Pinterest Stumbleupon Whatsapp
Ads by Google

security tool virusThere is no doubt that quality security tools can be a boon to your PC’s security. A good antivirus and firewall can protect you from most threats and do so without being an excessive drag on system resources. Going without is possible, but risky, as any mistake made on your part could easily result in infection.

Unfortunately, those who want to spread malware know that people want to protect their PCs and have created a weapon that exploits it – the security tool virus. This is a threat that has been around for some time, but continues to be an issue, as the people who tend to download a security tool virus are also usually people who don’t have a way to detect it.

Let’s take a look at some common traits these malware threats possess that blow their cover.

Virus Detection Before Installation

security tool virus

You’ve probably had this happen before. You’re minding your own business when suddenly, a tab in your browser starts what appears to be a virus scan. If you allow it to finish, a number of scary PC security threats are shown, along with a warning that you should download a security update, tool, antivirus, or other such program.

Ads by Google

Although this may seem like an old-fashioned trick for spreading a fake security tool, it wouldn’t be used if it didn’t work, and it’s easy for drowsy or inattentive users to take this information seriously. The important thing to remember is that legitimate security tools will not “scan your PC” for viruses before you download them. In fact, the entire “scan” is actually a web animation, not an actual scan. If you pay close attention you’ll notice that the file structure represented doesn’t quite conform to the one on your PC – and many of these deceptions are still built to reproduce the computer window from a Windows XP computer, which makes it rather easy to see through the scam if you’re using Windows Vista or 7!

Aggressive Use Of Fear-Based Advertising

security tool virus removal

All security tools, be they legitimate or not, tend to use a dash of fear in their advertising. After all, you’re interested in them because you want to protect yourself from a perceived threat, and this means you have a need that can be teased out by advertising.

However, a security tool virus will often approach you by going entirely overboard. The virus detection before installation is just one example of this, but if you happen upon the front page of an illegitimate security tool (this is thankfully much harder to do now than in the past, thanks to search engines becoming better about de-listing malware) you’ll typically be spammed with all kinds of threats and suggestions about your PC’s security. Phrases like “Your security is at risk!” and “Your computer could be infected now!” are common.

There are usually a great number of weasel words in advertisements about these tools, as well. Your computer “is likely” at risk to a threat “experts agree” “may” compromise the security of “some people.”

No Information Available From Reviews

security tool virus

Perhaps one of the most ironclad indications that a security tool is not legitimate is the information blackout that seems to surround such programs. Legitimate security tools are reviewed like any other piece of software, but those that are malware usually don’t receive such attention.

I say usually, however, because there’s nothing stopping the creators of a particularly aggressive fake antivirus app from using online advertising or setting up blogs that provide fake reviews of their products. Although such elaborate schemes are rare, they have existed in the past. Not all security tool malware is free – some unfortunate users have been sucked into paying to install malware on their own system.

Perhaps the best source of information is AV-Comparatives, a source I’ve mentioned in many articles about malware. AV-Comparatives is an independent organization that exists solely to provide in-depth and objective testing of anti-malware solutions. Most legitimate security tools show up on their website at some point. If AV-Comparatives has never tested it, the security tool is likely not worth your time, even if it isn’t malware.

Conclusion

A security tool virus is a particularly devious piece of malware because it naturally tends to be installed on systems that don’t already have security software. Often, these programs sucker users with the promise of free protection but, as mentioned, there have been times in the past when paid malware scams with names like Antivirus XP and MS Antivirus have proliferated.

These days, there is really no need to go searching for free security tools, as there are many free antivirus solutions The 10 Best Free Anti-Virus Programs The 10 Best Free Anti-Virus Programs Read More available from legit companies. Even Microsoft now offers Microsoft Security Essentials Free Security Suite for Windows: Microsoft Security Essentials Free Security Suite for Windows: Microsoft Security Essentials Read More , a legitimate and quite effective security tool.

Here are a couple of other MakeUseOf articles on the subject:

Top 10 Fake Antivirus software & Spyware Removal programs Detect Fake Antivirus software & Spyware Removal programs Detect Fake Antivirus software & Spyware Removal programs Read More
Free App to Remove a Plethora of FAKE Antivirus Software Free App to Remove a Plethora of FAKE Antivirus Software Free App to Remove a Plethora of FAKE Antivirus Software Read More

Share your thoughts in comments.

  1. Aibek
    March 14, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    There are some other real time malware monitors that are as good and free

    - ThreatFire, http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/t...
    - Spyware Terminator, http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/s...

  2. TRY
    March 11, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    MalwareBytes AntiMalware Pro in realtime will certainly protect and prevent these kinds of roguewares from taking over your systems.

  3. Aibek
    March 11, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    Actually, we wrote about it a week or two ago.
    Indeed a very useful service,
    http://www.makeuseof.com/dir/l...

  4. Vibin @ TechFume
    March 11, 2011 at 10:45 am

    Shall I tell you a better solution( Other than just googling) ? Visit http://www.lavasoft.com/mylava... Its the Lavasoft (Antivirus/security company) Rogue gallery containing a list of hundreds of FAKE antiviruses, Anti spywares and Anti Adwares.

  5. Pngwn56
    March 10, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    I know it sounds simple, but if you aren't sure about a program, you google the name and see what pops up. Most of the time it will be an article about how to get rid of it if it's malware.

    • M.S. Smith
      March 10, 2011 at 9:37 pm

      That can work too, most of the time. I wouldn't 100% rely on search engine information, though, since they can be fooled.

    • Vibin
      March 11, 2011 at 9:45 am

      Shall I tell you a better solution( Other than just googling) ? Visit http://www.lavasoft.com/mylavasoft/rogues/latest Its the Lavasoft (Antivirus/security company) Rogue gallery containing a list of hundreds of FAKE antiviruses, Anti spywares and Anti Adwares.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *