Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Analytics

6/13/2007
12:00 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Pop-Ups Fake Security Alerts

Pop-ups try to fake users into downloading 'security software,' Trend Micro says

Next time you get a pop-up that alerts you to security troubles on your machine, beware.

There's been a surge in rogue anti-spyware applications, according to researchers at Trend Micro. The volume of these threats has jumped 500 percent -- from 2 to 10 percent of all infections Trend Micro has detected via its free HouseCall scanning service. The researchers say 10 percent of all new computers get infected by these rogue programs within the first 24 hours.

The latest attacks -- mainly aimed at less technically savvy home users -- use fraudulent security software as a lure, says George Moore, threat researcher for Trend Micro. It's a combination of social engineering and crafty pop-ups posing as Windows alerts. "Pushing fraudulent security applications is becoming increasingly popular."

Attackers can make anywhere from $30 to $80 a victim by selling them phony security tools, he says. "It looks, feels, and acts like legitimate software."

So far, it's mostly a money-making scheme, rather than a spam or bot-herding exercise. But the bad guys end up with your credit card information, so it's actually more dangerous. "They use several ways to get onto the machine -- through silent installs on emails, Google ads, IM, hacked MySpace pages, and fake video codecs that install the rogue application," he says.

The attackers are using hacked Web servers -- including some college sites -- to distribute their code, and they employ "bleeding-edge" Windows exploits as well, Moore adds. "I've seen some Websites where [rogue code] was elaborately written so it looks like a program on your local machine is saying your machine is infected." All it takes is for the user to click on a button to "clean" up the machine, and it becomes infected.

Moore says there are multiple gangs behind the rogue anti-spyware. One recent case came to a head with a class action lawsuit against WinFixer, which allegedly created dozens of these applications. The best defense is to be sure you have a legitimate security app running on your machine -- most of these tools can detect these so-called freeloader or parasite programs.

— Kelly Jackson Higgins, Senior Editor, Dark Reading

  • Trend Micro Inc. Kelly Jackson Higgins is Executive Editor at DarkReading.com. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

    Comment  | 
    Print  | 
    More Insights
  • Comments
    Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
    97% of Americans Can't Ace a Basic Security Test
    Steve Zurier, Contributing Writer,  5/20/2019
    How Security Vendors Can Address the Cybersecurity Talent Shortage
    Rob Rashotte, VP of Global Training and Technical Field Enablement at Fortinet,  5/24/2019
    TeamViewer Admits Breach from 2016
    Dark Reading Staff 5/20/2019
    Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
    White Papers
    Video
    Cartoon Contest
    Current Issue
    Building and Managing an IT Security Operations Program
    As cyber threats grow, many organizations are building security operations centers (SOCs) to improve their defenses. In this Tech Digest you will learn tips on how to get the most out of a SOC in your organization - and what to do if you can't afford to build one.
    Flash Poll
    Twitter Feed
    Dark Reading - Bug Report
    Bug Report
    Enterprise Vulnerabilities
    From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
    CVE-2019-7068
    PUBLISHED: 2019-05-24
    Adobe Acrobat and Reader versions 2019.010.20069 and earlier, 2019.010.20069 and earlier, 2017.011.30113 and earlier version, and 2015.006.30464 and earlier have an use after free vulnerability. Successful exploitation could lead to arbitrary code execution .
    CVE-2019-7069
    PUBLISHED: 2019-05-24
    Adobe Acrobat and Reader versions 2019.010.20069 and earlier, 2019.010.20069 and earlier, 2017.011.30113 and earlier version, and 2015.006.30464 and earlier have a type confusion vulnerability. Successful exploitation could lead to arbitrary code execution .
    CVE-2019-7070
    PUBLISHED: 2019-05-24
    Adobe Acrobat and Reader versions 2019.010.20069 and earlier, 2019.010.20069 and earlier, 2017.011.30113 and earlier version, and 2015.006.30464 and earlier have an use after free vulnerability. Successful exploitation could lead to arbitrary code execution .
    CVE-2019-7071
    PUBLISHED: 2019-05-24
    Adobe Acrobat and Reader versions 2019.010.20069 and earlier, 2019.010.20069 and earlier, 2017.011.30113 and earlier version, and 2015.006.30464 and earlier have an out-of-bounds read vulnerability. Successful exploitation could lead to information disclosure.
    CVE-2019-7072
    PUBLISHED: 2019-05-24
    Adobe Acrobat and Reader versions 2019.010.20069 and earlier, 2019.010.20069 and earlier, 2017.011.30113 and earlier version, and 2015.006.30464 and earlier have an use after free vulnerability. Successful exploitation could lead to arbitrary code execution .