Know How to Spot Badware (Malware)

I recently had a conversation with a friend, who was new to computers, and he commenced explaining to me how he was suddenly interrupted during a computer session by Microsoft Security Essentials 2010 and was requested to provide his credit card number to unlock the full version. He further explained that his computer was not functioning properly, so he proceeded to make the purchase for the unlocked version. Upon hearing this, I had to regrettably tell him that his computer was infected with malware (a virus) and that he had been robbed and to contact his credit card company immediately. His jaw dropped and said, “you are kidding me, right?”. First off, my friend was wrong in telling me that it was “Microsoft” Security Essentials 2010″, when in fact it was the rogue (fake) malware package called “Security Essentials 2010”.

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Folks, know your (legitimate) software on your computer and how to spot the badware (malware). Yes, Microsoft does make a package called Microsoft Security Essentials (without the 2010 attached to the name) which is a very good security product designed to protect you from malware, viruses, spyware, etc… HOWEVER, it is totally free and they will never ask for your credit card number. As a matter of fact, any appearance of persistent unknown security alerts (or software) that suddenly appear on your computer (that looks real) and prompts you to make payment to fix a problem is the first clue that your PC is infected. These fake security programs will intentionally render your PC useless, cause data loss and oftentimes is very difficult to remove.

Today, what I would like you to do is learn how to spot the badware and one of the best places to do that is at 411-Spyware.com.

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The author of 411-Spyware.com (Kristopher Dukes) has compiled quite a collection, with pictures and all, of FAKE security products that are engineered to instill fear, cause havoc and steal from you. Not only does she provide you with the visual experience, she also provides removal instructions and suggested software to assist with the removal process. The one thing I want you to look at with some of these, is the complexity of the removal process, which literally can take a computer tech hours to resolve; with the worse case scenario being a complete system restore.

Most likely, in the scenario that I provided that involved a friend, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say he was porn surfing… If you porn surf, pirate software, do peer2peer sharing and go click happy on any link that comes your way; then be forewarned, you will become a cybercrime victim, just like my friend.

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8 thoughts on “Know How to Spot Badware (Malware)

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  1. Pochp,

    It is so ever important to pay special attention to what we are doing while on the internet. Carelessness will result in a similar scenario as reflected in the article.

    As always, great to see you here!

    Rick

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  2. Great write up Rick. I see (and clean up) these “rogues” almost everyday in my job, and I can attest it is a very real plague epidemic.

    I would just like to say to your readers that they should not exercise less “paranoid common sense” because they don’t “surf porn” (and therefore, are not at risk) or “download”. The cyber-mafia is actively “poisoning” legitimate websites with the code that launches these rogues — very well-known and popular sites have been hit.
    (But your “deduction” has a high probability of accuracy. The Number One activity online is viewing porn, after all.)

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    1. TechPaul,

      I was sure hoping that you would give your expert input on this plague epidemic, since you are a “Tech” by profession and assist people on a daily basis with the removal of these parasites.

      I know myself, I look forward to what you have to say and respect your opinion and input (and take it to heart!).

      Thank you,

      Rick

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      1. Well I didn’t have to add much. The most important line in your piece, IMHO, was that you told your friend to immediately contact his credit card provider, as he had – truly – just handed it over to criminals.
        Make use of credit reporting services. Make sure your cc provider offers fraud protection, and routinely check your bank statements for very small purchases you didn’t make.

        Modern malware (aka “virus”) is designed for one purpose only – crime.

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  3. Excellent article and link Rick 🙂

    I see so many of these and help users to clean the garbage off their computers, but, as techpaul has said, anyone who gives out their credit card details MUST contact their issuer and block any further transactions.

    In a short space of time the criminals can clear an account with ease and ID Theft and Fraud is very real.

    Another problem with modern malware is that many programs will remove the malware, but not the TDL3 rootkit that comes with it.

    Again, it is down to educating users to the best of our collective abilities to surf safely and most importantly, to make regular backups. It can be much easier to restore a clean image than spend much more time using several different programs to clean the computer.

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