About Me

My photo

Tech journalist since the dark ages. Windows Secrets, LangaList newsletter, Windows Magazine (NetGuide, Home PC), Byte, Popular Computing, yadda yadda yadda. Google me, if it matters.

This feed is mostly personal interest; it's NOT my professional writing. There's tech here, yes, but also lots of general science and some politics and weird humor thrown in.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Beware bogus 'Security Essentials' downloads!

This begins the lead item in my current weekly Q&A column for Windows Secrets:
Fake anti-malware app mimics Security Essentials

Reader Ron Hancock discovered this bit of online nastiness:

     "In the past you have encouraged people to use Microsoft Security Essentials.
      "I came across this article on the Windows Security Blog, 'Fake Microsoft Security Essentials software on the loose. Don't be fooled by it!'
      "Perhaps it would be useful to highlight this (if it's true, of course)."

Sadly, it is indeed true. But it's not just MSE; there are many bogus security tools offered to the unsuspecting PC user.

You've probably seen them: you're on a Web page and a window pops up with a warning such as "Virus detected!" or "Your PC is insecure!" The pop-up then offers to fix the problem — for a price. The slicker offerings closely mimic the look of real security warnings, making it hard to tell they're fake.

When victims order the bogus software, they unknowingly put their credit-card numbers and personal information into the hands of cybercriminals!

If that weren't bad enough, the fake software that victims then download and install is usually malware, and it can be extremely hard to remove — often requiring legitimate, fee-based repairs.

The rest of that item goes on to discuss what to do when you;'re presented with such a warning, and how to ensure your PC stays clean.

Other topics in my column this week:

  • Finding drivers from defunct hardware vendors
  • 'Can't see an external USB drive' follow-up
  • Restore custom searches to Internet Explorer 8
Here's the rundown of the full issue this week:

Free content posted on Dec. 02, 2010:

aid content:

A portion of your support helps children in developing countries
Each month, we send a full year of sponsorship to a different child. Your contributions in November are helping us to sponsor Carlos, an 9-year-old boy from Mexico. Children International channels development aid from donors to Carlos and his community. We also sponsor kids through Save the Children. More info

Posted via email from Fred's posterous