Feeds

Facebook found pimping crudware

Serves up ads for deceptive security software

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Facebook has become the latest website to be found pushing services that deliver highly deceptive security warnings designed to trick users into buying software.

Purveyors of this scam are making use of Facebook Flyers, small ads that get posted on Facebook pages associated with a specific region. At 5,000 impressions for just $10, it's a bargain.

We spotted a Flyer targeted at Facebook users in the San Francisco region that purportedly advertised a dating service. When clicked, the ad delivered a warning that our machine could be infected. Those who click through are taken to a site for a product called Malware Alarm which informs their machine is "infected with spyware!" The site then urges the user to download Malware Alarm.

Screenshot of Facebook flyer with popup warning that user's computer may be infected with malware.

Clicking on the Flyer that says "Join for Free" brings up this popup. The warning is part of a scam designed to trick Facebook users into buying unneeded security software.

Security vendors say Malware Alarm's free version gives bogus security warnings designed to con end users into buying a premium version of the program. The software has been reported to flag common Windows files and innocuous programs as malware.

Facebook isn't the only site that's been found to push such "crudware," as we've come to call programs such as Malware Alarm. Last week, a security researcher's blog hosted on Blogspot was found to also found to redirect users to a site associated with Malware Alarm. MSN and MySpace have also been found promoting the programs, which also go by the term scareware.

While there are no reports showing Malware Alarm steals passwords, sends out spam or engages in other malicious activity, the program is considered a pariah in security circles. The ability of its purveyors to infiltrate Facebook's advertising system raises questions about what else may be slipping through the cracks at the social networking site.

We contacted a Facebook representative to see if they were even aware of the problem but didn't get a response. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors
GPU-powered pen test yields more bad news about defences and passwords
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
Germany 'accidentally' snooped on John Kerry and Hillary Clinton
Dragnet surveillance picks up EVERYTHING, USA, m'kay?
Linux kernel devs made to finger their dongles before contributing code
Two-factor auth enabled for Kernel.org repositories
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.