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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