This blog post series is an illustrated sample of fake security software that can infect a computer. Often referred to as Malware, which has been hitting this blog and the press more and more, the outlook is looking worse. This 3 Part series is mostly to show people who have possibly been infected understand that it is a scam and how to get back to square one. The purpose of these bugs is to grab your personal data, track your web surfing and user name / logins, as well as capture full command of the machine for infecting other computers around the world (mostly while the machine is not being used). Additionally these programs put all kinds of fake security warnings on your machine and offer the subscription service to protect your machine. People who give into these scams submit their credit card information thinking it is the quick remedy to get past the problem. This kind of infection is often referred to as Malware.
Some sample windows:
The good news is the FTC has recently announced they will reimburse people of their credit card charges if they have purchased fake security software on line. The not so good news is you will have to research Protecting a machine by using proper prevention techniques and configurations is more important than figuring out how to clean / remove them.
Due to the speed and accuracy of how these programs are designed, they update themselves while infecting machines all over the world. Consequently most Anti-virus software will not see these kinds of infections before it is too late. This is why using a security program with excellent anti-Malware protection (i.e., well rated by a trust-worthy source) is critical.
(Note: There are different solutions for businesses vs home devices.)
The leading products today for Malware prevention and protection have two modes;
1) The free version, which only helps to remove already infected devices through scanning the entire machine.
2) The inexpensive ‘Pro” versions will shield and protect devices before the attack get attach itself to the device .
For computers, the leaders in a non-corporate (non-Enterprise) environment are:
While on the topic of overall online protection, Malware for Android MOBILE devices grew over 400% the last 6 months of 2011. Devices like tablets and Droid phones fall into this category. This software is referred to as Mobile Device Management (MDM). MDM will be discussed in a different blog post, but for the purposes of this post, understand that currently most FREE Anti-virus apps are NOT detecting mobile device Malware. You can read more about this protection for businesses at MobileIron.
To make matters worse, as described in an earlier post on this blog, infected websites are developed specifically to pretend to infect mobile devices and computers. They are designed to show up in Google search for commonly searched words and phrases. Google continues to make strides to filter out all of the tricks and fake sites that find their way to the top of their search results, but it is a bit of a cat and mouse game.