| By Susan Bradley |
Fake security programs are taking advantage of user gullibility in order to hold people’s PCs for ransom.
Windows XP users who are running with administrator rights are especially vulnerable to these drive-by downloads.
System-clogging antivirus scam hits home
Queries entered at Google and other Web search engines are returning links to sites that try to infect your system with the dreaded Antivirus 2008/2009 scam. This threat was reported by Windows Secrets associate editor Scott Dunn on Sept. 4 and described by the folks at the Internet Storm Center in a Sept. 15 bulletin.
My dad was one of the victims of this malware after he followed such a search link. These downloads purport to be free antivirus programs, yet in reality they offer no protection but demand payment for their removal.
While a visit to the malware-cleaning site Malwarebytes helped me get my dad’s PC back into shape, the incident points out how difficult it is to secure a Windows XP workstation when the user runs with full administrator rights.
Search engines do not cleanse their results, and antivirus programs are not stopping many of these rogue variants. They morph and change just enough to evade our virus protection.