THE PAST MONTH has seen major developments in fake antivirus software for Mac OS X, but an alert from security firm Sophos shows that criminals haven't forgotten about trying to make things trickier for Windows users.
The security firm came across a scam where criminals detect a user-agent string from a web browser, displaying a fake Firefox security alert after detecting that a user is browsing with Mozilla Firefox.
On this alert there's a place where you can click 'start protection', which will download a fake anti-virus program that you can register for around $80. Experienced Firefox users will already have realised it's a scam, since the browser doesn't actually have a virus scanner.
Sophos security consultant Graham Cluley said, "We've seen fake alerts from Firefox before, but in this case [the criminals] seem to have embedded the fake anti-virus into the Firefox alert."
"It's quite sophisticated from that point of view in tricking you into believing it's a genuine Firefox security alert, but of course Firefox isn't in the habit of scanning your hard drive."
Cluley made a guess that those responsible for the scareware were experimenting with different tricks, first targeting Mac users and now Firefox users.
Is there a solution for this problem that seems to be getting worse? "I think it's about raising awareness," said Cluley. "Just as people now are very suspicious of scam emails, I think it's the same with fake anti-virus."
"As more people get exposed to these sorts of attacks, they are going to become more canny and realise what real anti-virus alerts look like." µ
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