Rogue Antivirus Software: Be Aware!


Rogue antivirus is also called rogueware, and it is a type of computer malware. Malware is short for malicious software, and malware is programming that either denies or disrupts the operations of a computer. Rogue antivirus software misleads or deceives users into paying money for the fraudulent removal of the malware. In recent years, from approximately 2008 onward, rogue antivirus software has gotten to be a worsening and serious menace in desktop computing. While not as deadly or as harassing as other malicious software like Trojan horses, rogue antivirus software can nonetheless present problems.

What Is Rogue Security Software?

Rogue antivirus software mostly depends on social engineering to overcome the security measures that are built into browsers and operating systems and to install itself onto computers. Social engineering in the security world is when programs chicane people into divulging confidential information or performing specific actions. For instance, a website might show visitors a phony warning message that states that somebody’s computer is infected with a virus and then goad them into buying scareware. Scareware is a form of scam software that features malignant payloads that has little or no benefit to users; scareware is marketed and sold to consumers through different marketing practices that are unethical.

Recognizing Rogues

Many forms of rogue antivirus software actually have a Trojan horse component, which should aid users in being able to recognize them. A Trojan horse is a ruinous computer program that instead acts as a benign application. The Trojan horse aspect of rogue antivirus software can be disguised as a plug-in or extension for your Internet browser, commonly in the toolbar. It can just as easily be disguised as a screensaver, an image, or an archived file that is attached to an e-mail message.

Other ways that the Trojan horse component of rogue antivirus software may disguise itself is through a multimedia codec that is needed to play particular video clips, software that is present in peer-to-peer networks, and online malware scanning services that are free. At other times, rogue antivirus software gets onto the computers of users by way of drive-by downloads, which take advantage of security vulnerabilities in Internet browsers, e-mail clients, and even PDF viewers. In this way, rogue antivirus software is surreptitious. It is able to install itself onto users’ computers without the need for manual involvement.

Removing Rogue Software

The good news with respect to rogue antivirus software is that it is normally relatively easy to remove it from your computer. The first step involves actually finding the executable files of this malicious program. Start up your computer’s “process explorer” and look for suspicious names that contain acronyms like “XP” or “AV.” If you locate a process that you think is suspicious, write down its path and then destroy it. Destroy it by deleting the whole folder of the process.

After this, the registry entries still must be dealt with. Main sections where malware usually adds itself are Internet Explorer and also Windows Logon. Search these sections in the registry for any entries that have a connection to the process files in the folder that was previously deleted. Just by following these elementary steps, a user’s computer can be made clean from rogue antivirus software.

Preventing Attacks

Even though removing rogue antivirus software is quite easy, this can be avoided altogether by taking preventative measures. For instance, computer users can install a firewall on their computer and make certain it is turned on at all times. To further ensure that a computer’s software and operating system are up to date, users should always have automatic updating working on their computers. The installation of antispyware and antivirus software can also be integral in preventing future attacks by rogue antivirus software. A few examples of such software include Norton AntiVirus 2015, NOD32 AntiVirus 2015, and Kaspersky AntiVirus 2015, which should also be regularly updated.

If users’ antivirus software does not include antispyware software, users ought to install a distinct antispyware program like Windows Defender and then also make sure it is updated regularly. Other times, preventing attacks from rogue antivirus software merely has to do with being cautious in what is being clicked on. For example, users should be leery of clicking on links in social networking websites or in e-mails. Besides this suggestion, computer users can also educate themselves on the myriad of phishing scams that exist in cyberspace. Finally, users can also help to prevent any future attacks from rogue antivirus software programs by using a standard account instead of an administrator account when logging on to their computers.

Article last updated March 4, 2012.

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