Rogue Security Software
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Rogue Security Software is internet fraud, which has been rising in popularity since 2008. Every day newer and newer variants of this threat are found available. They have a lot in common, but there are slight differences in all of them.
Rogue security software is usually represented by a bogus virus protection software solution that is supposed to scare the user. The usual form of this software shows a multitude of fake results from a threat scan, claiming that the computer is endangered. This will be coupled with advice that the user buys a full version of the antivirus program in question. In all cases, this is a useless hoax, which only aims to take the money of the unsuspecting victim.
Methods of Entry
In general, rogue security software uses social engineering, not technical trickery to install itself on the victim’s computer. Through manipulation, the user is usually tricked into installing the threat on their own accord. This is usually done through an infected website, which shows warnings that the user’s system is infected. Conveniently, there is a link placed next to the warning, with a download location for a supposed solution.
A vast majority of the bogus antiviral threats out there use a Trojan component, which installs the malware on the computer. This might come in the face of screensavers attached in an e-mail, multimedia codecs required for watching a video clip, peer-to-peer sharing and browser extensions, such as toolbars.
There are also those threats, which use the so-called drive-by downloads in order to infect a system. These downloads take place in pdf viewers and other similar situations. In these cases no user interaction is required for the installation of the threat. The virus bypasses the security measures of the victim and installs itself automatically on the compromised computer.
You can also find the so-called method of SEO poisoning. This is actually quite convenient for the developers of such malware and they have been exploiting this way to infect computers for some time. The developers use paid links in Google to display the download location for their malware on top of all search results in the search engine. That way, when an unsuspecting victim is browsing for a solution to their problem, they proceed to click on the bogus link and infect their computer unknowingly. Despite the efforts from Google to destroy SEO poisoning, this method is still seen fairly commonly.
How They Operate
The method of operation of rogue security software is based on the type of the threat infecting a system. The most common way to scare the user is through the display of a simulation of threats present on the computer. This usually comes in the face of fake threat scans, which display horrifying results. Another popular method is to run an animation, which will simulate the complete crash of the user’s system, often coupled with a “blue screen of death”. Both are known to easily trick users who are not familiar with this type of threat fairly successfully.
Rogue security software is also known to complete a lot of background operations within the user’s computer. They might disable various processes within the system, which will stop the victim from uninstalling the threat itself. They might also make changes to the computer’s registry and then alert the user about them. The least common method is to install real malware and then notify the user about it. This is uncommon, because legitimate antivirus software solutions will generally detect these threats and will ruin the operation of the malware.
As a whole, this type of threat is still extremely dangerous. The world’s governments have been slow to react to this new type of danger and this is why few endeavors in stopping such malware have succeeded. This gives malware developers a green light in stealing people’s money, especially after most spyware and adware threats have been thwarted in recent years and have been proven ineffective. For this reason, it is mostly up to users to become familiarized with this type of threat, and keep themselves protected from it.
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