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Preventing Rogue Antivirus Programs

Rogue antivirus programs are malware that pretend to be antivirus programs. They are currently one of the major threats confronting my clients. They appear in searches and catch people who are worried about viruses or simply trying to renew their current antivirus program. Often they penetrate legitimate sites and popup fake virus warnings even if you don't click on anything. They may install if you click their Cancel Button, or even the X to close the window.

The following tips should help you to avoid them:

  • Do NOT click on any popup that advertises antivirus or antispyware software. Fake antivirus programs often mimic well-known brands. If you renew a program be careful you are going to the correct place.
  • Although fake security software may closely resemble the real thing, it's rarely an exact match. Look for suspicious discrepancies. Be paranoid. They are out to get you!
  • Seek expert advise when choosing antivirus or anti-malware programs. Do not accept the advice of unknown "review" sites.
  • If a virus alert appears on your screen, and you cannot verify that it comes from your own antivirus program, do NOT click on it with your mouse to attempt to close or cancel it. Instead, on your keyboard press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open task manager. Select the browser (e.g. FireFox, etc.) that just displayed the alert and click End Task. This will safely close the browser.

Date: September 2010

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