Rogue security software, also known as “scareware,” has reared its ugly head again in the form of fake virus alerts. Rogue software is software that appears to be beneficial from a security perspective but provides limited or no security, generates erroneous or misleading alerts, or attempts to lure users into participating in fraudulent transactions. Because most ProductiveTech clients have either Symantec or AVG antivirus products installed, any virus alerts for any other products should be a red flag and definite cause for suspicion.
How does rogue security software get on my computer?
Rogue security software designers create legitimate looking pop-up windows that advertise security update software. These windows might appear on your screen while you surf the web. The “updates” or “alerts” in the pop-up windows call for you to take some sort of action, such as clicking to install the software, accept recommended updates, or remove unwanted viruses or spyware. When you click, the rogue security software downloads to your computer.
What does rogue security software do?
Rogue security software might report a virus, even though your computer is actually clean. The software might also fail to report viruses when your computer is infected. Inversely, sometimes, when you download rogue security software, it will install a virus or other malicious software on your computer so that the software has something to detect.
Some rogue security software might also:
- Lure you into a fraudulent transaction (for example, upgrading to a non-existent paid version of a program).
- Use social engineering to steal your personal information.
- Install malware that can go undetected as it steals your data.
- Launch pop-up windows with false or misleading alerts.
- Slow your computer or corrupt files.
- Disable Windows updates or disable updates to legitimate antivirus software.
- Prevent you from visiting antivirus vendor websites.
To help protect you from rogue security software:
- Install a firewall and keep it turned on.
- Use automatic updating to keep your operating system and software up to date.
- Install antivirus software. ProductiveTech recommends Symantec Endpoint Protection and Symantec Protection Suite (Small Business Edition), depending on your specific network.
- Use caution when you click links in email or on social networking websites, such as Facebook.
- Use a standard user account instead of an administrator account.
- Familiarize yourself with common phishing scams.
Check your accounts. If you think you might have entered sensitive information, such as credit card numbers or passwords into a pop-up window or at a rogue security software site, you should monitor your associated accounts.
If you think you might have rogue security software on your computer, contact ProductiveTech for a thorough scan and removal.