Friday, July 30, 2010

On Rogue programs

I found an intriguing article on TechPaul’s blog. It is so good that I venture to quote the IMHO relevant parts almost literally. Additions or edited text within the quote appear in dark blue. Paul, I hope you can forgive me.

* * * * * * begin quote
Currently there is an epidemic of fake anti-malware software on the Internet – which is collectively called “rogue anti-malware” or  “scareware”. These fake programs are ‘marketed’ under hundreds of different names, such as “Internet Security 2010″, “Online Scanner”, and “Antivirus XP 2009″.
At our current state of Internet insecurity, you will see one of these scans pop open sooner or later - if you haven’t already seen it.
This ‘rogue’ software scares people by giving false “a virus has been detected!” notifications, and then tries to deceive them into using a credit card and paying for removal of non-existing “infections”.
Worst part is, many are designed to appear to be legitimate products,  professionally packaged/presented including customer testimonials etc.
  • The user is tricked or better scared into providing their credit card information to clean infections that weren’t there before they clicked and aren’t really there now.
  • The ‘false positives’ are not “cleaned”, but more adware and spyware is installed.
  • These clever programs use the latest techniques to combat removal, and it can be quite tough and sometimes next to impossible to truly remove them.
In case I wasn’t clear:
  1. The alerts are fake.
    The scans are fake.
    The results are fake.
    Don’t fall for it.
  2. When you see these “scans” it is to late, your machine has been successfully attacked and you should start a virus removal process immediately - and/or get help. 
  3. Epidemic? You bet!
    Thousands of websites get poisoned each week and cybercriminals create bogus websites at the rate of thousands a day.
Oh, yes, I almost forgot. A new ‘variant’ of the better rogues is released on the Internet roughly twice a week.
* * * * * * end of quote

If you choose to call me, shut down your computer and do not, I repeat, do not try anything else. The more you fiddle yourself the worse it will likely get and thus the longer I will need to remove the junk. And as you well know ‘time is money’, your money in this case.

So what can you do?
  • Use and heed WOT (Web Of Trust)
    (Changed 2011 after many months of problems with McAfee's Siteadvisor) 
  • Always use Firefox or Google Chrome instead of Internet Explorer to browse the web – and see that all family members and their visitors (Kid’s friends!) adhere to this policy as well, no exceptions.
  • In Firefox:
    Use Adblock Plus with the Easylist (USA) filter list and WOT and heed it..
    In Chrome use Adblock (by gundlach). 
  • Be prepared, maybe having read and understood this article.
  • Don’t panic, use common sense!
  • Oh, did I mention it already? Be prepared!
As usual I welcome comments and suggestions right here in the blog. Thank you in advance.

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