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Misleading Applications

or "Rogue Software"

I have been getting more and more calls from clients with issues related to Misleading Applications over the past 12-months that I figured it warrants its own reference page at this point. Most of the time, clients don't know what the issue is even called in order to research it on their own.


For full story and more information/links, check Symantec website information on Misleading Applications (click here)


The following is from Symantec:

Misleading Applications – What you need to know

Misleading applications can sneak onto your computer as you surf the Web. Once installed, scammers use them to commit fraud and identity theft. Here’s what you need to know to guard against spyware and other misleading applications.


Have you ever seen a strange security message pop up like an advertisement while you're surfing the web? Have you seen an unexpected balloon message appear from an unknown program on your system, telling you that you’re infected with a new threat? These are common tactics used by a type of program Symantec calls "misleading applications" and other people refer to as “Rogue Software” or “Rogue Anti-Virus”. These programs typically sneak onto their victims’ systems while they surf the web, masquerade as a normal Microsoft Windows alert, or otherwise trick people into downloading them onto their computer. Once installed, misleading applications exaggerate or make false claims about the security status or performance of your system, then promise to solve these bogus problems if you pay them.

What are misleading applications?

Misleading applications intentionally misrepresent the security status of a computer. Misleading applications attempt to convince the user that he or she must remove potentially malware or security risks (usually nonexistent or fake) from the computer. The application will hold the user hostage by refusing to allow him or her to remove or fix the phantom problems until the “required” software is purchased and installed. Misleading applications often look convincing—the programs may look like legitimate security programs and often have corresponding websites with user testimonials, lists of features, etc.


List of a few common misleading applications

  • Antivirus2009

  • AntiVirusXP2008

  • SpySheriff

  • WiniGuard

  • TheRegistrySentinel

  • VirusRemover2008

  • VirusDoctor




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