Fake AntiVirus?

courtesy of geckoandfly.comThat’s Right!  The latest form of attacks on the web are fake anti-virus programs.  They show up on your computer looking like some kind of authentic Windows Security Anti-Virus running a scan on your PC and scarily warning you that you have hundreds of infections that need to be removed.  The program usually prevents you from accessing any windows behind it, and there is no way to close it. (or so you think… see in red below)  Your only option is to click on their Removal box… but that’s when the fun starts. (NOT!)  You are now prompted that in order to remove these ‘so called’ viruses, you must purchase their product!!?? 

That should be your first clue that something is wrong!  If you already have an anti-virus program, then why don’t you see the name of that program running the scan?  And, if you already have an anti-virus program, why are you being prompted to buy it again???

If you are or have experienced this, it’s already too late.  This fake anti-virus has already weaseled it’s way onto your system.  And they can be very difficult to get rid of.  If this has happened to you, you need to contact an experienced PC Tech to remove it for you.

But, beware!  These things are getting more stealthy all the time and sometimes resurface even after your system has been certified as clean.

Unfortunately, there is no 100% guarantee that you are protected against viruses.  It doesn’t matter which anti-virus software you are using.

Most of the fake anti-viruses are worming their way onto your PC through pop-ups on the internet.  There are too many scenarios to discuss, but the most common is:  you are browsing the internet and you receive a pop-up message.  Most people will click on the red X and be merrily on their way with surfing the web.

For a pop-up that is legit, that’s a perfectly fine thing to do.  However, as unfortunate as it may be, most pop-ups nowadays have malicious intentions.  And that little red X that you clicked on could be reprogrammed so that you are accepting whatever their malicious intentions may be.  In the case of the fake anti-virus program, you could be accepting it to be installed on your PC.  Once it’s installed, it then goes about wreaking havoc upon you.

The first thing it usually does is disable, or bypass your legitimate Anti-Virus software so that it can then install or open up the pathway for viruses/spyware to infect your PC.  It then usually infects your System Restore files so that you cannot restore your system to a non-virus time period.  And then it usually goes on disabling things such as the Task Manager… and continues reneging control over your PC until you’re ready to throw it out the window.

At that point, you need professional help!  (and I do mean technical AND mental!)

You can practice safe-surfing by remembering this one (weird old) trick:  DO NOT CLICK ON ANY PART OF A POP-UP!  USE Alt-F4 INSTEAD!

By holding the Alt key down and pressing F4, you are telling Windows to close the current, active window.  This works in most cases.  However, this is also a known defense mechanism that is starting to be circumvented (legitimate pop-ups do not circumvent this feature).  Also, you may have to do this several times as new windows trying to coax you not to leave may continue popping up at you.

If all else fails to close the pop-up, RESTART YOUR PC without clicking on or closing out anything related to the fake anti-virus program.   If you have other programs running such as Office, etc. and you haven’t saved yet, you should attempt to save those files and close the legit programs.  (if you can access them behind the fake anti-virus program)

And remember, don’t click on the fake anti-virus program!