How Prevalent Is Fake Antivirus Software?

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How Prevalent Is Fake Antivirus Software?

Kevin R. Smith

Over the past couple of years, we've gotten a lot of calls and emails from people who've been infected by fake antivirus software.

I took a call myself from Joyce in Philadelphia late last week. She told me about how she had to wire money to India to get the viruses removed from her computer.

Their pitch to her? Her antivirus software (their fake software) had expired. When she called their so-called tech support number, they told her there was no way they could remove the virus without her making a payment by Western Union to renew the software for another year.

There were problems (of course) with her computer even after she paid the fees, so she was calling to see what the best antivirus software was because what she bought, she felt, sure wasn't very good.

Sure, some readers are going to say, "Why on Earth did she send a Western Union transfer to India?! What was the thinking??"

Let's put that aside for a while and ask the bigger question: Just how prevlent is this crap?

Funny thing is Kasperksy asked this question, too, in their survey/report Digital Consumer’s Online Trends and Risks.

A whopping 24% of users surveyed worldwide said they're encountered fake antivirus software with the worst three countries for "infection" being Russia (48%), the United States (34%), and the United Kingdom (28%).

What's the take-away message from this?

Well, there's more than just one:
  1. If you've seen fake antivirus software, you're not alone.
  2. Your chances are about 1 in 4 you will.
  3. Make sure you're running real antivirus software
  4. Familiarize yourself with what it's like and how it works
  5. If you're familiar with it, you're more likely to know a fake threat when you encounter it


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