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US Citizens Become Victims of Fake Antivirus

The Federal Bureau of Investigation warning about pop-up security alerts appears ineffective in moving people to take precautions. Nonetheless, their harm and severity could be understood from the stories narrated by victims such as Sandra and Karen.

Karen, an American national, discovered a pop-up alert, which penetrated her computer's security software such as antivirus and pop-up blocker. She pressed 'OK' on the message which told that there were 21 viruses on her computer, but she eventually found her system non-functional.

Narrating her story, Karen said that when her computer was compromised, a "PC Security Tool" loaded on it and she couldn't remove the malicious security tool, as reported by Mcall on January 5, 2010. Karen added that the unwanted program could be removed only through a hard drive reformat and software re-installation, or through a payment of $49.95 to acquire the program that was of no use to her. She, however, paid in the end so that she could retrieve her PC.

Karen isn't the only victim of these attacks. Another US citizen 'Sandra' too was similarly victimized. According to her, on clicking the pop-up, a program attaches to the user computer, which resembles to security product such as McAfee, AVG or Norton solution. However, upon realizing the program isn't any of these, all attempts to uninstall it are nearly unfeasible, she explains, as reported by Consumeraffairs during the end-week of December 2009.

Commenting on the strange antivirus pop-ups, security researchers said that while they were indeed disturbing, still users could avoid them in different ways. First, the pop-ups shouldn't be clicked. Second, when they emerge, the browser should be closed or the computer shut down, with a complete AV scan run after the computer is restarted.

It is because of instances like these that the FBI keeps reminding consumers to do certain research about the software presented online. Cyber criminals habitually label such fake software with familiar names or link it with known products.

Meanwhile, anyone encountering such pop-ups may urgently inform the Internet Crime Complaint Center through a formal complain filed on www.ic3.gov.

Related article: US Passes Baton to Asia in Spam Relay

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