Remove Rogue Antivirus


Rogue Antivirus Programs - Remove Antivirus Programs That Engage In Fraudulent Activities

Everyone has heard horror stories, or even experienced first hand, the destruction that viruses can have on your computer system.  Being security-conscious is more important than ever, but, ironically, our need for increased security can actually make us more vulnerable to problem programs.  There are hundreds of rogue antivirus programs online these days, and they usually present themselves in the form of a pop-up as an answer to your computer security needs.  If your first instinct is to click on the OK button, though, check your impulse.  You could actually be doing much more harm than good.

What is a Rogue Antivirus Program?

Rogue or fraudulent antivirus programs are a type of software that sends false warnings of security problems to computer users.  In order to rectify the problem, the users are told that they need to purchase a particular antivirus program.  Once the software is installed, though, a number of problems can ensue, depending on the particular rogue antivirus program. There has been a proliferation of these programs recently because they are so profitable and effective.  The best way to avoid them is to be aware of how they present themselves. 

How Do Fraudulent Antivirus Programs Appear, and How Do They Become Installed?

You may be working or browsing online when you notice a pop-up, which appears as an alert.  It may say, "Warning: Your computer is infected with spyware.  Buy [insert product here]."  Another typical one is:  "System has detected a number of active spyware applications that may impact the performance of your computer. Click the icon to get rid of unwanted spyware by downloading an up-to-date anti-spyware solution."  It is understandable that you click OK to either get more information or to purchase the software to protect your computer system, but this is how rogue antivirus programs become installed on your computer.  Some, however, actually install without user permission, which makes removal and prevention even more vital.

Dangers of Rogue Antivirus Programs

The consequences of installing rogue antivirus programs vary according to the particular program.  Some are considered low risk.  InfoTel, for example, is only known to cause pop-up ads to display.  This is annoying, but it won't destroy your system.  Others, like AntiVirus 2008 and AntiVirus 2008 Pro, exploit existing security  issues, display ads, utilize "drive by installation" procedures, and make fraudulent claims about detecting and  removing antivirus spyware.  These are extremely risky, and they can cause an enormous amount of damage.  Here is a brief overview of the 5 worst rogue antivirus programs you may encounter: XP AntiVirus 2008, AntiVirus 2008, AntiVirus Protector, Vista AntiVirus 2008, and IE AntiVirus. 

XP AntiVirus 2008

The goal of those disseminating XP Antivirus 2008 is to scare consumers into purchasing their software product. Once the product is installed, it scans your system and comes up with a list of "risks" (all fake) that you will need to remove using their particular product.  XP AntiVirus 2008 is most often spread through mass mailings.  It can also be spread when computer users download free codecs, which are actually bundled with other freeware or shareware or through pop-ups.  A typical warning may say, "XP antivirus online scanner detected dangerous spyware on your system.  Detected malicious programs can damage your computer and compromise your privacy.  It is strongly recommended to remove them immediately."  If your computer does have this rogue antivirus program installed, you may notice an increase in pop-ups, slowed performance, and even file and hard drive defects.

AntiVirus 2008

This antivirus program poses a big threat to your system.  It is known to misrepresent the security risks to your computer, use an existing flaw or risk in order to gain access, and it can even install without your permission.  Not only does the program urge you to buy the whole version of the software, it also interferes with your computer's functions.  AntiVirus 2008 runs a background process with repeatedly pops up to urge the user to purchase the "protection" it offers, even if the user has declined.  The warnings appear to be from Windows, and they all show a list of all bad files.   It can't be uninstalled using the Windows Add/Remove tool.  If your computer does have AntiVirus 2008 installed, you will notice an increase in pop-ups and slowing of your computer's functions.

AntiVirus Protector

Like XP AntiVirus 2008, this program uses false security risk alerts to scare computer users into purchasing the rogue program. The warning appears as a dialogue box which lists the number of infections of your computer has (which are false). The window is fairly official looking with "AntiVirus Protection" in the top left corner and buttons for "Start Scanner" and "Remove Virus" at the top. Once you click on their "Remove Infections" button at the end of a scan, you then have the option of removing them with AntiVirus Protector.  Unfortunately, that will require you purchasing the full version of the program, which may or may not actually help any problems that are on your computer.

Vista AntiVirus 2008

Similarl to AntiVirus 2008, this rogue program can slip into your computer's system through a pre-existing security flaw. It is, in fact, a clone of AntiVirus 2008, and manifests itself in various alerts, urging you to buy the antivirus program, as well as in the increased display of pop-up ads.  The warnings typically have a yellow triangle with an exclamation point in the left upper corner and says, "Dangerous files found! Your privacy is at risk!"  You are then urged to buy a special program which will protect your privacy and personal data. It will list a few security risks and give you the option to remove them.  The risks are all fake, and if you click on Remove, you install the rogue antivirus program.  If installed, it will result in more pop-ups and slower functioning of your computer.

IE AntiVirus

This is considered a low risk antivirus program.  Similar to Malware Bell, Files Secure, and IE Defender , it urges users to purchase the rogue antivirus programs in order to fix the (false) security risks. If your system does have IE AntiVirus, you will receive a warning.  This looks exactly like a warning you would receive from Windows: it says "Systems Error!" at the top and features a red circle with a white X on the left side.  It might say, "Some dangerous Trojan horses detected in your system.  Microsoft Windows XP files corrupted. This may lead to destruction of important files in C:/Windows. Download protection software now."  Because it looks so legitimate, many people opt to click OK.  They are then directed to a rogue website and urged to purchase IE AntiVirus protection.  You may notice your homepage has changed, that you have a new toolbar, and there are more pop-ups than before.  These are all signs that you have IE AntiVirus on your computer.

How to Remove Rogue Antivirus Programs

Using the Add/Remove tool doesn't always remove rogue antivirus programs from your system.  Your current antivirus software may also be ineffective at removing rogue antivirus programs because the programs themselves are not classified as viruses per se. You will need a more in-depth approach.  If you choose to remove the programs manually, you will have to find out the files and registry keys associated with the program and then go through your system and delete each one.  You can find these files and registries online at various reputable sites.

Finding and deleting all these files and registries manually, however, can be a difficult job for people who are not professional computer technicians.  You may cause even more damage to your computer.  An option that is far easier is to purchase a reputable anti-spyware program, such as Malwarebytes Anti-Malware (Malwarebytes has free malware removal) or Enigma's SpyHunter, that will eliminate the rogue programs when you install and run it.  Look for a product that can both detect and remove any rogue antivirus programs, being mindfull that emerging threats can sometimes thwart the best anti-spyware programs, until their techos have had a chance to analyse them. This option is vastly preferable to removing the programs manually because there is no risk of damaging your system.

If your computer is plagued by any of these common rogue antivirus programs or any other, take steps immediately to remove it so your computer can run optimally and securely.

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