Recently, I have had a rash of clients with the same problem: a phony anti-virus program taking over their PCs. As a computer technician, I know that these phony programs can do a lot of damage. As a computer user, I also have to be extremely wary of what sites I visit and what I download to prevent system infection.
The truth is, anyone can be fooled.
Fake AV programs can wreak much havoc on your computer. The results range from annoying pop-ups to a complete shutdown of your system. As I always say, the best way to keep your PC safe is to avoid malware in the first place, but that isnít always possible. So what can you do if you are infected with a virus masking itself as a helpful AV program? Letís consider a current annoyance and how to remove it.
Rogue Name: Internet Security, Internet Security 2010, Internet Security 2011
Icons: A tell-tale orange ball may appear in your task bar or on your desktop. It looks similar to a small orange sun or planet.
Symptoms Include: Simply logging onto your computer begins the drama. Urgent pop-up boxes frighten you into thinking that your computer is in serious trouble. It is actually, but the culprit is the program thatís actually offering you the warning.
Like many other powerful rogues and viruses, this bug will forcibly turn off your Windows Defender program, prevent you from using any legitimate AV programs, and eventually prevent you from accessing the internet at all.
NOTE: Donít bother trying to turn Windows Defender back on Ė this program wonít let you.
The rogue will also insist that you purchase a specific program to ďfixĒ or ďcleanĒ your computer, but donít fall for that! Never enter your personal information, such as a credit card number, and donít click any links.
WARNING! Follow these step-by-step instructions only if you are at least an intermediate computer user. Attempting to remove a virus if you donít know what youíre doing can make the situation even worse.
Known locations of infection: Primarily adult websites, some lesser known social networking sites, and a few shopping sites
Although this rogue can be defeated by taking a few simple steps, like any bug, itís better never to contract it at all. Be wary online, even with familiar sites.