back to article Scareware package greets marks by name

Malware authors have created a strain of scareware packages that lifts the name of an infected user from the registry of an infected PC in order to create more convincing scams. The wife of reader Chris came across the ruse when she used his PC to check on her Hotmail account. Before she could get onto the website she was …


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  1. Mr Brush

    Here's the source code

    Hello %USERNAME% can I have your credit card details?

    Not exactly high tech.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Am I the only one...

    I have my window sized such that the following had a line break after it...

    " your computer is infected with a Trojan, you should download this spyware "

    How very apt and honest, I thought, until I read first words of the next line!

  3. David Gjester

    If you want to have a life unobscured by this kind of rubbish

    Buy a Mac.

    Have a good weekend

  4. Jamie

    Have to agree.

    It is not I who would get infected but my parents or in-laws who have little knowledge and thus can get taken for a ride.

    I cannot wait to go back home again so I can get windows off the computer and put something sensible on it for my parents.

  5. Anonymous Coward


    No idea what dodgy site I managed to pick this one up from, but every time I navigated between folders in Windows this bloody box would pop up. Alas, AVG didn't seem to notice it landing on my machine, nor could it locate it, but a quick blast of Spybot Search & Destroy did the trick.

  6. Steve

    OEM installs

    Won't a lot of people likely to fall for this just see a message targetting a 'Mr OEMUser' or 'Sony Valued Customer' or some such generic name? Although I'd expect anyone who would fall for it to just click yes no matter what the message said.


  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    This sort of thing makes me eternally grateful that my Gran doesn't have a computer, and doesn't want one. She would fall for every one of these, her computer would be full of malware and my future inheritance would be in Nigeria before we could stop her.

  8. Dangermouse


    Don't forget that when many OEM PC's are first turned on the operating system (especially with XP and Vista) is installed but not configured. The user goes through a series of questions, for example "enter all the users of this PC" and so that info will get written to the registry. And even though it is a shitty trick to play, I would still expect the majority of people to fall for it as the technical expertise would not be as high as the readership of this site.

  9. A J Stiles

    Easy way to avoid malware

    Using software whose Source Code has not been independently verified by experts is *the* best way to get your computer infected with malware.

    Even if you aren't a competent programmer yourself, insist on the Source Code anyway. The supplier doesn't know ..... And you can always show it to a programmer later.

    If someone wants to keep their Source Code to themself, then let them keep the binaries to themself as well! They obviously don't care about the integrity of your computer, and thus don't deserve your business.

  10. George

    @ David

    Come on now David, not everything has to turn into a PC vs Mac vs Linux bunfight, The Reg is above all that.

    If you like arguments such as this their are plenty of sites out there for you. Other arguments you may like to have are:

    1) Xbox 360 vs PS3

    2) Gnome vs KDE

    3) Chelsea vs Arsenal vs Man Utd

  11. Bronek Kozicki

    RE: Easy way

    and how many open source programmers exactly are experts? Have not seen many, recently. On the other hand, I know "closed source" software vendors who actually sign contracts with experts to have their sources independently screened. Of course, it means nothing for Mr Stiles if he cannot see the source - even if he wouldn't be able to make sense of it. Pityful, really.

  12. Peter Simpson
    Gates Halo

    Which is why...

    ...I always enter "Bill Gates" as the user name and "Microsoft Corporation" as the company, when installing a clean version of Windows.

    I don't do that much anymore, though. Linux works better for me.

  13. Robert Harrison

    How to really trick the punters

    "Hello %USERNAME% the %COMPUTER_CASE_COLOUR% PC you own under your %COMPUTER_INSTALL_LOCATION% is infected with malware, click here to run a scan"

    Now that would scare me silly into clicking yes.

  14. Tim

    WTF? my computer is the cops....

    I switched my computer on and this program started up....called vista or seemed to know i was and it has infiltrated all of my computer...slowing it down and causing random events to happen....

    Help me, i'm scared!

  15. Captain DaFt
    Thumb Up

    @ George

    Aw, you left out my favorite, Vi vs. Emacs!

    I've spent many a cheerful evening, beer in hand, munching popcorn, watching a group of alleged adults fight tooth and nail over a pair of bloated text editors.

    (I'm agnostic BTW, each has its, strengths, weaknesses, quirks and charms, but in the end, it's the output that counts.)

  16. Anonymous Coward

    "This seems a really scary prospect to me, and I am IT savvy"

    I rather think not, since in order to have seen this message you have already managed to let yourself get infected in the first place. Hapless n00b!

    Plus, of course, anyone actually "IT savvy" should not be scared (nor even the least bit surprised) when something uses your name, nor in any way give it any more or less credence than a requester that doesn't use their name, since anyone "IT savvy" would have noticed that tons of apps show your name in the registration data and so it's clearly nothing special if an app knows and uses it.

  17. Jason Croghan
    Thumb Down

    OMG quick call everyone!

    The Reg is starting to look like the American Government more and more so every day. Because a trojan shows 'information freely available on a machine' does not constitute an "OMGWTF?" moment. The last five or six pieces on malware on the reg have been completely out dated, scare mongering, loose reporting. I hope granny isn't reading the reg on her windows machine.

  18. Aaron

    Super Spyware

    A few days ago I got handed a PC from my nephew asking if I had a spare moment to have a look at his PC as he was getting some popup messages. Since this is a regular occurrance in my family I took it home to look at it for him. It turned out to the the most infected PC I have seen to date. After the 20 minute WinXP boot process I found an suite of trojans, rogue 'anti-spyware' programs, viruses, keyloggers, adware. Most of these were hell bent on stopping themselves from being removed. My favourite are the triple-redundant programs. PROCESS A, B and C. Kill A and B or C restarts it, manage to kill A and B, C restarts it. Manage to kill all of them and some hidden bugger reinstalls them on reboot. To cut a long story, and process, short I could have reinstalled WinXP in 60 minutes but I like a challenge. 13 hours, about 10 different anti-virus, anti-spyware and anti-adware programs later, a clean PC!

    What do people who don't know any better do I have no idea!

  19. Dr Patrick J R Harkin

    It always degenerates into Windows vs Mac vs Linux...

    I'll have you know my Renault Megane has NEVER had a problem with viruses or trojans and starts faster XP/MacOS/Linux. Unfortunately, it now costs more to run a week than many PC's...

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "What do people who don't know any better do I have no idea!"

    Every couple of years or so my dad buys a new laptop. I've grown weary of telling him he should have simply wiped and reinstalled, or that he should get a mac.

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