Economic hardship gives rise to more sophisticated scammers

The money crisis has not only rippled through the offline lives of millions, but those who felt they were safe from losing their homes or retirement funds are now facing new risks each time they browse the Internet. At one time phishing for private information was primarily done with trojans and other malware designed to spread easily between computers and steal a user's personal data such as their social security number, credit card numbers and bank account information. Unfortunately these easy to detect and remove programs are no longer the norm as cyber-criminals have become more computer and consumer savvy to get tight-fisted computer users to part with their money.

PandaLabs has released an alert in regards to a new way that crooks have begun stealing money from unsuspecting computer users. Cyber-criminals are creating and releasing fake antivirus programs and websites designed to scare the average user into believing their computer has a virus and in order to remove it they'll need to activate an antivirus or follow a link to download it.

"More than 30 million users have been infected by this new wave of fake antivirus programs," said Ryan Sherstobitoff, chief corporate evangelist for Panda Security. "The information we have at present suggests that approximately 3 percent of these users have provided their personal details in the process of buying a product that claims to disinfect their computers. Extrapolating from an average price of $68.31, we can calculate that the creators of these programs are receiving more than $13,666,000 per month."

Spread through peer-to-peer sharing websites, adult sites and fake sites, the popups and programs look and act so much like the real thing, as shown in fake Google image below, that even knowledgeable computer users are falling victim to this latest scam. Once detected on a victim's computer, it can take days to remove completely.

Protecting yourself or friends and family though is easy. Ensure that they have a legit antivirus on their computer and that they understand and know how to use it and always keep them up-to-date on the latest scams that you find floating around the internet.

Link: Fake Google Image
Link: PandaLabs Blog

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13 Comments

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Well good thing Panda is on top of it!

Cause ya know I've only been cleaning out these latest threats oh at least for the last 6months or more for my clients at work.

Keep up the good job! Go Pandalabs

Next thing ill be told that Norton may get better too... yea right

To those who think "only idiots click on those links", the popups can easily fool an average user who is less experienced with antivirus products or computers in general. Once my parents almost bought one of those things before I stopped them.

But what does this have to do with the economy? These things have been everywhere for years.

My god, what else can we blame on the economy? Give me a break, viruses and spyware have been on the rise since their creation. Vote for Obama and all your virus problems will go away. Or at least you can "hope" they will.

Problem is what other malware is piggybacking on this crap that you don't even know about? Problem is once your computer has been compromised with this crap it can't be trusted again.

these fake antivirus guys are filling a gap in the way we use the internet, people think antivirus = good ... all these things are just pretty UI's, it should have taken alot more social engineering by the bad guys to scam people... like the moment that it gets covered by the media, its over for these fake antivirus programs

Yep 2 of my customers well they were actually 1st time customers, both actually sent the Fake antivirus Money. In both cases I told them to cancel their current credit card and get a new one.

Almost every computer with problems I see anymore has this fake antivirus installed.

We actually just had a spammer sign up and link to this fake antivirus in his profile. He obviously chose the wrong site to do it at...but my guess is plenty will click on that link on other sites if he has signed up.

Exactly. Obviously there is a lot junk out there but pay attention to what you're doing and you should be alright.

Soldiers33 said,
only idiots click on those links. they get what they deserve

just because people are less computer savvy doesn't make them idiots. people with less experience on computers (typically older generations) could quite easily get fooled by this...