Rogue Virus Testers Tricking Computer Users

If you haven’t yet encountered a rogue antivirus (“scareware“) program, it’s probably because your existing antivirus software protected you from it. These programs prey on consumers who know they need protection but don’t know enough to distinguish the real thing from a scam. If you take the bait you’ve got fake protection instead of real protection, and the bad guys have your credit card.

The videos on this site explained how you can avoid rogue antivirus tools. A post on by Kaspersky Lab researcher Costin Raiu suggests that rogue antivirus testers pose a new but similar type of threat. Their web sites promote the idea that no security software can really protect you, says Raiu. Where scareware promotes a false sense of security, these rogue testers promote a false sense of insecurity. Each computer user who declines renewing an antivirus subscription is a win for the rogue testers.

Raiu lists a number of characteristics of these rogue testers. They lack affiliation with any legitimate testing organization such as the AMTSO (Anti-Malware Testing Standards Organization). They publish limited free reports but charge a high price for full reports. Charts in the free reports may contain “amusing mistakes”. The reports conclude that all antivirus products are useless. And the price to get full information about testing methodology is deliberately set so high that nobody will pay it.

I have not personally encountered sites fully matching this description, but I’ve definitely seen “shill” sites that use fancy charts and false data to promote rogue antivirus products. One rogue actually manipulates the victim’s Internet connection so that a search for info about the product lands on a fake (and very positive) review. In fact it’s a copy of one of my own reviews, attributed to me, with the product name changed. I’ve also run across test sites whose badly-written text is reminiscent of the previous generation of scareware. I don’t doubt that full-scale rogue virus tester sites exist.

How do you avoid getting fooled? Kaspersky’s Raiu says “I recommend sticking to established testing organizations such as Virus Bulletin, and AV-Comparatives or reputable companies with a good history behind them”.

Webster Consulting could not agree more. You can start your search right here at .

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