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How to Detect and Avoid Fake Antivirus

According to CNET News, 15% of all malware these days are Fake Anti-Virus.According to the report, since 2003 malware authors has been using the web to prompt unsuspecting users to download the fake antivirus by sending pop-up message  with fake virus infection warnings designed to scare users to download and even buy their fake anti-virus software. Recent fake anti-virus sites have even been imitating the look and feel of the Windows user interface.


Question is, how do you detect if the anti-virus is a fake?

  1. Pop-up Messages-  if a pop-up message comes up with a warning that your computer has been infected by viruses and malwares, most probably it is a fake intended to scare you. First of all you have not installed such a software, how can it scan your system?  Even legitimate on-line scans from valid anti-virus sites such as Bitdefender needs to install a part of their system with your permission to your system.
  2. Known Fake Anti-Virus sites - Wikipedia have a partial list of known fake anti-virus sites. Check it out be aware of these sites.
  3. Pornographic Sites - Most pornographic sites is a common source of these fake anti-virus and other types of virus and malwares
  4. Common Disguises. fake anti-virus are usually disguised as
    • A browser plug-in or extension (typically toolbar)
    • An image, screensaver or archive file attached to an e-mail message
    • Multimedia codec required to play a certain video clip
    • Software shared on peer-to-peer networks
    • A free online malware scanning service
  5. Annoying Reminders - once installed these fake anti-virus programs will keep on popping up reminders, enticing you to buy the full program in order to remove the detected virus and malware (which are probably non existent or even installed by the fake anti-virus program itself)
  6. No Means to Uninstall- legitimate anti-virus programs can be easily uninstalled if you no longer want to use them. Fake Anti-virus programs however do not and can not even be removed using the add-remove program utility of the Windows OS. or it would show that it is being uninstalled but after you have restarted you computer, you will still find it there.
  7. Other Signs- other signs that will tell you that your computer is infected with a fake anti-virus program are:
    • your wallpaper has been changed and the image says something about being infected
    • every time you reboot a scan window pops up
    • whenever the scan completes, you're asked to register or pay in order to remove the infections
If you think your computer has been infected by a fake anti-virus, you may need to install a valid anti-virus and anti-malware, worse you might need to take a trip to a repair shop. Or... wait for a few days and I'll post some possible solutions here and some preventions.




  1. Sad to say I am one those people that was victimized by that fake virus. I was surfing that time when suddenly there's a pop-ups saying my pc needs an updates. I click cancel but it continued downloading. All I know my pc already infected. It really gets into my nerves because it's not easy to re-program it. Thanks for your brilliant info's JOhn and yes, indeed your post is very much useful not only to me but to most people reading it. Keep it up and God bless :)

  2. There are a lot more stuff like this. There fake antivirus will hack all the things in your PC. We should be very careful while choosing the product. Here are some more steps to remove fake antiviruses.