Don’t fall for bogus antivirus downloads

Scott dunn By Scott Dunn

A new virus strain pretends to remove malware but actually does just the opposite: it infects your system.

Fortunately, you can use a few simple steps to tell the difference between these rogue antivirus programs and legitimate security software.

Antivirus apps may be malware in disguise

A dangerous new virus is making the rounds in the guise of a legitimate antivirus program. Going by such names as “Antivirus XP 2008” and “XP Antivirus 2009,” this malware, as described in a recent Computer Associates advisory, succeeds by looking like a legitimate Windows program.

The Internet security blog Donna’s SecurityFlash reports that rogue antivirus programs such as these are being promoted through spam messages that link to an automatic download of a virus installer.

With such aggressive methods afoot to fool security-minded users, how do you know when an antivirus product is legitimate? Use the following guidelines to ensure that the security products you download are legitimate.

Choose your security vendor deliberately

Be careful how you select a security vendor. Just because you see an ad for a vendor or product on a highly reputable site doesn’t mean the advertiser is reliable.

Conversely, an ad for a reputable product or service on an unfamiliar site doesn’t mean that you can trust the site. Advertisements are often distributed by third parties beyond the editorial control of the hosting site. That’s why you may find ads for untrustworthy products on legitimate sites, and ads for legit products on bogus sites.

This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.

Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.

= Paid content

All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2008-09-04: