Apr 19 2010

Google warns off fake Anti-Virus programs popping up online

Category: MalwareDISC @ 1:15 pm

Top Malware Enero
Image by BitDefenderES via Flickr

Security researchers at Google are warning that a particular type of scam is gaining momentum: fake anti-virus programs.

In a blog post previewing a 13-month study on the prevalence of fake anti-virus programs on the Web, Google said that more than 11,000 individual domains were involved in the distribution of these scams. According to Google, that figure accounts for roughly 15 percent of all malicious software on the Internet.

Google will release the full results of its study at a security workshop later this month.

Also known as “scareware,” fake security programs often appear to simulate a real infection as pop-up videos in malicious Web sites. A message then prompts the user to fix the problem by purchasing the fake anti-virus software.

The damages can be twofold: Not only do victims give away their financial details when they are asked to register and pay for the fraudulent product, but they also unwittingly do the criminals’ dirty work and install malicious software into their computers that can steal more data or enslave their machines to send spam.

Such fake programs have already caught the attention of authorities and other security experts. Last month, security firm McAfee noted in a consumer threat alert that scareware has more than doubled since the first quarter of 2009, “affecting around 69,000 people in the U.S. alone.” In December, the FBI issued a warning related to these scams.

McAfee recommends that computer users do research on an anti-virus company before purchasing its products, be careful when responding to pop-up ads and keep their security software up to date.

A new Verizon Droid: Google’s Nexus One is still not available on Verizon Wireless, but it may not be that important now that the HTC’s Droid Incredible is available through the carrier.

The Droid Incredible uses much of the Nexus One’s stellar hardware and throws in a better camera (8 megapixels to Nexus One’s 5) and HTC’s awesome Sense UI.

Like the Nexus One, the Droid Incredible sports a 1-GHz Snapdragon processor, a 3.7-inch screen and the latest Android 2.1 operating system. It should perform much like the Nexus One because they’re both made by HTC, but without some of the Google-centric feel.

The phone will be available April 29 for $200, after a $100 rebate and with a two-year contract.

This is Verizon’s third Droid phone after the Droid from Motorola and Droid Eris from HTC. The Nexus One won’t be sold in Verizon stores, so the Droid Incredible is really the top Android device for Verizon.

This article appeared on page D – 2 of the San Francisco Chronicle Read more:

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Tags: DroidIncredible, Google, HTC, HTC Sense, McAfee, Motorola, Nexus One, scareware, Verizon Droid, Verizon Droid: Google, Verizon Wireless