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 PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags rogue softwareLive PC Careantivirus

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

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 News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?