Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Virus like an anti-virus

We are all pretty gullible actually and unless you have had direct experience of this you may get taken by a phishing attack (fake web pages or email messages designed to coax you into typing in passwords and credit card numbers) or rogue security software.

Today a colleague of mine has had his computer more or less off line all day because of a fake security application called Antivirus 2009.  He is not sure how he got it - it could have been by clicking on a link advertising antivirus software or by opening an attachment in email.

The program installed a very convincing little icon in the system tray (bottom right of the screen) that said that his computer had a security problem.

After some searching, our IT guy came across a link that explains this trojan program and how to remove it.  The amazing thing for me is how (except for the incredible persistence that it showed) this trojan masquerades as an antivirus program and does a fairly convincing job of persuading you to buy it to fix the problem.

One of the horror stories in the link above - which you should read - is a person who clicked on the alert and was led to a web site asking for $20 to download the "full version" of the program.  Since then he has had all sorts of charges going against his credit card.

Be aware of links that offer anti-virus software, spybot detection software and (of course) emails that have attachments that you haven't asked for.....

On a related note - I see today that Slashdot are reporting that Apple is quietly recommending anti-virus software for their operating system.  Sad, but inevitable.

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