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Rogue security software

(also rogueware, scareware)

Rogue security software definition

Rogue security software is harmful software that tricks users into thinking their computer has viruses or malware. It uses deceptive tactics to make users believe in a non-existent threat and force them to act. Once users fall for the trick, the fake software offers to remove the supposed threats if they pay a fee. However, the software actually installs more malware on the victim’s computer instead of providing essential security services.

These fake antivirus programs often look like genuine antivirus software, with convincing interfaces, logos, and even phony scan results. They use scare tactics, like showing alarming pop-up messages, fake security alerts, and warnings about system issues or data loss. These tactics aim to make users anxious and desperate, increasing the chances of falling for the scam and making a payment for fixing the fabricated security problems.

The main goal of fake antivirus software is to make money for the attackers. The perpetrators can make illegal profits by deceiving unsuspecting users into buying their bogus antivirus solutions or services. Also, installing additional malware on the victim’s computer creates opportunities for further malicious activities, such as stealing sensitive information, committing identity theft, or using the compromised system for distributing spam or launching other cyber-attacks.

See also: anti-malware, scareware

Protecting against rogue security software

  • Don’t open unexpected attachments.
  • Think before clicking on links in emails, instant messages (IM), or social networking sites.
  • Be cautious when using search engines, and type the URL directly into the address bar.
  • Use a reputable security solution to protect your computer from fake antivirus programs and malware.
  • Keep your computer up to date by installing security updates promptly.
  • Only download software from trusted sources.
  • Regularly back up your data to prevent data loss if your computer gets infected with a fake antivirus program.