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March 17th, 2011

Attack of the semi-fake antivirus

We know what fake antivirus is: malware posing as real antivirus while hijacking your computer and wallet. Then there is real antivirus: applications such as avast! and our competitors.

And now there is a third category: semi-fake antivirus. It’s not a blatant malware attack and may actually include a real antivirus application. From a strictly technical perspective, it might not even be called malware.

But one thing is clear: it is still taking money from consumers in a way that some would call fraudulent.

Recently, I got an email from the UK-based Computeractive about an irate customer wanting a refund on avast! Pro. It seems that the person went on the internet, searched for avast, and found a site offering special download services and videos. They ended up getting a messed-up computer and spending over $100.

And then there is the French Connection: avast2011.fr-01.net. Combining avast, the year, and a major French IT portal together into a very attractive domain name; hackers created something that scored very well with search engines. Visitors to this site could spend a couple Euros for a premium SMS permitting them to download a copy of avast! Free Antivirus.

For both suspect sites, the fine print in the legal agreement says they provide only links to the software sites. Are they fraudulent? Well, I am not a lawyer. But, Justice Potter Stewart of the United States Supreme Court, famously said “I know it when I see it. I think this could apply here.

The real lesson here is that consumers need to be far more skeptical about the results served up by their web browser. When possible, go directly to the company website. And when in doubt, leave. As the fine print on one suspect site states:  ”If you do not understand or do not agree to be bound by this privacy policy, you must immediately leave the website.”

I agree. Better sooner than later.

If you have any other examples of such sites, please let me know.

 

  • Susan Samuel

    BIG fan of avast, when I had Norton I suffered slow boot up & many frustrating attacks, seemed to spend hours on resolving issues. I live in a third world country without the benefit of a really good secure ISP provider between the hackers of Mexico & Venezuela. Delighted to comment that since I downloaded avast direct from their webpage I have been trouble free. Why go via a link when you can connect direct?

  • walter Lederhos

    I always prefer the official sites, links from other pages are never reliable.
    Exelente noticia, TEAM AVAST.

  • http://tycsdesigns.webs.com/ Talia Carter

    I have been using the free Avast for sometime and I love it. About a month and a half ago; however, the strangest thing occured. The Avast update appeared on my screen, and when I clicked it, it downloaded the update but then my programs on my pc began acting up or not wanting to work. I had to uninstall Avast and then re-install the program to solve the problem. Since this has happened, I manually update the Avast program.

    And yes, I DL’d it from the official Avast website. IF I have to use another source, I use CNet or Filehippo for my downloading.

  • daniel gelinas

    bonjour moi j`encourage le bon travail de AVAST SECURITY thanks

  • daniel gelinas

    un antivirus aussi integre me laisse pas indifferent je suggere AVAST SECURITY MA VERSION D ESSAIE ET JE CONFIRME EMPLOYER AVAST SECURITY INTERESSANT EFFICACE EN LIVE PAS APRES LES DEGATS

  • http://donguyen.vn huytuank
  • Lyle Frink

    @huytuank
    Thanks. That is exactly the type of site.

  • Lyle Frink

    @Susan Samuel
    I agree. Some consumers also seem to be randomly clicking and are really not sure where they went for their antivirus software. THat sort of behavior is a recipe for a disastor.

  • http://www.wbcs.freeuk.com Neo

    I went there and reported it as web forgery :)

  • http://Yahoomail Steven Price

    Avast is great, when I was on Norton ,I had nothing but problems with slow start up, as well as my computer crashing. I took my computer to be repaired & they took Norton off & installed Avast, I haven`t had any problems since. It`s brilliant!

  • ryan casey

    I downloaded off of CNET DOWNLOADS. I trust CNET very much

  • http://www.benjaminbiswas.webs.com Benjamin Biswas

    Many many thanks to avast team. Because avast internet security is a great internet security in the world. Already i used kaspersky, norton, avg,rising, comodo antivirus. But i can’t get any one as like as avast! It’s don’t slow my pc system. my pc is very old. After all It’s work better in my pc. So again thanks to avast family!

  • elizabeth wade

    HI,
    I have Avast! on my computer (the free version) and it updates daily. Today, I had an alert from a trial anti-viral software on my PC (E-Set) to suspicious files on my PC so I started a supplem,entary Avast! scan. It detected some malicious software on my PC and I had these removed to the Chest. However, now I can’t use internet explorer as there is STILL an infection on my PC. What now?
    Elizabeth

  • Lohith N

    I was using McAffe few years ago. A friend of mine spoke about avast 4.7 and ever since then, i have been using avast and have never tried for a better alternative. I don’t think that there is a better antivirus in the market. I downloaded avast 6 from their own website but i don’t know why in cnet, avg is above avast in the chart for most popular downloads. hope they get that right.

  • http://avast R S Shiva

    avast! is best software iam fully satisfied to use this softwarere

  • http://avast R S Shiva

    avast!is best software iam fully satisfied

  • http://avast R S Shiva

    avast is my first still i nvr tried one of my fried said this software try this software it will be best to your lap top becoz iam also using from long six month it gave me good result

  • Lyle Frink

    @huytuank
    Thanks. This is a very opportunist site. Type in AVG instead of avast and see what comes up…

  • gloria

    AVAST IS EL MEJOR LO AMO SIEMPRE ME A GUSTADO TERNERLO GRACIAS MI COMPUTER IS SIEMPRE LIMPIA GRACIAS POR PERMITIRME TENER AVAST…….

  • http://www.generalmarketing.comlu.com powerplant

    I have been a little unsatisfied with Avast recently
    I have had 2 different Malware fake Antivirus programs break through the Avast security wall and have had to find other programs to remove them

    i think this is an area avast can improve upon