You’re browsing the internet one moment, then suddenly a menacing warning pops up telling that your computer is infected with a virus. Sometimes, however, the warning is completely fake.
An example of one of the more notorious scams out there was seen again today by licardssystemss.info. This is obviously just a throw-away site, created only in the past 24 hours by scammers trying to scare you into giving them money.
Though the website itself is new, the fake anti-virus scam is not. What typically happens is a user may be visiting a known, benign website, when a window that pops up, saying their system has been infected and a scan will be run. A flash animation of a fake virus scan ensues, resulting in fake results telling the user that their system is chock-full of viruses or spyware.
They popup may read something like this:
Windows Antivirus 2012 has found critical process activity on your PC and will perform fast scan of system files!
Next is an animation of a system scan. It’s fake of course, but the animation looks convincing to those unaware that such scams exist. Providing further confusion is that these scam warnings often appear when visiting legitimate sites. This is often done by what’s called a “drive-by exploit” which in many cases means a person has manipulated security holes by something as simple as posting code in a comment.
The purpose of all of this is to end with a credit card form so you can pay to have this “virus” removed. Of course there is no virus to remove in the first place, so they’re really just stealing your money.
The best way to be sure that such viruses are fake is to look at the source of the system scan. If it’s occurring within a web browser, it’s fake. If if is from an antivirus application that you don’t use, it’s fake.
Take a look at the animation of the fake system scan below. Notice that it shows a Windows XP interface, yet this computer was running Windows 7. And this system has more than just one drive. They are counting on users not noticing such details in the moment of fright at seeing such warnings.
If still you want to be sure, close your web browsers and run a system scan with your antivirus software.
Have you seen similar fake virus warnings? Let us know your experiences below.
Here is a great write-up from Symantec for a nearly identical fake virus warning.
Filed under: Scams & Deception