Phony Microsoft endorsement part of new scareware tactic

A variant of the infection that urges users to buy DefenceLab antivirus software now also directs them to a Microsoft support page

A new scareware package tries to sell bogus antivirus software to its victims using an apparent endorsement of the software by Microsoft.

A variant of the infection that urges users to buy DefenceLab antivirus software now also directs them to a Microsoft  support page where a display describes a new threat and recommends using DefenceLab antivirus to clear it and protect against it.

Rating the malware blockers

It's a real Microsoft support site, but it's the malware already running on users' infected computers that injects the threat warning and the endorsement of the antivirus software, according to a blog by Matt Kelchner, a researcher at Sunbelt Software.

The scam is intended to prod users into clicking a "Fix It" button that leads them to a site where they can buy the antivirus software.

This twist is an extension of an ongoing scareware epidemic. Malicious software is downloaded to victims' machines and pops up warnings that the computer has been scanned and found to be infected. It then pops up windows urging them to buy antivirus software that can get rid of the problem.

The problem reportedly does go away, but experts say that doesn't mean the virus that created it is removed and won't cause more problems later.

Similar Trojans have been around for years and are among the "cash cows" identified by Cisco in its annual report on cybercrime. Other variants of these Trojans have encrypted files on victims' computers and basically held them for ransom. If users want to decrypt them, they have to fork over $40 to buy antimalware forced on them by the malware.

The criminals behind the malware also poison Google search results so when victims search for ways to remove the malware, sites for buying the bogus antivirus software come up first.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags securityMicrosoftScareware

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tim Greene

Network World
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?