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Lavasoft - Scareware Increasing Rapidly
Tuesday, 15 December 2009 22:22

Anti-spyware company 'Lavasoft' has found that there is a rapid growth in rogue security programs, also called scareware, that pose an extremely serious threat to computer operators in the modern time.

These fake programs pretend to be legitimate anti-spyware, anti-virus and anti-malware programs that are supposed to safeguard computers. However, in reality, they give little protection or none at all, and generate misleading warnings. Moreover, they engage end-users in deceptive transactions. The rogue programs also eliminate the difference between authentic security applications and those which make users vulnerable to severe online threats, explained the Lavasoft experts.

Security analysts at Malware Labs state that with 22 new fake security applications released in November 2009 alone, there was on average one such software each day.

Explaining the reason for growth of scareware, the security specialists stated that there had been an excessive growth in scareware over the recent years because the applications managed to dupe end-users so that they bought fake security programs, yielding several million dollars to cyber criminals.

Sean-Paul Correll, Threat Researcher at Panda Security, said that during Q1-2009, the scareware programs that PandaLabs identified surpassed the total number recorded in 2008 and the problem would continue in 2010, as reported by The Tech Herald on December 3, 2009.

Correll further stated that cyber criminals had developed scareware attacks over the past few years by shifting their focus from plain Internet sites to nearly accurate look-alike duplicates of Microsoft's Windows OS. These duplicate OS proved extremely successful in victimizing innocent users. There had also been an evolution in the distribution efforts during the same period to exploit social networks, ad networks and results from search engines, he added.

To conclude, the security expert stated that fake anti-virus programs represented the modern trend of cyber crime. Criminals who distributed fake AV programs with little or nil investment, but earned considerable profits often made the fake security software a foremost threat when ad networks were hijacked or websites compromised. Even the Conficker virus, which was prominent during the major part of last autumn and the previous summer, was made to deliver fake anti-virus, the expert added.

 

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