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Fake anti-virus software fools 43 million. How can you stay safe?
Posted: 21 Oct 2009
Leading software provider Symantec has released research data indicating that in the past year, there were 43 million attempted downloads of ‘scareware’ with legitimate sounding names including Antivirus 2010 and SpywareGuard 2008.
Cyberthieves are receiving up to £60 per download for the fake programmes. Vincent Weafer, Symantec's vice president for security response, explained that TrafficConverter.biz, which has now been closed down, had boasted that its top earners were raking in as much as $332,000 a month for selling scam security software.
One of the ways in which they’ve been able to fool even careful users is to plant fake ‘security alerts’ that show up when a legitimate site is accessed, suggesting that the site contains a virus and to download antivirus software either free or at a cost.
So how can you protect yourself from fake software that leaves your PC vulnerable? Here follow 9 rules for computer safety from www.techsupportalert.com
1. Be very careful where you surf. To help you stay away from bad sites install a website rating browser plug-in and make sure you only visit websites rated positively.
2. Never click on email attachments from unknown sources however tempting and attractive such attachments may seem.
3. Only download files from trusted sources. These include files hosted on reputable download sites, mentioned in the editorial sections of major computer websites and publications and those available from reputable vendors.
4. Never install programs obtained from P2P networks as many of these files are infected with malicious programs. Some of these malicious programs are so powerful they are capable of overwhelming all your security defenses.
5. Never install programs that friends give you on removable media unless you have verified that they are clean by submitting them to free web based file scanning services.
6. Never accept free toolbars, media players or other unsolicited software offered to you by a website.
7. Ensure you are using the latest version of a web browser with a reputation for security.
8. Consider using a Windows limited user account rather than a normal account with full administrator privileges. LUA will block the majority of malware including, among others, all kernel mode rootkits.
9. Consider creating a fresh installation of Windows and then back up your PC using a drive imaging program. Then if in the future your PC ever becomes infected you can use the drive image to restore it to a pristine, infection free condition. If you are using the Business or Ultimate versions of Vista/Windows 7 you already have drive imaging capabilities built into Windows. If you're using other versions of Vista/Windows 7 you can find a number of free drive imaging programs.