New Twist to Anti-virus Scareware

Sue Marquette Poremba

It appears the latest round of anti-virus (AV) scareware comes with something new: the ability to accept payments via SMS.


According to a CNET article:

Typical rogue security programs infect the system first, then display pop ups warning that the computer is infected, and request payment to clean it up. The new programs are seemingly more genteel, asking for the money before the program is installed and infects the system, said Achal Khetarpal, threat research director at CyberDefender. Of course, a payment does nothing to "fix" a system and means criminals now have your money and possibly your credit card information.
Slide Show

Top 10 Cyber Security Threats of 2011 and Beyond

The next decade portends new threats that surpass those of years past in both intensity and impact.

The article continues to report that CyberDefender has seen five versions of the scareware, making it seem like the offer is coming from AV companies Avast, Norton, McAfee, BitDefender and RootKitBuster. The fake AV offers different methods of payment: credit card, WebMoney and SMS.


One other change in this new strain of scareware is that the program won't install if smart users click cancel when offered the chance to purchase the "protection." More typical fake AV will have already infected the computer by the time users see the message.


Fake AV might seem like one of those things that any computer-savvy person would know to avoid, but it is tricky. It nailed me last year because it snuck past my real AV software. A contact who works in security told me that he almost fell for a fake AV alert.

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Nov 28, 2011 1:28 AM Brandon Brandon  says:

I believe this to be a wonderful idea and I bet it will be very useful. It's frustrating when you want to scan your PC and the anti-virus just expired or you can't try new software. Now I only hope that the consumerization that I love and use will adopt something like this. We need services like this and I want to see this kind of payment move often used.


Post a comment





(Maximum characters: 1200). You have 1200 characters left.




Subscribe to our Newsletters

Sign up now and get the best business technology insights direct to your inbox.