In another indication of the growing prevalence of fake anti-virus scams, the FBI has released an advisory on so-called scareware.
The agency’s Internet Crime Complain Centre (IC3) yesterday released an Intelligence Note that warned users that although these pop-up security warnings look authentic and sometimes even appear to be running a real-time anti-virus scan on the user’s computer, they are not to be trusted.
“The scareware is intimidating to most users and extremely aggressive in its attempt to lure the user into purchasing the rogue software that will allegedly remove the viruses from their computer,” the note stated.
“Downloading the software could result in viruses, Trojans and/or keyloggers being installed on the user's computer. The repercussions of downloading the malicious software could prove further financial loss to the victim due to computer repair, as well as cost to the user and/or financial institutions due to identity theft.”
The FBI said it estimates losses through scareware to have already reached $150m. It advised users to keep up to date with operating system patches and security software and to get familiar with the names of legitimate security software so they are able to spot the fake brands.
“If a user receives these anti-virus pop-ups, it is recommended to close the browser or shut the system down,” said the note.
“It is suggested that the user run a full, anti-virus scan whenever the computer is turned back on.”
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