Rogue antivirus program comes with tech support

Online support is designed to convince victims that the product is legit

In an effort to boost sales, sellers of a fake antivirus product known as Live PC Care are offering their victims live technical support.

According to researchers at Symantec, once users have installed the program, they see a screen, falsely informing them that their PC is infected with several types of malware. That's typical of this type of program. What's unusual, however, is the fact that the free trial version of Live PC Care includes a big yellow "online support" button.

Clicking on the button connects the victim with an agent, who will answer questions about the product via instant message.

Symantec says the agent is no automated script, but in fact a live person. This lends an "air of legitimacy" to the program, said Marc Fossi, a manager of development with Symantec Security Response. "Obviously if they've got live tech support, it must be real," he joked.

The tech support doesn't help much, though. According to Symantec, the support staff simply try to convince victims to shell out between US$30 and $100 for the product.

This isn't the first time a fake security product has been spotted offering tech support. Another company called Innovative Marketing operated a call center to support its security products, including a program called WinFixer. According to security experts, Innovative Marketing's tech support technicians acted in the same way as Live PC Care's, trying to reassure victims that they were buying a legitimate product.

These so-called rogue antivirus products can sometimes lower security settings on a victim's computer. At best, they offer a false sense of security because the products never protect computers from the latest security threats.

Rogue antivirus has been a major headache for users over the past year. It is often installed via annoying pop-up ads that try to convince the victim that something is wrong with their PC. Symantec tracked 43 million rogue AV installation attempts between July 2008 and July 2009.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags rogue softwareLive PC Careantivirus

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert McMillan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?