s the catch – clicking on the OK button starts an infection process by rogue security software. It’s as simple as that!
After installation, false positives; fake or false malware detection warnings in a computer scan, and the promise to remove them, is the primary method used to convince the unlucky victim to purchase the product.
It’s a scam of course; but to make matters worst, the installation of rogue security software frequently leads to a critically disabled PC, or in the worst case scenario, allows hackers access to important personal and financial information.
An example of a rogue security application getting ready to pounce.
If you become infected by scareware then get your money out. Your wallet is going to take a hit – maybe two.
The following factual stories, brought to my attention by the very people who have been victimized, will point out the frustration, and the expense, of having to deal with a rogue software infection.
Victim #1 – “What do you do if you were duped into buying the XP Antivirus software? Should I take any precautions such as canceling credit card and/or email passwords etc.? Is my home edition of avast! 4.8 Antivirus enough to keep me safe from bogus and/or rogue software???? Please help…my computer is my life! Thank you”.
Victim #2 – “Unfortunately I fell for the “virus attack” after trying to remove it, gave in and bought the XPAntivirus. They charged me not only for what I had bought but charged me again, $ 78.83 for something which I hadn’t ordered, nor ever received.
It was a nightmare trying to get in touch with anybody, and I finally connected with a guy with an accent, who told me to E-mail the billing service re: my problem. I wrote them tried to call, it’s been a week, and they still won’t contact me to clarify what occurred. I printed off a purchase order from them when I bought the XP which verifies what I received.
Anybody know what state their in, I’ll notify the states attorneys office. These people are crooks”.
Having watched the development and deployment of scareware over the last two years, and having noted the increasing sophistication of the current crop of scareware applications, I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that scareware removal instructions have limited value, except perhaps, for the most technically sophisticated computer user.
The best advice? Have your PC worked on by a certified computer technician, who will have the tools, and the competency, to determine if the infection can be removed without causing system damage.
However, if you have become infected by scareware, and you want to try your hand at removal, then by all means give it a try. There are literally hundreds of sites that will walk you through the process of attempting to eliminate this type of scourge, but the following sites are among the best I’ve found, at providing the tools, and the advice, you will need to attempt removal.
Malwarebytes, a very reliable anti-malware company, offers a free version of Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware, a highly rated anti-malware application which is capable of removing many newer rogue applications.
411 Spyware – a site that specializes in malware removal. I highly recommend this site.
Bleeping Computer – a web site where help is available for many computer related problems, including the removal of rogue software. This is another site I highly recommend.
SmitFraudFix – available for download at Geekstogo is a free tool that is continuously updated to assist victims of rogue security applications.
The following recommendations are repeated (particularly for new or inexperienced users), on what steps can be taken to reduce the probability of having to deal with a rogue software infection.
Be careful in downloading freeware or shareware programs. Spyware is occasionally concealed in these programs. Download this type of program only through reputable web sites such as Download.com, or sites that you know to be safe.
Consider carefully the inherent risks attached to peer-to-peer (P2P), or file sharing applications.
Install an Internet Browser add-on that provides protection against questionable or unsafe websites. My personal favorite is Web of Trust, an Internet Explorer/FireFox add-on, that offers substantial protection against questionable or unsafe websites.
Do not click on unsolicited invitations to download software of any kind.
Make regular backups of critical data
Make a boot disk in case your computer is damaged or compromised
If you enjoyed this article, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.