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Fake Security is Big Business
By: Bruce Coker
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    Table of Contents:
  • Fake Security is Big Business
  • Nasty Redirection
  • Self-protection
  • More self-protection

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    Fake Security is Big Business

    (Page 1 of 4 )

    When you stop to think about it, there is something deeply ironic about the fact that one of the biggest sectors of the IT industry – an industry that is supposed to make our working lives so much simpler and faster – is dedicated to protecting it from itself. And with an ever-increasing number and variety of threats to our technology, it should be no surprise that some of those threats should arrive disguised as the very tools that are supposed to provide protection. Keep reading as we take a close look at the fake security industry.

    The fake security business is booming. According to a report from Deloitte Technology Fast 50-rated security software provider ESET, attempts to extract money from unsuspecting end users in exchange for fake security tools will increase in both volume and sophistication in 2009.  

    If this bleak prediction turns out to be true, it will only be the continuation of a trend that has been developing for several years. In late 2008, the UK-based consultancy Panda Security estimated that the so-called scareware business could be worth as much as $15 million a month. Even if this sum is an exaggeration, it serves as a useful illustration of the scale of the problem.

    The true value of scareware could easily amount to more than that of many legitimate industries, so the appeal to scammers is no surprise. Nor is the fact that these scammers are constantly exploring new ways to separate marks from their cash. A typical attack involves a fake virus or malware infection warning message, leading in turn to a compromised software download that will supposedly disinfect the machine. These messages often appear after surfing adult sites or viewing one of the fake e-Cards that turn up from time to time in everyone’s inbox.

    What is alarming is the lengths extortionists are going to in the attempt to make their scams appear legitimate. Examples of this include a fake Google toolbar, and a number of highly convincing imitations of genuine vendor sites. This represents something of a brave new world for malware developers, who are now cashing in as users pay for the privilege of infecting their own machines.

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