Yep, good ‘ol organized crime, the parasite that nobody does anything about, is doing nicely. Symantec has reported that up to 43 million people may have bought fake anti virus programs and in the process handed over their credit card details.
To add insult to ignominy, the crims also hijack the computers with the bogus software.
SC Magazine, an IT security site, reports:
According to data culled from Symantec customers between July 1, 2008 and June 30, 2009, there were 250 distinct families of rogue security programs, resulting in 43 million attempted downloads. The most common counterfeit applications carry legitimate-sounding names, such as SpywareGuard 2008, AntiVirus 2008, AntiVirus 2009, SpywareSecure and XP AntiVirus.
Note: Check out the articles on SC’s page on the right of the link. Interesting stuff.
For the full Symantec exec report, this PDF covers it.
The process is pretty simple. They advertise using banners, even on the front page of The New York Times, sell the software, which could be extensive and contain a lot of nasty things, if it’s capable of masquerading as anti virus software, and settle down to a life of ease.
In the meantime they get the credit card details as well.
Talk about an ad for PayPal…
The weak spot is that some site tells you you’re infected. This conspicuous concern for your well-being online is a dead giveaway, but paranoia is so addictive.
For a supposedly Wild West environment full of savvy people, the net is becoming the global sheep dip of fraud. People get fleeced regularly. There are no retaliation measures available to consumers.
Where are all these White Hats, again? Too busy doing photo ops to do any work, or all talk?
The moral of the story:
If you own this “software”, delete it.
Get some real anti virus software from the industry big names.
Ignore any altruistic parasites.
Keep an eye out for any way of hitting back. There must be some way, and somebody has to. This is more than a free lunch, it's a free fast food franchise.