30 Sep 2011

Users should protect themselves from fake antivirus software

When surfing the internet, users need to prepare themselves for encounters with fake antivirus software, or scareware, that could be extremely harmful to computers, according to Herb Weisbaum on MSNBC's ConsumerMan blog.

Weisbaum said he had a run-in with one system that said it was scanning his hard drive and found 47 malicious software programs. He said the fake program locked up his computer so he could not do anything. When even a re-start didn't help Weisbaum said he called up the IT department at work and it took two hours to find all of the places the malware had embedded itself on the computer.

"The best way to protect yourself from scareware swindlers is to keep your operating system and security software up to date," Weisbaum said. "Never run an unsolicited 'free' computer scans, even if the product has an impressive-sounding name like Virus Shield or AntiSpyWarePro. And only install software from trusted sources."

According to Ed Bott's blog on ZDNet, fake antivirus programs have not been as prevalent during the second half of 2011. He said this may be due to the FBI taking down international scareware rings in 12 countries. He said users should stay protected, as this may not be anything more than a brief interruption in this malicious software.