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Looking for code work? Write fake anti-virus scripts

Scammer job ads move mainstream

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Updated A scareware purveyor has brazenly advertised for recruits on a mainstream job market website.

A job ad on Freelancer.com offers work for a coder prepared to turn his hand to the creation of fake anti-virus website redirection scripts. However, prospective applicants are warned not to expect a big payday - the budget for the whole project is between $30 and $250.

On the plus side the prospective employer, redlinecl, has 100 per cent positive feedback from previous coding lackeys. One said: "Nice buyer, hope can work for him again in the future."

Of course when the job involves tricking the unsuspecting into visiting scareware portals in order to flog software of little or no utility it's probably wise to take these glowing reviews with a pinch of salt.

The ad, posted on Monday (screenshot here), was spotted by security researcher Patrik Runald of Websense, who notes that the same chap was previously involved in fake PayPal pages, spam campaigns and other forms of malfeasance.

Runald described the ad campaign as an amateurish wannabe cyber criminal, based not least on his previous postings. "This guy seem to have no clue what he's doing," Runald told El Reg. "The Fake AV [anti-virus] business is based on affiliates which means that the company providing the software has people doing the fake AV scanning pages as well."

Adverts on Freelancer.com are largely legitimate but sometimes cross over the line into more questionable enterprises.

"Freelancer.com typically has jobs for creating websites, logos, writing help etc but there are lots of shadier once too, like making a voting bot," Runald explained.

The market for scareware is booming. Shysters involved in the business are increasingly adopting the business structures of mainstream security firms - even to the point of running call centres designed to persuade people not to try to apply for refunds, and recruitment programs.

redlinecl's project is on a much smaller scale than some of the Ukranian and Russian operations we've heard of, but it does illustrate the increased openness of those involved in the trade, who seem to feel little need to be discreet about their activities. ®

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