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What is rogue security software?

Rogue security software has more than doubled in the last decade. These malicious apps are designed to mimic antivirus programs, but they are actually ominous malware scams. Once downloaded, they cause endless frustration and trick users into paying. As cybercriminals innovate, it`s hard to tell legitimate antimalware from money grabbing scams.

Features of Rogue Security Software

Countless rogue antivirus programs exist, but most include similar features. Certain elements mimic other malware types, such as scareware and rootkits, which indicates that the software isn`t legitimate.

Defining characteristics of rogue security software include:

  • Mimics Antimalware

  • Most antimalware performs scans, alerts you of threats, and allows you to resolve these issues. Malicious antivirus mimics this, except that it requires payment instead of addressing the issue.

  • Continuous warning

  • Malicious security software encourages users to take action by flooding their desktops with endless messages about possible threats. In reality, the malware is just the app itself.

  • Additional payment required

  • When the software attacks you with a report of infection, it prompts you to take action. However, instead of deleting the file immediately, it requires payment. Passing money may cause the alert to stop temporarily, but the cycle will be restarted from the beginning until another payment is required.

  • Change current security software. As with most rootkit infections, malicious security software can modify antivirus programs. Cybercriminals don’t want to know that their program is a scam, so they keep other apps that might warn them.

  • Freezes the entire computer. This software can freeze your computer. It creates overwhelmingly many pop-ups or crashes the desktop completely until payment is made. The rogue security software can take some time for users to realize that they are the victim. Knowing how to distinguish between malicious and real programs is essential to security.

How to detect malicious software

You can come into contact with malicious security software in a variety of ways. These signs help you recognize if you are the victim of a rogue app.

  • Software not downloaded

  • If you suddenly start getting notifications from apps that you haven’t intentionally downloaded, you need to worry.

  • Browser home page changes

  • Unauthorized downloads often make unauthorized changes. Most of these are overlooked, but some are more obvious. Changing your browser’s home page and autoscan settings is a sign of infection.

  • Increased pop-ups

  • Desktop pop-ups are no longer a normal operating system feature. If you suddenly see an endless alarm or warning, it’s definitely a red flag.

  • Misspelling and typos

  • Please check for typos before downloading as the error in the app description indicates a scam.

  • Bad reviews

  • Badly rated apps that mention typical malicious security characteristics should be avoided altogether.

  • Unfortunately, some of these obvious signs only appear after getting an infection. Avoiding malicious downloads altogether is the best defense against malicious antivirus programs.

  • Avoid unauthorized security software downloads

  • Malicious antivirus software can be downloaded actively or passively, so you need to be more careful than other malware. Develop these habits to avoid it.

  • Always read antivirus reviews carefully. Use well known security brands with years of industry experience. Internationally trusted companies, such as Norton and McAfee, won`t offer rogue software. Always use official software, not copy of it which may be manipulated by hackers. You should do it via official web site of the vendor. Smart clicking should already be an everyday security practice, but it`s even more critical for security software. Standard rules apply; don`t open email attachments from unknown senders, click on ads or popups, or use shortened URLs.

Regularly updating your software will reduce the chances of hackers installing the app via a security hole. These vulnerabilities are identified and patched when the software company releases an update. Most malicious apps take advantage of urgency to prompt users to click. They may claim that you have a serious infection, say you have won a prize, or ask you to renew your account immediately. Ignore these fear tactics to reduce the risk of being fooled by malicious downloads. Find a well-thought-out, high-quality security suite to help identify malicious software before installation.

Despite using the best cybersecurity procedures, you can still end up with an infection. Malware is continually developing, and hackers find new ways to gain access to your computer. If you are suspicious of having rogue software, take these steps to remove the infection:

  • Start your computer in Safe Mode

  • Open your premium quality antivirus software

  • Run a manual scan

  • Delete the rogue software immediately after it is identified

  • Open Task Manager / Activity Monitor

  • Find a list of known malicious antivirus infections

  • Compare the list with a running process

  • Once identified, find the app name and remove it manually

  • Protect yourself from the threat of malicious security software¬† ¬†