David Kirkpatrick

February 11, 2009

Watch out for fake virus warnings

Filed under: Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:50 pm

I’m betting most readers of this blog know about fake virus warnings, and worse fake pop-up windows — quick hint, don’t zap them with the “x” on the window itself, drop down to the taskbar, right click and choose “close” — and how they can lead to malware or even betray that you already have a malware infection.

If you’re not aware of this insidious Windows problem, take the time to check this article out.

From the link:

Michael Vana knew something was up when he saw the pop-up from “Antivirus 2009” in the middle of his screen. The former Northwest Airlines avionics technician guessed that the dire warning of a system infection was fake, but when he clicked on the X to close the window, it expanded to fill his screen. To get rid of it, he had to shut down his PC.

Sound familiar? Dirty tricks like these, designed to get you to install and buy fake antivirus products, are more common than ever. (For advice on how to proceed if you’ve installed a phony antivirus on your PC, see “Antivirus 2009: How to Remove Fake AV Software.”) But while you might recognize such warnings as bogus, you might not know that the fake warning could be a red alert about an underlying bot malware infection. Knowing the difference is key.

“It’s not something you even blink at anymore,” says Christopher Boyd, senior director of malware research for communications security company FaceTime Communications, of requests for help in dealing with these warning pop-ups.