Security & Privacy + Software & Apps

Beware Bogus Security Software

Posted on October 17th, 2008 by

There’s a new trend out there designed to scam computer users: web sites that sell bogus software. Not only does the software not do what it claims to do, but the companies that sell this “software” get a hold of your credit card and can do even more damage to your bank account.

Intego has spotted one such company, claiming to sell Macintosh antivirus software. MacGuard claims the following:

Macguard’s high-tech system scanner will search your hard drive for malicious objects such as Adware, Spyware and Trojans, cleaning your files, eliminating the threats, and securing your privacy in just a matter of minutes. Its Real Time smart protection will also ensure new threats will not even reach your desktop.

But what’s interesting is that Winiguard claims exactly the same thing. Not only is that claim the same, but every word on the two websites is identical.

One way you can spot a fake is that when you click what is supposedly the product’s download link, nothing downloads. So you can see that there’s no software behind the web site. (On the Winiguard site, something does indeed download.) If you are gullible enough to purchase this software from a company you have never heard of, who has no references, and whose web site is vague and imprecise, it is likely that you will find additional charges on your credit card. ArsTechnica reports that more than 30 million people have been scammed by such software.

We all know that security is a serious risk when using a computer, and especially the Internet, but one should not blindly trust a web site just because it claims that its software will do something. Look for trustworthy, reliable software, such as Intego VirusBarrier, which, over the years, has proven itself. Trust the gatekeepers – the computer magazines and websites that test such software; Macworld said that “VirusBarrier X5 is the gold standard.”

As the saying goes, let the buyer beware. That goes for anything you purchase online, but even more for so-called security software that does nothing more than take your money and run.

Read the full Intego security memo here.

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