Report finds fake antivirus on the rise

Report finds fake antivirus on the rise

Summary: A Finjan report from March estimated that fake antivirus distributors can make more than $10,000 a day. No wonder it's spreading fast.

Malware posing as antivirus software is spreading fast with tens of millions of computers infected each month, according to a report to be released on Wednesday from PandaLabs.

PandaLabs found 1,000 samples of fake antivirus software in the first quarter of 2008. In a year, that number had grown to 111,000. And in the second quarter of 2009, it reached 374,000, Luis Corrons, technical director of PandaLabs said in a recent interview.

"We've created a specific team to deal with this," he said, of the rogue antivirus software that issues false warnings of infections in order to get people to pay for software they don't need. The programs also typically download a Trojan or other malware.

PandaLabs found that 3 percent to 5 percent of all the people who scanned their PCs with Panda antivirus software were infected. Using that and worldwide computer stats from Forrester, PandaLabs estimates there could be as many as 35 million computers infected per month with rogue antivirus programs.

About 3 percent of the people who see the fake warnings fall for it, forking over $50 for an annual license or $80 for a lifetime license, according to Corrons.

Last September, a hacker was able to infiltrate rogue antivirus maker Baka Software and discovered that in one period an affiliate made more than $80,000 in about a week, said Sean-Paul Correll, a PandaLabs threat researcher.

A Finjan report from March estimated that fake antivirus distributors can make more than $10,000 a day.

"The general consumer doesn't understand" the threat, Correll said. "No legitimate antivirus vendor will start a scan automatically on your computer without your consent."

After all the hoopla about the Conficker threat, researchers seemed almost relieved that it turned out to distribute fake antivirus software instead of something much worse.

This article was originally published on CNET News.

Topics: Malware, CXO, Security, Software, IT Employment

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  • We all know real antivirus venders would never

    use false positives to sell their software
  • RE: Report finds fake antivirus on the rise

    This is why I use reputable anti-virus software like McAfee Total Protection. It costs more, but good deals are out there.
    • That does no better than the free solutions..

      such as AVG. You just paid a lot for a) things that already protect you within windows and b)an anti-virus soltuion that is just as good as AVG.

      I use MS's free anti-virus beta and its shaping up to be some good competition to the paid guys. Internet Security "suites" is nothign more than extra bloat in your computer and give you a reason to scream "why is my computer slow". All of the features that any suite offers is already in Windows Vista and later.
    • sounds like you work for McAfee

      Before you offer us advice, you should acquaint yourself with the numberous articles explaining that your "solution" will bloat and slow down your machine. Duh
  • Dont forget

    downloading game demos from
    porn sites will get you every time

    don't forget the consumer idiocy involved
    everybody needs a savior at least in USA.
    not of this world
  • Trouble starts with free

    The only things you get for free in this world is dog and baby poop. All scams start with a promise to give you something for nothing. It started with Ponzi and was most recent with Madoff. If it's free, it will cost you!
    • re: Trouble starts with free

      Yeah I know what you mean, Firefox, Thunderbird, Truecrypt, OpenOffice, VirtualBox, Winamp, Pidgin.. I use these every day, they are awful and cost me a fortune!

      Oh wait, actually they are great and cost me nothing...
      • "free" can end up being expensive

        Yep, they're free and they're great, but they don't need to be maintained and updated several times a week like an anti-virus program does. It's not that the free anti-virus programs are bad, they aren't, but they just aren't ever as up to date as the paid versions.

        All things considered - especially the risks involved - the annual cost of a good anti-virus program isn't that much, certainly not compared to the time lost recovering from a virus inflection.
        • Free Av

          I've used Avast Av for many years now. It was a replacement for Norton that had gotten so bloated that my computer took several minutes to boot. Once the Norton was out my computer started acting like it was new again. Installing the Avast didn't slow it down at all. Now when someone tells me their computer is slow I ask if they have Norton or McAfee and sure enough, many times that's the problem. I've told many people about the Avast and never had anyone come back and tell me they had gotten a virus or were unhappy with it at all.
  • RE: Report finds fake antivirus on the rise

    who is making money the one giving free or the the one one charging you 50 to 80 bucks for license read the the article again

  • Most not fooled

    Though the guy from Panda says "The general consumer doesn't understand", it looks like most do, since only 3% of those who get the fake alerts buy the rogue AV. Unfortunately, there's a lot of money to be made from that small percentage.
  • RE: Report finds fake antivirus on the rise

    I find it quite horrible that people are still using an operating system, as to where they have to be paranoid about malware, in order to not get malware.