|Computers Increasingly Being Infected by Fake Antivirus Products, According to PandaLabs
Adware Hidden as Antivirus Utilities to Infiltrate Computer Systems and Obtain Personal Information
GLENDALE, Calif., Sept. 4 /PRNewswire/ — Panda Security, a leading provider of IT security solutions, today announced that PandaLabs, Panda Security’s laboratory for detecting and analyzing malware, has noted an increase in cyber-crooks’ use of malware under the guise of fake antivirus products to defraud users. These applications, classified as adware by PandaLabs, pass themselves off as antivirus utilities and often appear on the Internet as free downloads. Alternatively, they can be concealed in other files downloaded by users, including music or video files.
Once on a system, they often operate as follows: they tell the user (who is often unaware that the application is on their system) that a virus has been detected. They then invite them to buy the full version of the antivirus to disinfect the computer (you can see an example of these fake antivirus programs here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/panda_security/2678703471/).
If users don’t purchase the antivirus, it continues displaying non-existent infections and pop-ups inviting users to purchase the security software, which in reality does not detect or delete anything. If they buy it, they will have paid for a useless program. This is how cyber-crooks reach the main objective: to profit financially through malware. Additionally, to prevent users from checking whether they are genuinely infected or not, these programs usually try to block the web pages of real online antiviruses, security companies, etc.
“Initially, these fake antivirus programs were quite elementary. They are however, becoming more sophisticated to prevent detection by real security solutions. Many have become polymorphic (they change their form every time they are installed on a computer),” explains Luis Corrons, Technical Director of PandaLabs. “This investment proves cyber-crooks are obtaining significant financial benefits, and consequently, many users have fallen victim to this fraud.”
How to avoid falling victim to these fake antivirus products
– Be careful with what you install: On many occasions these programs are associated with other downloads. i.e. users can download a legitimate program and one of these programs can be included in the package. Usually, there is a non-installation option. PandaLabs recommends users to carefully check the programs that are entering the computer during the download.
– Ignore emails with eye-catching news or subjects: Many of these programs have been distributed in recent weeks using social engineering techniques — sending emails with eye-catching subjects (you can see an example here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/panda_security/tags/fakeantivirus/). These emails invite users to click a link to watch a video or images of the false news. If they do, they will be allowing some kind of malware to enter their computer, e.g. fake antiviruses.
– Be wary at the slightest indication of trouble: If a program you don’t remember installing begins to display false infections or pop-ups inviting you to compare some type of antivirus, watch out. Most likely one of these malicious programs has been installed (example of pop-up of a fake antivirus: http://www.flickr.com/photos/panda_security/2679524216/)
– Keep all the programs up-to-date: An outdated program can be a vulnerable program. Consequently, you should keep all applications installed on the computer up-to-date, since many malicious codes use existing computer vulnerabilities to enter and infect them.
– Scan your computer with a reliable security solution: You are advised to periodically scan your computer with a trusted security solution. This way, if one of these samples is resident on the computer, it can be detected and eliminated. Panda Security provides free online scan tools for home-users and companies at Infected or Not, http://www.infectedornot.com/.
Since 1990, its mission has been to detect and eliminate new threats as rapidly as possible to offer our clients maximum security. To do so, PandaLabs has an innovative automated system that analyzes and classifies thousands of new samples a day and returns automatic verdicts (malware or goodware). This system is the basis of collective intelligence, Panda Security’s new security model which can even detect malware that has evaded other security solutions.
Currently, 94% of malware detected by PandaLabs is analyzed through this system of collective intelligence. This is complemented through the work of several teams, each specialized in a specific type of malware (viruses, worms, Trojans, spyware, phishing, spam, etc), working 24/7 to provide global coverage. This translates into more secure, simpler and more resource-friendly solutions for clients.
More information is available in the PandaLabs blog: http://www.pandalabs.com/
About Panda Security
Panda Security is one of the world’s leading IT security providers, with millions of clients across more than 200 countries and products available in 23 languages. Its mission is to develop and provide global solutions to keep clients’ IT resources free from the damage inflicted by viruses and other computer threats, at the lowest possible total cost of ownership.
Panda Security proposes a new security model, designed to offer a robust solution to the latest cyber-crime techniques. This is manifest in the performance of the company’s technology and products, with detection ratios well above average market standards and most importantly, providing greater security for its clients. For more information and evaluation versions of all Panda Security solutions, visit our website at: http://www.pandasecurity.com/.
Source: Panda Security
Web site: http://www.pandasecurity.com/