Fake Anti-Virus programs and Ransomware have both been around for a while now. Fake Anti-virus (AKA Rogue Security Software) in particular was very prevalent during 2010, with Ransomware coming to prominence more recently. It appears the cybercrooks are now combining both these threats into a single scourge dubbed ‘Secure Bit’… what some pundits are describing as “an unholy alliance”.
You’ll all be familiar with Fake Anti-Virus scams, or “Scareware”. It will often pop up out of the blue, generally while your are browsing, and inform you that you machine is infected, presenting you with fictitious reports of large numbers of infections. “Would you like us to clean it all up for you?” Yes please. “Okay, we’ll be happy to do that for you but it’s going to cost you $$$$.” It’s all a scam of course, designed purely to get their hands on some of your hard earned.
Now take that a step further; if you do not do as instructed and pay up within a designated period of time, the rogue software then locks down your desktop, prevents you from performing any actions, and informs you that in order to regain control of the machine you need to call a provided phone number. Talking to a “support representative” then reveals that a payment of $49.99 is needed in order to remove the “infected” files and restore control of the computer to the owner… the Ransomware.
According to a report from Tsahi Carmona on the Total Defense blog… removing the threat is actually relatively simple but many users do not recognize it’s a scam and end up paying the ransom.
So please be aware of this particular threat, do not pay any money under any circumstances. If you don’t know how to deal with it yourself, go through your preferred Forum and seek advice… that would no doubt be DavesComputerTips Forum, would it not. 🙂