Fake security software in millions of computers

October 20th, 2009 - 8:00 pm ICT by Aishwarya Bhatt  

Fake security Software Washington, Oct 20 (THAINDIAN NEWS) Millions of U.S. computers have scam security software that their owners may have paid for but which only makes the machines more vulnerable, according to a new Symantec report on cyber crime.

Cyber thieves have become very enterprising and are planting fake security alerts that pop up when computer users access a normal legitimate Web site. This supposedly security “alert” warns them of a possible virus and offers security software, sometimes for free and sometimes for a fee.

“Lots of times, in fact they’re a conduit for attackers to take over your machine,” said Vincent Weafer, Symantec’s vice president for security response.

“They’ll take your credit card information, any personal information you’ve entered there and they’ve got your machine,” he said, referring to some rogue software’s ability to rope a users’ machine into a botnet, a network of machines taken over to send spam or worse.

In a surprise discovery, the anti virus company Symantec found 250 varieties of scam security software with very legitimate sounding names, that can confuse even a computer literate person, like Antivirus 2010 and SpywareGuard 2008, and about 43 million attempted downloads in one year, but did not know how many of the attempted downloads succeeded, said Weafer.

The numbers of afflicted consumers with fake security software are very huge, to the tune of tens of millions. “In terms of the number of people who potentially have this in their machines, it’s tens of millions,” Weafer said.

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