Beware of Fake Anti-Virus Software

December 31, 2009

When we talk about the end of one year and the beginning of the next, we often make resolutions about things we want to accomplish in the upcoming year. I know one thing we would also like to see decrease is the number of viruses and the volume of spam. Yesterday I ran across something that would cause both to increase and I wanted to write and warn you about it.

I was visiting a business Web site. Really, this wasn’t a “bad” neighborhood. Out of the blue I got a message that my computer was about to be infected with something really bad. Sounds scary, right? Just don’t fall for it! The giveaway that it is completely bogus is that the message is in your browser window. Of course the next step was an animation of a virus/spyware scan that showed my computer was badly infected. Before I did anything, I launched ZoneAlarm (my real anti-virus software) and had it do a full scan. Of course it found no infections at all.

When I tried to close the fake warning message, it tried to download an EXE file that was supposedly the virus software being promoted by the scam. I canceled it. When I tried to navigate away from the page, it tried to download again. Again I canceled. Once more it tried to download and I canceled. Finally I got back to a page that wasn’t infected. The files it was trying to download were not anti-virus software, they were the virus itself!

I think I know how the Web site I was visiting was spewing out these fake messages. I revisited the Web site while writing this post so I could get screenshots and the problem was gone. If my guess is correct, most any site could be spewing out these messages even though the site itself is not the problem. All I can do it caution you to pay very, very close attention if you see messages about being infected.

I also strongly urge you to have legitimate, up-to-date anti-virus software. As mentioned earlier, my favorite is ZoneAlarm and there is a really nice sale on it right now (50% off). Make sure you double-check that your software is being updated regularly. If you got some anti-virus software included on your computer, it is quite possible the subscription has ended and you aren’t as safe as you think you might be.

Just a few days ago I heard from a friend who had fallen for the exact scam I described earlier. Their computer is severely messed up and will require some serious geek love to get it back to its normal working condition. Not only are they unable to use their computer for a period of time, there will be a cost involved to fix the computer.

So I urge you to please be careful about where you click when surfing the Web. I don’t want your computer to be infected because that probably means I get more spam. Of course I really don’t want you to have to deal with getting the computer fixed. If you are really good about surfing safely, forward this blog post to all of your friends and family who don’t surf safely. Let’s all do our part to fight back against the criminals who want to make our online lives miserable!

I just found out that I had several very well off relatives in Nigeria who died recently and left me quite a fortune. I better get in touch with their lawyers immediately so I can receive the monies due to me! Please don’t take this last paragraph seriously either. I’m sure you get plenty of similar messages and the best thing you can do is delete them!

Post Discussion

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

You May Also Like…

Don't Share Facebook Scam Posts and How To Spot Them

Don’t Share Facebook Scam Posts and How To Spot Them

Facebook has been in the news a lot lately for not doing enough to stop misinformation. Today I want to described one specific type of post that continues to show up from time to time and people are still falling for it. Let's look at one I...

Read More

Ransomware Attacks

Tips to Protect Yourself From a Ransomware Attack

Ransomware has been all over the news recently. First it shut down an important pipeline on the East Coast of the US and then meat processing plants. Criminals have been hitting these high-profile targets because they often lead to huge paydays....

Read More

Lori Greiner Addresses The Coronavirus Crisis

The Sharks Address The Coronavirus Crisis

I've been a fan of the Shark Tank television show since the first season. Some of the companies presenting have turned into huge hits and some of them seem like crazy ideas. Along the way there are tidbits of business advice. In a recent...

Read More

Foster D. Coburn III

Foster D. Coburn III is author of 13 best-selling books on CorelDRAW and has been a contributor to numerous technology and graphics-related magazines. Foster has taken many projects, including this Web site, from the early design stage through to a finished piece. He has been a featured speaker at many graphics conferences. His first Web site was built in 1995 and he has been working exclusively in WordPress since 2013.

Recent Posts

Pro WordPress Help

Graphics Unleashed Donations

$
Personal Info

Donation Total: $5