Maryland Lawyer: Fraud Prevention Tips Series- how Anti-Virus Software can really be Malware
This Maryland Lawyer understands the need for computer security. Nowadays, every time you turn on the television or check your e-mail there is some solicitation for “the newest computer security anti-virus system” for your computer. Not every one of these advertisements may be a sham, but many are illegitimate and often have an ulterior motive in getting onto your computer. As previously described in my previous posts regarding Identity Theft and IRS scams, it is no scare tactic that thieves committing scams can penetrate your entire life, and worse, can ruin it within minutes. The type of software these thieves use is commonly referred to as Rogue Security Software.
What is it?
Rogue security software (or rogueware) is a form of Internet fraud using computer malware (malicious software) that deceives or misleads users into paying for fake or simulated removal of malware. In other varieties of the same practice, the program will claim to get rid of malware, but instead actually introduces malware to the computer it then says you need to pay to remove.
How do they do it?
- Internet: a 2010 study by Google found 11,000 website domains hosting fake anti-virus software, accounting for 50% of all malware delivered via internet advertising.
- Phone: Cold-calling has also become a vector for distribution of this type of malware, with callers often claiming to be from “Microsoft Support” or another legitimate organization.
After I mistakenly download it what happens:
Most rogueware has a Trojan horse component, which users are misled into installing. The Trojan may be disguised as:
- A browser plug-in or extension (typically toolbar)
- An image, screensaver or archive file attached to an e-mail message
- Multimedia codec required to play a certain video clip
- Software shared on peer-to-peer networks
- A free online malware scanning service
How do I protect myself?
Your favorite Maryland Lawyer from ENLawyers wants you to be vigilant. Buy your anti-virus software from a reputable seller like Norton or McAfee. Moreover, if you are surfing sites that often carry malware, like porn, free gaming sites and gambling, use a computer that does not keep all of your important data. Remember, once downloaded, rougeware has access to all of your personal and business data, which is fruit for the taking. Please do not download anything that you cannot verify. If you think that the link is not certifiable, then do not click on it. If you have problems, contact a computer professional. And if we contacted you too late, and now suffer from legal problems, please contact your favorite ENLawyer.