Beware bogus ‘Security Essentials’ downloads!

Fred langa By Fred Langa

What’s a sure sign of success? If you’re a Microsoft product, you become the favorite target of hackers — and the newest mark is Security Essentials.

Hackers are offering fake copies of the popular security app to snare the unwary — but a few simple steps easily thwart this ploy.

Fake anti-malware app mimics Security Essentials

Reader Ron Hancock discovered this bit of online nastiness:
  • “In the past you have encouraged people to use Microsoft Security Essentials.

    “I came across this article on the Windows Security Blog, ‘Fake Microsoft Security Essentials software on the loose. Don’t be fooled by it!’

    “Perhaps it would be useful to highlight this (if it’s true, of course).”

Sadly, it’s true. But it’s not just MSE; there are many bogus security tools offered to the unsuspecting PC user.

You’ve probably seen them: you’re on a Web page and a window pops up with a warning such as “Virus detected!” or “Your PC is insecure!” The pop-up then offers to fix the problem — for a price. The slicker offerings closely mimic the look of real security warnings, making it hard to tell they’re fake.

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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2010-12-02:

Fred Langa

About Fred Langa

Fred Langa is senior editor. His LangaList Newsletter merged with Windows Secrets on Nov. 16, 2006. Prior to that, Fred was editor of Byte Magazine (1987 to 1991) and editorial director of CMP Media (1991 to 1996), overseeing Windows Magazine and others.