Cybercriminals are increasingly using rogue computer security software, popularly referred to as “scareware”, to trick users into installing malicious content on their machines, a recent report from Microsoft revealed on Wednesday.
The software giant in its recent Security Intelligence Report warned that the hackers have been taking advantage of users’ desire to keep their systems protected against a variety of notorious worms and bugs, such as Conficker, floating over the web, and eventually persuades them to pay for some bogus security software, which actually contains malicious codes.
The company cited that in second half of 2008, Win32/Renos, a threat that is known to deliver fake security tools, had been found on as many as 4.4 million PCs across the globe, registering a rise of 66.6 percent as against the first half of the year.
In addition, two other such threats, namely Win32/FakeSecSen and Win32/FakeXPA, have been detected on 1.5 million PCs, and made it to the list of 10 most prominent threats.
Cliff Evans, security and privacy chief at Microsoft, said in a statement, “The criminals are playing on people's fears. People are aware of security, and these guys want to prey on that”.
In its report, Microsoft quoted these rogue security software as one of the most prevalent threats in the computing domains and called for more attentiveness from the users’ part to avoid such threats.
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Fake security tools have been cropping up lately increasingly more. Not only do they mimic the real deal (like Symantec or Trendmicro) but they also come up with fancy security related names. This is a worrying trend that not only throws dirt and could potentially discredit the security software business.Security as a service could make things even worse.