Beware of Malware Masquerading as Microsoft Security Essentials

Last Updated Nov 1, 2010 12:03 AM EDT

Let me be clear up front: Microsoft Security Essentials, which is free for both individual use and small businesses, is superb. But like all good things, there's a deadly dark side. In this case, that dark side is malware pretending to be Security Essentials.

A few weeks ago, I told you about how my dad encountered some sort of malware masquerading as Microsoft Security Essentials. I used Crossloop to troubleshoot, and accidentally triggered a full-on infection of his PC.

Now I've learned a little more about this malware. Doing business under the name Win32/FakePAV, this app comes to you when an infected Web site downloads it to your PC. Win32/FakePAV eventually launches dialogs that look for all the world like Microsoft Security Essentials and then insists that you have to buy fake anti-virus programs, all the while locking you out of your PC's normal functions.


Keep your anti-virus definitions up to date, people. And I'll reiterate what I consider to be pretty good advice: If you see a virus warning from your security software, don't trust it unless you launched the scan yourself. [via Download Squad]

Dave Johnson was employed by Microsoft Corporation at the time this article was written.

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