Feeds

New fake anti-virus shakes down frightened file-sharers

Scareware brands Windows Registry Editor a smut 'tool', punts 'safe' torrents

Security for virtualized datacentres

Security researchers have discovered a strain of fake anti-virus software that tries to intimidate supposed file-sharers into paying for worthless software.

torrent_alert_scareware

SFX Fake AV, first detected by freebie antivirus scanner firm Malwarebytes, blends the features of scareware with those more associated with ransomware Trojans. The malware stops any legitimate anti-virus package from running on compromised PCs, something common to other other scareware packages. But this particular strain of malware goes further than this by stopping Process Explorer (procexp.exe) and preventing browsers from loading – tactics designed to force marks to complete the ‘input credit card details’ screen and hand over money for the scamware.

The evil app also falsely tells prospective marks that they are going to be sued for breaching SOPA legislation, claiming it has detected torrent links on PCs. It offers to get around this problem by activating an "anonymous data transfer protocol" for torrent links, another inducement aimed at persuading prospective marks into paying for the worthless security app.

This latter feature differentiates the malware from strains of scareware we've seen in the past, which demand money after supposedly detecting "offensive materials" on PCs, sometimes under the guise of a police fine. SFX Fake AV, by contrast, offers a supposed way to evade law enforcement attention.

virus_detected_scareware

Finally, the malware also performs a fake scan that classifies Windows Registry Editor as a porn tool.

Bruce Harrison, VP Research at Malwarebytes, said: "SFX Fake AV is morphing at a relatively fast rate, so it is something that signature-based vendors will have to watch out for as there will be an increasing number of variants in the wild. Also, the use of Dropbox as a delivery mechanism is a something that the industry is going to have to take into account and protect against, as it is an emerging trend." ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
NOT OK GOOGLE: Android images can conceal code
It's been fixed, but hordes won't have applied the upgrade
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.