If the day should ever come when anti-malware applications achieve a 100% effective rate in the detection of malware, or software developers develop operating systems and applications that are fully malware resistant, I’ll have to find something else to Blog about!
It doesn’t look like that day is likely to happen any time soon, however. In the meantime, Internet users will continue to download and test/tryout the latest, greatest, and newest anti-malware tools. Knowing this, Cyber crooks are blitzing the Internet with “rogue security software”, often referred to as “scareware”.
Scareware is a particularly vicious form of malware, designed specifically to convince the victim to pay for the “full” version of an application in order to remove what are, in fact, false positives that these program are designed to display on the infected computer in various ways; fake scan results, pop-ups, and system tray notifications.
Dialogue boxes, like the ones below, can be a powerful motivator. It’s no wonder then, that unaware computer users will often respond by clicking on the link which will take them to the product download site.
Using techniques such as the ones described earlier, cyber criminals are infecting more than 35 million computers with scareware/rogueware each month (roughly 3.50 percent of all computers), and earning more than $34 million monthly, through scareware attacks.
Generally, reputable anti-spyware software is capable of detecting rogue software if it attempts to install. But this is not always the case. Anti-malware programs that rely on a definition database can be behind the curve in recognizing the newest threats.
A good partial solution to this problem is – ensure you have installed, and are running, an anti-malware application such as ThreatFire Version 4.7.0, free from PC Tools. This type of program operates using heuristics, or behavioral analysis, to identify newer threats.
Additional steps you can take to reduce the chances of infecting your system with rogue software.
Consider the ramifications carefully before responding to a Windows Security Alert pop-up message. This is a favorite vehicle used by rogue security application to begin the process of infecting unwary users’ computers.
Be cautious in downloading freeware, or shareware programs. Spyware, including scareware, is occasionally concealed in these programs. Download freeware applications 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, since exposure to rogue security applications is widespread.
Install an Internet Browser add-on such as WOT (Web of Trust), an Internet Explorer/Firefox add-on, that offers substantial protection against dangerous websites.
Always remember of course, that you are your own greatest line of defense against malware. STOP. THINK. CLICK.
If you are infected by scareware/rogueware, the following free resources can provide tools, and 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.
Bleeping Computer – a web site where help is available for many computer related problems, including the removal of rogue software.
SmitFraudFix, available for download at Geekstogo is a free tool that is continuously updated to assist victims of rogue security applications.
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