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″.
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.
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.
If we were measuring time with Geek Squeaks’, I would have to say that time has rapidly passed us by. Geek Squeaks’ is a weekly production (links to other blogs) of articles that are produced by the members of the What’s On My PC blogroll community. If you are passionate about information technology and computers there is no better place to stay ahead of the curve than with this weekly collection. There is something here for everyone!
If you are new to What’s On My PC… you will notice on the right side of the blog a category listing for Geek Squeaks’. The Geek Squeaks’ category is a weekly roundup of articles from the bloggers that are on the What’s On My PC… blogroll. I encourage you to visit these blogs to learn more about information technology and computers.
With the wave of cloud apps appearing on the internet, I knew it would be a matter of time before malware would find its’ way into the cloud. Panda Labs, an international network of research and technical support centers devoted to protecting users against viruses, discovered an interesting “cloud” tactic that is being used to trick computer users into infecting themselves with malware.
The cybercriminals in this particular case have created a pretend web site (called ScanVirus – Cumulative Online Antivirus Service) that lures the visitor into thinking their computer is infected (see graphic below). The confidence of the visitor is gained from the displayed logos that are “copies” of logos from actual legitimate anti-virus and anti-malware companies. Upon visiting the site, the visitor is prompted to download a file called “AntiVir.exe”, which Panda Labs has identified as being malware (called “Adware/Antivirus 2009).
To learn more about “malware” and to download software to “protect” your PC, I encourage you to read the following: