|Posted on March 4, 2013 at 2:25 PM|
During the past several months, I've encountered a large number of computers that have been infected with a particularly unpleasant type of computer virus. This kind of infection is called a 'rogue anti-virus'. It takes on many forms, and you may have already seen something like this show up on your computer. I'm sending this message to let you know what to look out for and what to do in the event that your computer succumbs to one of these things.
These rogue anti-viruses are disguised to look like legitimate security products, sometimes even copying the look of the Windows Security Center. They go by many names, such as 'Antivirus 2013' (or 2012 or 2011 etc...), 'Vista Antivirus', 'MS Removal Tool' and so on. A variation of this displays a message claiming to be from the FBI, and does not let you use your computer at all until it is dealt with.
A rogue anti-virus displays one or more windows on your computer. It pretends to scan your system, and it claims to find an alarming number of serious infections. It may stop all your programs from running, claiming each one is a virus and wants to steal your information. These insidious computer infections then offer to fix all the errors they claim to have found, if only you will provide your credit card number (big red flag right there!).
For now, rogue anti-viruses don't seem to be programmed to mess up your computer or steal your personal files. They want your credit card number, and if you give it to them, they simply take your money without actually fixing anything. You cannot use your computer until the infection has been removed, but once it is removed, you can continue using your computer as before.
Here are some signs to look out for if you think you may be a victim of this type of thing:
- What looks like a security program claims to have found an unusually large number of serious infections
- Many large bolded words with lots of exclamation points and threatening wording
- The wording of the text on the program uses poor grammar and seems unprofessional
- You don't recognize the name of the so-called security program (such as it doesn't match your known anti-virus program like Avira Antivir, Microsoft Security Essentials, etc...)
- You've never seen this kind of behavior from your computer before
- You are completely blocked from running programs you are familiar with and have used many times before
If you see something like this show up on your machine, follow these steps for best results:
- DO NOT under any circumstances give them your credit card number
- TURN OFF THE COMPUTER IMMEDIATELY
- Contact me at 719-623-5196 to set up an appointment to get it repaired (the sooner, the better)
- Relax and do not worry about losing your precious photos and documents (to date, no one I have assisted who has had one of these on their computer has lost any personal data)
These rogue antivirus infections can be dealt with, and they can be repaired. If you see any of the above warning signs, do no panic, contact me and we can get your computer fixed!