Bypassing Rogue Security Software

How can you tell what's real and what's not when it comes to security software? Below are practical tips from Lavasoft for faking out the fakes.

While surfing the web, a pop-up appears, warning you that your computer is infected, and demanding that you clean up your PC. Supposedly, all you must do to fix the problem is buy a certain security program.

Sound familiar? You may have been one of the many that have downloaded an anti-spyware or anti-virus program, only to find out later that you have been duped. As malware writers inundate the web with rogue programs, this kind of trickery is becoming more and more common.

Today, there are many genuine anti-spyware and anti-virus programs to choose from, but users must be cautious to avoid the 'rogue' programs that exploit and prey on the insecurities and lack of education among computer users.

Rogue security software comes in different varieties. Some products defined as "rogue" simply fail to provide the reliable protection that a consumer paid for. Others are far more sinister, masquerading as legitimate security software, and using deceptive tactics to con users into buying their products. The application may mimic trusted products like Ad-Aware, scare the user with false scan results, or even infect the user's computer with spyware and adware.

How can you keep from downloading bogus security software?

  • Install Ad-Aware Security Toolbar. By checking in real-time URL against a constantly updated list of suspected malware and phishing sites, Ad-Aware Toolbar lets you explore the web safely. You can be sure that browsing the web has never been safer.
  • Do not fall for scare tactics. Never pay for a program that installed itself to your computer. This is a hallmark of rogue software.
  • Access experts at the Lavasoft Support Forum or other security forums and ask about the software you are considering.
  • Read the software reviews at reputable sites like Download.com.
  • Ask knowledgeable friends and family members about quality software they use.
  • Do not blindly trust individual sites offering anti-spyware. Refer to reputable lists of trustworthy anti-spyware programs, like the one on SpywareWarrior.com.
  • Practice online skepticism. Be aware that rogue security software does exist on the web, and be vigilant about avoiding it.

As cyber scammers make money from unsuspecting PC users, they continue to sell their bogus applications. There has been a sharp rise in the number of malware infections caused by rogue security software. Industry experts have reported a five-fold year-on-year increase in the use of these programs. With that in mind, be diligent about relying on products with proven track records and reliability.