When I get into one of my “what the hell is going on” moods, I can’t help but consider mainstream media, and what a pathetic job it does when it comes to informing Internet users of critical consumer safety issues.
Part of my distain for so called News organizations, is based on mainstream media’s habit of consistently “coming late to the party”, when dealing with a technology issue that demands an immediate response.
Take Google’s recently released (April 28, 2010), 13 month study of Fake antivirus software, for example. Immediately upon release of this study, this “news” was everywhere on the NEWS.
So, what’s wrong with this “news” story? Well, how about this – This is NOT news! Certainly not “late breaking news”. Simply because this study is not news of course, doesn’t mean that it can’t be MADE news.
Here’s a clue for these News organizations – every day, for years now, typical Internet users’ have been exposed to this type of sophisticated malware and penetration attempts, just by surfing the Web. Oh, by the way, when you’re giving advice to consumers as to how they should deal with these issues – get the underlying technology issues right. That’s a minimum expectation!
The Google report is only marginally informative, contains limited new Internet security information of any value, and is, on the face of it, not news to anyone who has been even marginally aware of security conditions on the Internet during the past two years. Despite this, I found that every News channel that I generally watch, had a story in which the Google study was quoted.
Selected outtakes from the Google study:
A rise in fake antivirus offerings on Web sites around the globe shows that scammers are increasingly turning to social engineering to get malware on computers rather than exploiting holes in software.
Once it is installed on the user system, it’s difficult to uninstall, you can’t run Windows updates anymore or install other antivirus products.
Fake antivirus is easy money for scammers.
On this site, (like many others), we have been reporting on Fake AVs (rogue security software) since the first day essentially – more than 100 articles to date.
Additionally, guest writers on this site have addressed the fake AV issue. Guest writers such as Sergei Shevchenko, Senior Malware Analyst at PC Tools, who, in his guest article, “Be Prepared for 2010’s Malware – PC Tools Malware Trends in 2010”, offered readers a peek into the 2010 malware landscape and made the following observations respecting Fake antivirus applications – long before Google’s report.
Cybercriminals operate in the same way as legitimate organizations – they’re looking for the best return on their investment. It’s therefore inevitable that as we move in to 2010 there will continue to be increased interest in producing malware that brings swift and healthy dividends, with a focus on new and diversified rogue security solutions and in continuing to employ social engineering techniques.
When the initial “accumulation” phase of the rogue security software businesses comes to completion, we might expect cybercriminals to start using their budgets for establishing call centers, support lines, virtual offices, registering off-shore companies, and even launching advertising campaigns.
Users who keep an eye on the range of security software solutions on the market will be aware that many vendors already provide at least one of these services. The difficulty lies with making an informed choice on which offers the best protection – and that’s where the independent anti-malware testing labs come to the fore.
I’ll stop ranting now.
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