Rise of the fake security applications

Fake antivirus or antispyware is becoming a popular way for scammers to make some extra cash. 

It's actually quite a simple scam to pull off.

  • Create a fake program.  This is pretty easy because you just need to work on the interface because the program doesn't actually have to do anything complicated like remove viruses or spyware applications
  • Fix the program so it finds something "suspicious" on every PC it is run on (or exaggerate the threat posed by thinks like cookies)
  • Offer the scanning program for free (making it seem like an enormous bargain compared to something like Norton Antivirus)
  • People run the scanner, become scared and think that they PC is going to die
  • Offer a removal tool at a knock-down price (again, this doesn't really have to do anything other than look convincing)
  • Wait for the cash to start rolling in!

Now if you're a scammer it helps if you spread your free scanner far and wide, using security vulnerabilities and Trojans to get it on as many PCs as possible, thus maximizing revenues.

This exact trick is happening a lot nowadays and there are two fake security programs in particular that are causing PC users a lot of heartache.  There are called SpywareQuake and VirusBurst.  There are programs that claim to be antispyware applications but are instead nothing more than a scam.  They have no positive benefits whatsoever and if you have them installed, you want them removed.  You also want to scan your PC and make sure that you get rid of any other nasties that your PC might have picked up.

On my PC Doctor blog I've written up some comprehensive removal guides for both Spyware Quake and VirusBurst which are guaranteed to get rid of these nasties for you (as long as you follow the instructions carefully). 

Alternatively, if you want an automatic way to remove VirusBurst or Spyware Quake, get a copy of Spyware Doctor (trial here).  SPECIAL OFFER!!!  For a 10% discount (limited to first 1,000 customers - going fast!) enter coupon code PCD-0WRG.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
Last updated: Oct 4th 2006
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