Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Rogue Security Programs: What You Need to Know


The Problem
It's an epidemic. Computers are coming in for repair at an alarming rate. The culprit: Rogue security products are tricking normal computer users into installing a trojan disguised as legit anti-virus or anti-spyware software.  Antivirus 2010 (shown above) is one example of this.  There are products that will help you remove these infections from your computer, such as the ones detailed in this PC Magazine article.

How and Why?...from Microsoft
But how and why does this phenomenon happen? Microsoft has this article that explains the situation and reasoning behind it.  It adds quite a bit of insight into the hows, whys and what-fors.

Anti-Trojan.org: The Ultimate Rogue Software Resource

Since most of these rogue programs drop malicious trojans onto unsuspecting computers, leaving an ugly mess behind, it is very helpful to read up on what trojans are and discover the ultimate anti-trojan Web site.  This is it.  Everything you ever needed to know about trojans, rogue software, how to protect yourself and "other helpful stuff."

MalwareInfo.org Article: The Ultimate Informative Reference

If you would like to see pictures, graphs and screenshots of what rogue security programs look like, this article is one of the best I've seen, written by Rajdeep Chakraborty, founder of Malwareinfo.org. It is a PDF that you can download. The article talks about such topics as "drive-by downloads," provides very surprising statistics (such as Google's quote that 1% of all search results contained at least one result pointing to malicious content back in 2008, and that is increasing daily), as well as the various methods of infection. All of this is researched thoroughly.

Symantec's Report and Resources

If you rely on Symantec for your security information, and trust them first and foremost, then this podcast will also be of interest to you. In fact, Symantec (makers of Norton Antivirus) did a very impressive report on rogue security software, complete with a press release and a nice collection of resources here.

Conclusion

I get paid to clean up the messes created by such malicious scumware as these, but it's gotten to the point where you need to know more. You need to know what causes it, what prevents it, and how to combat it. I want to share as much info as possible and try to level the playing field. I think it is simply unfair for computer users to go out into the dangerous landmine that is the Internet without any type of knowledge.  With the expertise and resources documented here, hopefully, weapons will be provided.   I hope you all read with care and strengthen your arsenal.

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