Fake anti-virus software accounts for 15 per cent of the all malicious content floating around the internet, according to a study conducted by Google. The report comes after search giant scanned 240 million web pages over a period of 13 months.
These bogus products trap users by luring unsuspecting internet surfers with fake warning signs on screen that prompt them to install an 'anti-virus' product, which is in fact malware.
By doing so, cyber criminals can also succeed in getting customers' credit card details. Once the hackers have duped people into downloading and installing the fake anti-virus, the malware opens a back door allowing the criminals free access to the user's computer.
The infected PCs are then used to send spam, malicious emails and steal social networking and banking login details.
Commenting on its alarming findings, Google said in a statement: “The fake antivirus threat is rising in prevalence, both absolutely and relative to other forms of web-based malware.
Clearly, there is a definitive upward trend in the number of new fake antivirus domains that we encounter each week.”