From rogue AV to fake disk clean-up utilities

Security researchers are reporting a surge in fake disk clean-up utilities reporting PC errors and demanding an activation fee to fix these problems.

Security researchers at Symantec are reporting a surge in fake disk clean-up utilities reporting PC errors and demanding an activation fee to fix these problems.

The fake hard disk scanners and defragmentation tools closely resemble the rogueware (fake anti-virus) scam.  In many ways (see sample image above), the graphics appear convincing enough to trick the average end-user.

"What started as a trickle has now become a steady outpouring, with new clones being released almost daily," Symantec's Hon Lau said in a blog post.

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Some of the detected fake disk clean-up tools include:

  • Ultra Defragger
  • Smart Defragmenter
  • HDD Defragmenter
  • System Defragmenter
  • Disk Defragmenter
  • Quick Defragmenter
  • Check Disk
  • Scan Disk

The rip-off works by performing a scan upon installation that purports to look for problems on a computer.

After the scan, it reports a whole host of errors and warnings. The user is prompted to run the defragmentation process, which then boots into a black “safe mode” (which is fake) and proceeds to “fix” some of the issues.

However, the fake defragmenter utility leaves some serious issues that require the application to be activated for a fee before they can be resolved.

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