/>
X
Innovation

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.
Written by Ryan Naraine, Contributor on

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.

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.

Editorial standards

Related

The 20 best Cyber Monday deals under $30
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K

The 20 best Cyber Monday deals under $30

Live blog: 115+ of the best Cyber Monday deals
Large white Cyber Monday text with electronics behind it

Live blog: 115+ of the best Cyber Monday deals

The 52 best Cyber Monday deals on Amazon right now
Image of Amazon Echo Show 8 on a wooden table in front of a person cooking and folding pastry dough.

The 52 best Cyber Monday deals on Amazon right now