Scam Antivirus App Spreads Malware
Web users have been warned about a new scam that posts fake product reviews in a bid to encourage people to buy a rogue security application called Anti-virus-1.
The app is one of a number of bogus security products which promise to provide protection against the latest online threats, but instead have been designed to spread malware or hold users' PCs to ransom.
But if you use the internet to research Anti-virus-1, it's possible you'll find a number of glowing reviews, because the tool is posting fake articles online which appear to be endorsed by a number of the web's top tech sites - including PC Advisor.
In reality, the likelihood of you coming across a Anti-virus-1 review is slim. According to Lawrence Abrams, owner of technology site BleepingComputer.com, fake reviews will only be seen by those who install the rogue security app.
He said that when he installed Anti-virus-1 - which also goes by the name Antivirus2010 - it added a series of entries into the Windows hosts file which direct users to what appear to be the websites of a number of UK and US tech sites.
"By adding these entries into your HOSTS file, it will make it so that if you go to any of the websites listed, instead of going to the legitimate site, you will instead be redirected to a site under the control of the developers of Anti-virus-1 and not realise you are doing so," said Abrams on his site.
That means those with Anti-virus-1 running on their PC may be directed to bogus reviews such as the one in the screenshot below.
The software has never been tested by PC Advisor, and the fake review is not hosted on the PC Advisor site. Other sites apparently targeted by the scam include PC Magazine and TechRadar.
Abrams warned that, once installed, Anti-virus-1 also issues fake security alerts, screen savers showing a blue screen crash caused by spyware and Internet Explorer hijacks. He's provided tips on how to remove Anti-virus-1/Antivirus 2010 on his website - although we've yet to test the procedure.