Handling Malware that Purports to be Antivirus Software

Your computer is often where you store your passwords, as well as sensitive business and financial information. Keeping it secure from malware is vital.

The ultimate Trojan Horse, malware that feigns to be antivirus software, is possibly the most insidious form around as it garners your trust. The latest program that threatens to put your data at risk is doing just that. On the surface, it appears to be trustworthy security software, so by being aware and vigilant to the risk you can stay ahead of the game.

The Common Cold

It happens to most, and it’s likely happened to you. You’re surfing the web or replying to email when suddenly you receive a pop up that your computer has a virus. Unfortunately, some users still fall prey to this ploy, and fearing the urgency of the issue, will proceed to do whatever the pop up prompts them to (such as running a virus scan) in order to eradicate the problem. It’s important to remember that the Internet is flooded with these erroneous calls to action. Nothing is so urgent that you can’t take some time to perform some light research about whether the message comes from a reliable antivirus or security program.

Read More: How to Scan Your Android Device for Viruses

Overconfidence Can Lead You Astray

For those who are a little more tech savvy, you’ve grown accustomed to those fairly obvious, prolific, low quality threats. You find them easy to detect and, as such, deem yourself impervious to the hackneyed ruse. To you, the pop ups are something of a pestering fly you have to swat away every now and again. This kind of overconfidence can lead you to overlook the more advanced malware. There is a variant, for instance, called ”Windows Advanced Security Center.” It does a pretty good job of distinguishing itself from those pesky pop-ups as a real Windows XP program. No matter how seasoned you are, it’s easy to get duped by a version that appears so legit, especially in contrast to those you’ve more readily labeled as false.

After following through on its prompt, it leads you to scan for viruses. Once you go to check on what the scan has found, the virus seizes your computer, disabling you from further use. With an actual virus in play, some malware programs will ask for immediate payments from the user to rectify the problem. Other programs essentially hold your machine for ransom, in a sense, by rendering it useless to you until you make the payment they demand.

Best Practice

Whatever you do, whether you’re at the early stages of the warning or beyond, don’t give in to the prompts and demands. Handing over your financial information will only escalate the problem beyond your machine. Always opt to seek the trusted opinion and help of professionals. Whether you’re just seeking advice in the early stages of a warning to gage the validity, or you’ve already acquiesced and now need serious technical assistance, err on the side of caution.