For the veteran Internet users and software developers like myself this may not be a surprise but to newer Internet users or people not too familiar with spyware and malware out there take care! First there were innocent viruses that would just popup at a specific date/time or randomly with an annoying message. Then they became malicious and wrote destructive viruses, deleting/infecting files and with the increase use of the Internet spread them like wildfire through email.
There are numerous amounts of phishing scams out there already but now they’re targetting the unsuspecting user by offerring tools to rid your machine of viruses and spyware. Unfortunately, this is the very software you may unsuspectingly be downloading and installing thinking you’re protecting yourself, while in-fact, putting yourself in harms way instead. There are now tonns of fake antivirus and spyware removal tools luring people to download and install them but leaving themselves open instead. These fakes will alert you to viruses that don’t really exist and keep pestering you to purchase the software to “effectively” remove them. All you’re doing in the end is spending money on useless software and leaving your machine, possibly, more infected than it was before.
How do they lure the unsuspecting user? Often with popups on websites you visit claiming that your PC may be infected and that you should act now by downloading their antivirus/spyware removal software now. Take my advice and stick to reputable sources for antivirus and spyware removal tools and don’t trust these freebies/free-trial offers from vendors you don’t know/trust. If in doubt, ask a friend, or a friend of a friend who may be in the know.
The ones you can trust are the ones who’ve been around the longest – and more often than not you can protect yourself without spending a fortune, or anything! I have been using, and will continue to use, Grisoft’s AVG Free edition antivirus software since it’s original release back in the 90’s and I’ve yet (knock on wood) to be infected. Regular daily update checks and daily scans (including realtime scanning) ensures my machine(s) are kept safe. If you’re using a company machine they’ve probably got some commercial version of antivirus software installed like Trend Micro, Microsoft Forefront, McAfee Antivirus, AVG Internet Security, etc.
Click here to see an example of fake antivirus software (Antivirus2008 Pro) which looks legitimate.
There’s a page that’s been updated by it’s auther since 2004, containing a list of rogue anti-spyware software out there that will infect your machine and offer no help whatsoever. Looking at the list can be scary but it just go to show how vigilant you need to be and how important it is to protect yourself and get help from someone who knows if you don’t.
You can read up more on this on posts/sites like the following:
- Don’t fall for bogus antivirus downloads
- Beware fake virus protection
- XP Antivirus Lies! – Fake Anti-malware Software
- Protect Yourself from Fake Anti-Virus Software
Want to know more about AVG and how to set it up on your own PC and starting protecting yourself from virus now? Head on over to a great “how-to” guide on the How To Geek website now.