Hacker tactic help scare security programs sell
The Symantec IT Security Company has recently released the findings of its Rogue Security Software Report. Conducted during a twelve-month period (from July 2008 to June 2009, to be exact), it reveals that hackers have been using diabolical Internet scare tactics to persuade PC users to buy their questionable security software. Akin to the classic protection scam conducted by the mafia of yore, these cyber criminals are essentially collecting protection money from users who don't want to suffer the consequences of a malware infection.
The study claims that about 93% of all users have intentionally put these rogue programs into their computers. More to the point, the majority of the people who purchased and installed these questionable products voluntarily did so by themselves. Since June of 2009, Symantec has identified more than two hundred fifty unique rogue security software programs.
Hackers selling scare programs
"Consumers" of these suspicious wares typically lose about thirty to a hundred dollars per purchase. However, the potential loss they could suffer in terms of identity theft and compromised online financial accounts is significantly greater, if not altogether immeasurable. These rogue security applications won't only swindle the user out of his hard-earned money; the software can also steal their credit card data and personal information as well.
To be more precise, the above credentials will undoubtedly be sold to the black market or used for additional cons, so it's a no-win situation for the victim no matter how one looks at the situation. That's not the worst of it either; there are even some fake programs that install malicious code into PCs for further damage. It's the ultimate demonstration of hacker cruelty and irony: The software that a person purchased in order to protect himself from malware turns out to be malware. The frightening part about this situation is how genuine-looking most of these illegitimate programs appear.
There are many ways for hackers to deceive their victims into installing their fake security software. They can use fear tactics and other social engineering methods to compel users to download these malware-disguised-as-anti-malware programs. They can also employ a more subtle approach and advertise their dubious products in adult sites, social networking sites, forums, and blogs. Then there are instances when they seed the results of search engine indexes to include a link to their faux cyber security applications.