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Scareware slingers flaunt fake MS endorsement

Black-hat scripting malfeasance

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Scareware wronguns have developed a neat but evil piece of coding trickery designed to dupe prospective marks into believing that Microsoft is endorsing their worthless scamware.

A rogue anti-malware product called DefenceLab redirects infected PCs to Microsoft's Support portal, but modifies the HTML content as it returns so as to appear as if Microsoft is endorsing the worthless software. The ploy, which follows a fake scan and bogus Windows Security Center alert, is designed to persuade Windows users already exposed to infection by agents of the scareware package to pay for a full version of the supposed clean-up utility.

Surfers visiting the URL on the Windows Support site referenced in the scareware from a clean PC will get a 404 'page not found' message. Hacked PC victims will see an apparent endorsement.

Screenshots of the attack in action can be found in a blog post by anti-spyware firm Sunbelt Software, which was the first to warn of the threat, here.

The ruse is a development of earlier trickery that involved hacking the hosts' file on compromised computers in order to hijack web surfing sessions. An earlier attack using this technique redirected Microsoft queries to a hacked UK-based computer, as explained in a blog posting by AVG's Roger Thompson here. ®

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