No! Microsoft is not offering fake antivirus tools. However, a new warning from Microsoft’s Windows Security Blog tells the frightening story of a new threat that disguises itself as Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE). As many of you know, MSE is Microsoft’s free antivirus suite. I recommend it, and even Fred Langa recommends it.
How Does it Work?
2. Once it runs, you’ll get this bogus warning in your web browser. (images from WindowsTeamBlog)
3. Clicking on Clean computeror Apply actionswill initiate a fake attempt to clean your PC. It will report that it failed and then ask you to Scan Online.
4. After it performs a simulated scan, you’ll be offered this list of Antivirus and Antimalware tools.
5. Clicking on any of the Free Installbuttons starts another install for persistent and more intrusive fake antivirus software.
The final look of this fake antivirus software can take many forms, such as Red Cross Antivirus, Peak Protection 2010, AntiSpy Safeguard, Major Defense Kit or Pest Detector. These apps give you even more false warnings and try to scare you into buying more protection. Applications like these are also known as ScareWare.
What should you do to protect yourself?
What should you do if you are already infected?
The first tool I use on infected computers is MalwareBytes. If that doesn’t do the trick, Keith Dsousa wrote about an application which will Remove Fake Antivirus from Your System. If all else fails and the PC is really trashed, I’ve got an article describing how to Run Antivirus on a PC That Will Not Boot.
If you need good free advice on what to do, there are several malware removal forums that will take you step by step through a recovery process. Bleeping Computer, Major Geeks and especially Temerc Countermeasures are three good ones.