This week, our support and advanced malware removal (AMR) team did not have a lot of new data to report about rogue security products. The most commonly encountered infection continues to be one of the rogues we reported about last week.
While we may refer to it as XP Total Security, it actually chooses one of a series of names at random, based on the operating system on the victim’s computer. Last week’s post contains a more comprehensive list of these names. As previously reported, you can remove the rogue by scanning (with our product, not theirs) while the computer is in Safe Mode.
Its main executable has a random, three-character filename, and gets installed into a random, three-character folder inside the Application Data folder for the user who is currently logged on at the time of the infection. The rogue’s install location is:
AMR reported seeing another rogue called Antivirus IS. While this is the first time they have mentioned it, Brenden believes it is a bit older, and has been floating around since late last year. Its logo is a blue shield with a single red diagonal stripe; its tagline, “Innovative protection for your PC,” is utter nonsense. Continue reading →
It’s been said that sunlight sanitizes almost everything it shines on. Beginning this week, and every week from now on, we’ll focus a concentrated beam on the rogue antivirus programs our support staff and Threat Research team have been working to remediate.
Rogues have a tendency to switch up their names, user interface, and other outward characteristics, while retaining most of the same internal functionality — and by functionality I mean the fraudulent tricks these forms of malware use to make it difficult for someone to identify them as malicious or remove them from an infected computer. It’s not as though the charlatans behind these scams (or their parents) ever made anything that was actually useful or desirable.
So for our inaugural Rogue of the Week post, we bring you notes on MS Removal Tool and XP Total Security, courtesy of Threat Research Analysts Brenden Vaughan and Stephen Ham. Continue reading →
The other day, Threat Reseacher Dan Para sent along the video clip below, which gave us all a good laugh. Dan had been researching a Korean-language Trojan downloader, but when he ran the file, he didn’t expect the downloader to retrieve not one…not two…but three separate rogue antivirus products.
The most amusing thing about the video is that these three rogues — named Smartscan, Antiguard, and Bootcare — decided to duke it out amongst themselves to be front-and-center on the desktop. But each time one of the apps would bring itself to the front, both of the others would respond in what can only be generously described as a slap fight. The results were, well, you can see for yourself.
In addition to pushing one another out of the top position, each vied with the other to concoct outrageous numbers of detections on what was, ostensibly, a clean testbed system. Antiguard reported 215 items of concern, while Smartscan reported 225 “detections” and Bootcare reported 245. Like their English-only counterparts, these rogues require you to make a purchase to clean up these purported problems.
(Update, July 11, 2011: On May 25, 2011, we were contacted by representatives of Future Ads, LLC, the parent company of both Playsushi and Gamevance. Future Ads informed us that they, too, had been victims of a scam perpetrated by rogue affiliates who seemed to be involved with the malicious campaigns we described in this post. Future Ads claims that it has taken action to prevent this type of abuse from happening in the future.)
By Andrew Brandt
A worm that has been circulating on Facebook in the form of a Facebook application appears to have been engineered to drive traffic to a sleazy online advertising network which tries to connive people into installing software and disclosing a great deal of personal information about themselves in return for the promise of outrageously large gifts or prizes. As I write this, nearly 5 million people have fallen victim to this scam in just the past two days.
Last month, we published a report about a spam campaign designed to lure people into clicking a link to a bogus YouTube video. In that case, when you tried to play the video, your browser was instead redirected into an advertising network called CPALead. A convoluted series of steps eventually led victims to a page where they were prompted to fill out surveys (with outrageous promises for high-value gift cards or other valuable prizes) or download and install software from a Web site named Gamevance, which publishes online games and promises players cash prizes for high scores.
In this case, the campaign uses a clearly deceptive Facebook app — actually, dozens of duplicate apps with slightly different names — that (when you click the Accept button in Facebook) spams a shortlink to all of the victim’s contacts through Facebook’s chat mechanism. The spam messages all imply that the link leads to some sort of modified photo of the message recipient, but lead into a feedback loop which tries to spread itself further by infecting the Facebook accounts of new victims. Then it displays the ads.
I’m very pleased to present today the first in a series of videos we’ve produced. The videos have the lofty goal of addressing the most pressing questions relating to malware, cybercrime, and online fraud. We’ll take you behind the scenes at Webroot and introduce you to some of our Threat Research team in the process.
In this first video, Webroot’s Director of Threat Research, Jeff Horne, answers a question submitted to us via Twitter direct message about the motives behind most cybercrime, and whether there are any examples of malware or other types of malicious online activity that have been motivated by anything other than financial gain.
We’re planning to release a new video every other Monday from now on. When you’ve thought of that question you always wanted to know the answer to, tweet @webroot or send an email to blog (at) webroot.com, and we’ll answer the ones about cybercrime. We’ll try not to disappoint, but offer no promises. If you think of questions about something else, send them to Dr. Phil or Craig. We look forward to your letters!