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PandaLabs - Rogueware Scam Yields $34 Million Every Month for Hackers

According to Sean Paul and Luis Corrons two security researchers at PandaLabs, who have recently compiled a study paper titled "The Business of Rogueware," cyber criminals are reaping almost $34 Million every month by selling bogus AV (antivirus) software also called scareware or rogueware to unwary computer users, as reported by MXLogic in the end week of July 2009.

Panda has computed that rogueware infects 35 Million computers every month. The security company in its research reveals that 200 separate groups of rogueware already exist, while additional new variants are emerging constantly. Internet crooks have been developing new varieties of scareware so that they may escape detection by authentic antivirus software, PandaLabs stated.

Elucidating how rogueware works, specialists at PandaLabs say that it produces phony pop-up alerts and projects messages inside the web browser's task bar. The software deceptively scans the computer for malware and within few seconds produces outcomes that indicate to the existence of various malicious programs. Furthermore, it modifies the operating system so that the rogueware is not removed, disallowing the user to regain his desktop and screensaver until he abides by the alerts' instructions and purchases the scareware.

Actually, the researchers' study discovers that during Q2-2009, there was a fourfold increase in new malware strains over that of the entire 2008.

Commenting on the widespread prevalence of scareware, Corrons, Technical Director of PandaLabs, said that rogueware's popularity amidst cyber criminals was chiefly because they didn't need to steal sensitive information such as account numbers and passwords from users to gain monetary benefits, as reported by TheRegister on August 7, 2009.

Cyber criminals, by exploiting Internet surfers' fear for malware attacks, victimize purchasers of their bogus AV products, and constantly find new methods to seize victims, particularly through social-networking websites such as Twitter and Facebook that have become very popular, Corrons added.

For instance, recently a spam mail was spotted that offered a Harry Potter movie for free but when surfers accessed the site, a warning appeared that malware had infected their systems. The warning further suggested that they should purchase an AV program that was actually a fake.

Related article: PandaLabs Report Discusses Movie Trojan and Other Worms

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