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Fake security software: How to spot, protect against fraud

These days, hackers leverage all kinds of malicious tactics to infect users’ computers and steal their valuable personal information. One approach that continues to pose a threat is the creation and dissemination of fake security software that purports to safeguard users, but is actually doing the opposite.

These bogus pieces of software – that promise all the protection of an industry-leading security solution, but actually provide none of it – have been running rampant recently. Such malware samples can cause significant damage if installed. For instance, some versions charge a premium price for the program (as much as $100) as a means to convince users of their legitimacy. The thinking here is, many individuals know not to trust solutions being offered for free, but a paid system must be good. With malware-laced imposter security software, however, this is far from the case.

Once users have shelled out the money to pay for the infected program, the malware contained within the software goes to work. Typically, attacks will seek out sensitive, personal information on a user’s system which can be exploited for identity theft and other fraudulent purposes.

How to spot a fake
Thankfully, there are several ways to tell if the security software being offered is actually malware. Oftentimes, these imposters come through online advertisements that offer free or trial versions of programs. Other times, pop​-ups will appear, warning users that their system is infected, but they can clean it up with the featured program. If the software was provided in this manner, or did not come from a reputable vendor, it is likely a fake.

Additionally, if, after downloading the program, it presents continuous pop​-up notifications toreactivate the product – oftentimes asking for a price to do so – it is also likely a fraud. Legitimate security software does its best to operate in the background and not bother the device owner. In addition, valid programs will typically solve issues without charging a premium after installation.

How to avoid infection
Besides recognizing these dangerous imposters through their malicious characteristics, users can also protect themselves through legitimate security software, such as Faronics Anti-Virus. Using a program like this can help keep machines protected.

In addition, using an application whitelisting approach also helps ensure that no unauthorized programs are allowed to run on a safeguarded system. With this technology in place, users can create their own custom list of approved software, and all other programs are blocked from accessing or operating on the system.

About The Author

Scott Cornell

When he’s not knee deep in blogging and all things tech, Scott spends his free time playing ultimate Frisbee and watching foreign films. An expert in emerging tech trends, Scott always has his ear to ground for breaking news related to IT security.

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