FAKE ANTIVIRUS OUTRAGE! – wip; add bitlocker

For over a year we’ve been aware of an emerging security threat that targets (primarily) home PCs. But we’ve seen this security problem jump to corporate PCs as well. This threat is a serious problem as we’ve seen it show up in the field many times.

This threat shows up in the form of ‘Fake’ antivirus software – it’s usually inadvertently downloaded by someone casually browsing the web with Microsoft Internet Explorer – and alerts the user that “Your computer is infected” or “Your computer is not protected with antivirus software.” The graphics are very realistic and are designed to look like legitimate security software. The “software” (it’s actually spyware) can be called ‘Antivirus 2008,’ ‘Antivirus 2010,’ or ‘Antivirus Pro’ or some variant of those names.

(Click the pictures to see a detailed view of some actual examples of what this threat can look like.)

Recently, we’ve seen the software become more convincing, and harder to remove. One variant of it literally locks up your operating system –  holding it ransom (claiming that the entire OS is infected with viruses or spyware) until you pay to upgrade to a “Premium” version of the software. This “Premium” version “removes” these non-existant viruses.

“Fake Antivirus” software is somewhat difficult to remove, but it can be done — though it’s far easier to prevent it. While we’re finding that many popular antivirus packages won’t block it (because it uses many tricks to get around them) you can do a few things to keep it at bay:

  • Know what your Antivirus software looks like! It may look similar to — but not exactly like — the fake stuff.
  • Be very cautious of any pop-up message coming in while you’re browsing the web, even if it claims your computer has been infected by a virus.
    Close your browser and manually scan your computer with your legitimate antivirus software if you are concerned about this.
  • Don’t use Microsoft Internet Explorer to browse the web.
    There are some websites which require Internet Explorer, however 99% of all websites these days will render fine in Mozilla Firefox.
    Firefox is a free browser that is structurally very different from Internet Explorer and is thus more resistant to these types of tricks.

If your computer is behaving very strangely or trying to scare you into thinking it’s loaded with viruses, CALL US ASAP — we know how to get rid of “Fake Antivirus” safely.

Our service plans at BDPNetworks employ a multi-pronged approach to computer & network security. While there’s no such thing as perfect security our tools & methods can prevent your corporate data & employee productivity from being compromised by security threats such as “Fake Antivirus” spyware.

Do you have questions or comments on  this article?  Or do you just want to vent your frustrations about this problem?  Please leave feedback below.