15 Apr 2011

Antivirus scareware now accepts SMS payments, expert says

Antivirus scareware that is circulating now accepts short message service payments, according to a recent report by CNET.

Rogue security programs infect the system and display pop-up windows warning computer users there is a virus. According to threat researcher at a security firm Achal Khetarpal, the new threats ask users for payments before the malicious software is installed.

If a victim falls for the scareware, cyber criminals have access to their personal information, including credit cards. What makes the operation hard to detect is that the pop-ups look like they come from legitimate antivirus providers, tricking users into believing there is a real threat on the computer.

“It says ‘Welcome to’ and names a popular antivirus software and suggests closing other applications. If the victim falls for the ruse, it then displays a message that says ‘To complete installation, you must go through activation’ and offers several ways to pay, including SMS, WebMoney and credit card,” wrote CNET’s Elinor Mills.

According to another security company, the amount of malware during the first quarter of 2011 increased 26 percent from the previous year. On average, 73,000 new threats were released every day.