Consumer Watch: Warning about an anti-virus software scam

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by Andy Treinen

WHAS11.com

Posted on October 19, 2012 at 4:39 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 19 at 4:40 PM

(WHAS11) -- Anti-virus software is one of the easiest ways consumers can protect their computers. But that protection has become a target for scammers and a consumer's best intentions can end up being pretty costly. 

One of the simplest steps to protect a computer, and the personal information stored there, is installing anti-virus software, and updating it on a regular basis. With that in mind, internet security experts have noticed a fast-growing trend, scammers trying to snare well-intentioned consumers with fake anti-virus warnings and Malware.

”Nowadays it's gotten a lot worse because cyber-criminals can make a lot of money off of this so they've developed elaborate graphical user-interfaces to mimic things,” said Derek Manky, a fortinet senior security expert.
 
Manky says the "scareware" can silently install itself on a computer and try to hijack existing anti-virus software.

Red flags that a virus warning may not be legitimate can include redirecting a user to a website, and asking for a credit card number to fix the so-called problem. In the event of a scam, take the computer offline, reinstall existing anti-virus software and complete a new scan of the device.
 
To avoid getting tripped up by such a  scam in the first place, have safe web browsing in place, as well as web filtering security software and anti-virus protection to block malicious websites.
 
If you have a consumer issue you’d like us to look into send an e-mail to consumerwatch@whas11.com.
 

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