The Fall of Fake Antivirus

Fake antivirus software is still one of the more common types of malware, although that began to change in 2011. This malware pretends to find dangerous security threats such as viruses on your computer. The initial scan is free, but if you want to clean up the fraudulently-reported threats, you need to pay. The fake antivirus warnings scare the victim into purchasing the junk software that will supposedly fix the problem.

Interestingly, six months ago fake antivirus software was everywhere. It was by far the most visible threat on PCs and was moving into the Mac arena. Since then, we’ve seen a sharp decline in fake antivirus creation by cybercriminals.

Although it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of the decline, international law enforcement cooperation is having an effect. In June of 2011, the FBI busted a cybergang that tricked nearly a million people into buying its fraudulent software. The fake antivirus software ranged from $49.95 to $129 apiece, and the scam netted more than $72 million.

Despite the recent fall-off, fake antivirus is still a big problem, responsible for 5 .5% of infections in the last six months of 2011.

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