Be afraid, I am your Anti-Virus

Virus and Antivirus

Wherever you can earn money legally, there is a high opportunity of having loopholes which allow illegal operations taking place and generating and even higher amount of income – not taking the risks into account. Of course, I am talking about cybercrimes. While some weeks ago, I was working on an article about ransomware, I would like to discuss scareware today.

What is scareware? And why does it scare you? Why is it important per se? Well, we currently face an increased use of scareware (according to the Department of Homeland Security) which is intensified based on the fact that both systems, Windows and MAC platforms, are vulnerable to this kind of malware. I did not come across any report stating a vulnerability for any Linux distribution though. Scareware works similar to ransomware even though it relies much more on deceptions and less on direct pressure. One of the current scareware programs is activated if you click on one of two videos circulating as Facebook worm through the social network. If you click on them, a faked security threat warning will be shown. If you proceed, this fake security warning installs a fake anti-virus software. From that point on, the options of the controller of this program are unlimited. It will be displayed in your taskbar as a valid anti-virus software but will then forger virus findings in order to make you download and install (of course with administrator rights) even more malware, instead of the promised panacea. Communications can be retrieved, keyloggers installed, every malware you can imagine will be dumped on your computer. That is how it works.

Unfortunately, it will work on a lot of people. The paradox logic here is that a semi-knowledge of Internet security will most probably lead to an infection. People who are tech-savvy and security aware will neither click a porn video circulating on Facebook. People who are not security aware at all might click that link but will then not proceed installing a fake anti-virus because they do not care about security at all. They might just shutdown the browser, or the computer, and not care about it anymore. The problem arises only if you click the link and then think that you are smart because you heard a lot about cybercrimes and faked links and in order to not surrender your data to this kind of malware, you are happy to install this new anti-virus software. And everything goes down the drain…. . No anti-virus / malware in the world can help you if you cannot help yourself. The problem here is that even for people who are aware of security risks might become a victim of malware for example because of Drive-by-Infections even from considerably reliable websites.

As I am currently working on the strategy part of my dissertation, I came into contact with the concept of paradoxical logic. If you are interested, you might want to have a look at the French Marginot Doctrine and it use in the Second World War.

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