Rogue security software is a form of internet fraud that tricks you into paying money for fake removal of malware. The software reports a number of infections and lures you into paying for a service or additional software to remove or fix these problems.
In most instances these infections do not exist but the software will disable methods of its removal and leave you open to further infections.
How did it get onto my computer?
The software relies on tricking you into believing you are infected and persuading you to install the software, this could be from an official looking window claiming viruses/malware have been found on your machine and encouraging you to click to remove them.
- You can accidentally install them yourself believing them to be legitimate tools
- They can be installed via browser plug-ins or extensions (typically toolbars)
- An image, screensaver or file attached to email
- Multimedia codecs required to play certain video clips
- Software shared on peer-to-peer networks.
Some rogue anti virus software can be installed onto your computer without any interaction from you, these exploit security vulnerabilities in web browsers, pdf viewers or email clients to do this.
How do I protect myself?
Make sure your computer software is up to date, this means your operating system and any other software that you use. Do you have up to date antivirus and antispyware software installed on your machine and run regular scans? Install a firewall and keep it turned on and always use caution when you click on links in emails or on social networking sites.