FBI: Rogue Antivirus Scammers Have Made $150M

They’re the scourge of the Internet right now and the U.S. Federal Bureau of investigation says they’ve also raked in more than $150 million for scammers. Security experts call them rogue antivirus programs.

The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (ICC) issued a warning over fake antivirus software, saying that Web surfers should be wary of sudden pop-up windows that report security problems on their computers.

This software can appear almost anywhere on the Web. Typically, the scam starts with an aggressive pop-up ad that looks like some sort of virus scan. Of course, the scan turns up problems, and the pop-up says the only way to get rid of them is to pay with a credit card.

This is always a bad idea. At best, the software is subpar. At worst, it could result in viruses, Trojans and/or keyloggers being installed on the computer. Identity thieves often use keyloggers to gain access to credit
card numbers, bank account information, and computer users’ social security numbers.

The tactics of the scareware have caused significant losses to users. The FBI is aware of an estimated loss to victims in excess of $150 million.

The IC3 says that users who see these unexpected antivirus pop-up warnings should shut down their browsers or their computers immediately and then run an antivirus scan to see what’s going on.