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Updated: November 20, 2009 11:38 IST

Symantec warns of rogue security software

Special Correspondent
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RISK OF ATTACK: Shantanu Ghosh, Vice-President, India Product Operations, Symantec Software India, at a press conference in Chennai on Thursday. Photo: Bijoy Ghosh
RISK OF ATTACK: Shantanu Ghosh, Vice-President, India Product Operations, Symantec Software India, at a press conference in Chennai on Thursday. Photo: Bijoy Ghosh

Company study detects more than 250 such programmes.

Symantec Corp. has stated that cyber criminals are employing increasingly persuasive online scare tactics to convince users to purchase rogue security software. Rogue security software or ‘scareware’ is a software that pretends to be legitimate security software. These applications provide little or no value and may even install malicious code or reduce the overall security of the computer, according to Shantanu Ghosh, Vice-President, India product Operations, Symantec.

Launching the report here on Thursday, Mr. Ghosh said rogue security software was detected in a recent study conducted by Symantec based on data obtained during the 12-month period July-June 2008-09.

The study stated that with the rapid growth of Internet infrastructure and increasing broadband population the presence of “Scareware” was an impending concern that would critically affect consumers and enterprises alike.

According to the study, 93 per cent of the software installations for the top 50 rogue security software scams were intentionally downloaded by the user. As of June 2009, Symantec had detected more than 250 distinct rogue security software programmes.

The initial monetary loss to consumers who download these rogue products ranges from $30 to $100. However, the costs associated to regain one’s identity could be far greater.

Not only could these rogue security programmes cheat the user, but the personal details and credit card information provided during the purchase could be used in additional fraud or sold on black market forums.

The report said that rogue security software would be advertised through web sites such as blogs, forums, social networking sites and adult sites.

Of the top 50 reported rogue security applications observed in the 12 months under reference, 61 per cent of the scams observed by Symantec were attempted on users in North America, 31 per cent occurred in the Europe, Middle East, and African region, 6 per cent in the Asia-Pacific/Japan region and 2 per cent in the Latin American region.


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