Watch out for fake security software

One of the most common ways for cybercriminals to steal money from people is through the use of fake security software, according to the most recent Microsoft Security Intelligence Report.

This kind of software is also known as “scareware” or “rogue security software.” Cybercriminals use it to scare people into downloading more malicious software onto their computer or pay for a fake product. For more information, see Watch out for fake virus alerts.

Here are examples of the graphics used by cybercriminals trick you into downloading their security software.

The Security Intelligence Report features a video that explains how one popular piece of fake software works and how you can get rid of it. To watch the video, go to How Win32/FakePAV Steals Credit Card Information and How to Remove the Trojan.

To read the full report on Rogue Security Software, see the Malware and Potentially Unwanted Software section of the latest Security Intelligence Report. You can also download the entire report.


About the Author
Eve Blakemore

Group Manager, Trustworthy Computing

Eve Blakemore is a Group Manager for Trustworthy Computing who delivers consumer guidance around the latest trends in security and privacy. Eve joined Microsoft in 1998 and has worked in corporate and field roles with Microsoft Learning, US Public Sector, Read more »

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  1. Anonymous

    What about Mac computers ?  How safe or vulnerable are they ?

  2. Anonymous

    I just got this fake security software yesterday. It won't let me do anything until I purchase their full package. I am going to watch your video and hopefully I can remove this. Thank you

  3. Anonymous

    There is a security thing that pops up and won't let my 'Majis Jack Phone' to install.

  4. Anonymous

    i have a vires on my pc that wont let me online it instsis that i buy its anti viris product

  5. Anonymous

    Microsoft Alarm Warning, they asked for subscription – fake Microsoft software? Now unable to log on to internet ex[lporer.

  6. Anonymous

    Thanks for the helpful info.

  7. Anonymous


  8. Anonymous

    I have "Windows XP Fix" virus on my system and nothing seems to get rid of it.  My desktop icons came back after running Spybot Search & Destroy but they seem slightly dimmed and the "Windows XP Fix" malware icon is the only bright icon on the desktop.  I don't see this virus on your list.  Any ideas?

  9. Anonymous

    its very good knowledge for computing

  10. Anonymous

    i only have to bars with at&t why is this? can i do anything about this?

  11. Anonymous

    Today I have had a phone call to one of my home numbers (not one used to register my software) from someone claiming to be from Windows.  They quoted my customer reference number, but didn't know which version of windows my computer uses.

    I was encouraged to go to a web site through the 'command' line.  The site was called 'ammy'.  I assume that they were encouraging me to download software which would allow remote control of my PC.

    If it was you guys, my apologies.  If not, this is a pretty slick scam.

  12. Anonymous

    what about AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition?

    Is ths program safe?

  13. Anonymous

    I was hit by a security fake.  They had something on and it prevented me from getting back on the internet and insisted I purchase "vista home security 2012".  It had continual popups and one of them would immediately start scanning, I would hit stop as quick as possible.  I DID NOT GIVE ANY INFO NOR PURCHASE ANYTHING FROM THEM! ! !  It took some doing but I think I got it off my machine, I sure hope so…..

  14. Anonymous

    Vista anti-spyware 2012, is a fraud, dont buy it  tryig to get rid of it myself..

  15. Anonymous

    fake e-mail adverts are putting our computers at risks by providing virus risks

  16. Anonymous

    hAVE SOME scam on my computer that wont let me get to windows defender or any websites including email. Persistent. Help!!! Cannot get to Security Updates/

  17. Anonymous

    Thanks to Microsoft Security Essentials,my computer is fast again after downloading it and running full scan.Thank you microsoft.

    But I also have some ParetoLogic FileCure stuff that installed itself to my labtop and i have deleted it to no avail.From time to time it pops up and ask to "FileCure".Could you verify if this is a true software or robbery? Thank you.

  18. Anonymous

    Yesterday I installed some ftware that took all my access frommy computer. Later I found that my friend was hacking my computer.


    So funny. I was laughing very much when I came toknw this.


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