5.40 per cent of all computers worldwide are affected by rogueware, generating benefits of £21m a month for hackers
PandaLabs, the anti-malware laboratory at the cloud security company Panda Security has warned of the recent proliferation of fake antiviruses, as 40 per cent of all fake antiviruses have been created in 2010.
Fake antiviruses, also known as rogueware, are programmes that enter user computers and warn of massive infections, and then, they 'invite' users to buy a solution to their problem, cheating them for credit card data and money.
Even though this is a relatively recent phenomenon - fake antiviruses appeared some three years ago, 11.6 per cent of all computer threats gathered over the last 21 years belong to this category.
That is, ever since this type of malicious code was first reported four years ago, 5,651,786 unique rogueware strains have been detected, out of which 2,285,629 have appeared between January to October 2010.
Rogueware's sophistication, realism and social engineering techniques are the basis of its success, as shown by the fact that more and more users are falling victim to this scam.
The top fake antiviruses comprise of MSAntiSpyware2009 (11.67 per cent), MalwareDoctor (8.14 per cent), AntimalwareDoctor (7.21 per cent), AntivirusPro2010 (4.57 per cent), SecurityMasterAV (3.62 per cent), Adware/SecurityTool (3.38 per cent), Isecurity2010 (2.81 per cent), and SecurityEssentials2010 (2.39 per cent).
According to the company, users can become infected simply by browsing the Web, downloading codecs for media players, and clicking links in emails; and these antiviruses try to pass themselves off as antivirus solutions that detect hundreds of threats on the victim's computer.