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Fake antivirus

Fake antivirus

(also rogue antivirus, scareware)

Fake antivirus definition

A fake antivirus is malicious software that masquerades as a genuine antivirus application, seeking to deceive users into downloading it. After installation, the counterfeit antivirus typically produces fabricated warnings and scanning outcomes, persuading users that their devices are riddled with various hazards. These deceptive applications frequently demand payment to eliminate the fictitious issues, thereby defrauding users of their money and possibly jeopardizing their confidential information.

See also: cryptolocker ransomware, anti-malware, anti-phishing service

Fake antivirus examples

  • System Defender: A fake antivirus that falsely claims to detect various security issues and offers to fix them after users pay for a full version.
  • Internet Security Guard: A rogue antivirus program that delivers fake security warnings and scare tactics to push users into purchasing a useless license.

Comparing fake antivirus to legitimate antivirus software

Fake antivirus:

  • Displays fake alerts and scan results to create a sense of urgency.
  • Requests payment to remove false threats.
  • May compromise user data or expose it to other threats.

Legitimate antivirus software:

  • Provides real-time threat detection and removal.
  • Offers updates and ongoing support from trusted developers.
  • Aids in protecting user data and maintaining device security.

Tips for avoiding fake antivirus programs

  • Research and choose antivirus software from well-established developers.
  • Be cautious of unsolicited pop-up ads or emails offering antivirus protection.

Further reading

Ultimate digital security