back to article Scareware Mr Bigs enjoy 'low risk' crime bonanza

Cybercriminals are growing rich by franchising out scareware distribution operations. The trade in rogue anti-virus application can make top-tier distributors an estimated $1.2m (£ 850,000) a year, net security firm Symantec estimates. A study by Symantec into the psychology of the scam found that 93 per cent of users …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    What's needed is an industry association

    There needs to be a centralised resource that can be used to verify the credentials of security software providers; this could then be used by consumers to check that the product they are buying is from an accredited source.

    It would require cooperation between the various security software vendors to promote the association and make it visible to consumers as a way of verifying their product.

    Unless the industry makes a move to provide this sort of facility, then users will increasingly turn to a few "known" names in the security field, or the operating system vendors themselves will have to provide the security software, either of which will reduce the overall market for third-party security software.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mr Big?

    I'm sorry, but if these petty scammers charging $30 for a not so good virus package have nothing on the Wallstreet banks, Geithner, Paulson and Bernanke:

    "How about bonds? "Naked short-selling of stocks is nothing compared to what goes on in the bond market," says Trimbath, the former DTC staffer. Indeed, the practice of selling bonds without delivering them is so rampant it has even infected the market for U.S. Treasury notes. That's right — Wall Street has actually been brazen enough to counterfeit the debt of the United States government right under the eyes of regulators, in the middle of a historic series of government bailouts! In fact, the amount of failed trades in Treasury bonds — the equivalent of "phantom" stocks — has doubled since 2007. In a single week last July, some $250 billion worth of U.S. Treasury bonds were sold and not delivered. "

    $250 billion = 30 virus packages for every man woman and child in the US, and that's just *one* weeks worth of trading of *one* class of non existent assets. Right under the nose of Paulson last summer.

  3. Dan Paul

    What about ISP Takedown Notices??????????????

    So you know the website that is distributing this garbage ( that infected a dozen pc's at my office) and no one can get a takedown notice and injunction against the distribution website and thus miserable tw@ts that put it out for unsuspecting fools to click on?

    "Symantec’s study found that the top ten sales affiliates of scareware distribution site earned an average of $23,000 per week."

    Otherwise the top 10 scamming scumbuckets are getting 1.15 million US dollars a year?

    I figure this sort of thing is covered under the "Justifiable Homicide" provision in certain state law. You know "kill them before they can kill you"?

    If there was ever a reason for white hat hacking, this is it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Gilbert Wham


    ...where do I sign up as a franchisee?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No Script

    Four words: No Script. and Firefox

  6. David 141

    "Legit" security software not much better

    Most of the real AV and other security software is of little or no use. AV vendors aren't above their own scaremongering, punting add-ons of dubious benefit, and chewing through system resources.

    A firewall, limited user accounts, up-to date patches and not downloading executables has kept my machines clear for years. All I get from the AV software is false positives and reduced performance.

  7. dreamingspire
    Thumb Down

    BBC foolishness

    The BBC foolishly gave Symantec free advertising for its services, by swallowing this story as "news". What is also needed is a trade association for IS companies, charged with keeping the news media up to date on an even-handed basis.

  8. John Sanders

    This reinforces the idea

    of Sander's theory:

    That people click compulsively on whatever shiny thing that appears on screen if the presentation is sufficiently good, The tendency to give away credit details to get the shiny thing ASAP is directly proportional to how good is the presentation of the thing.

    Mine is the one that says: "Ask me about how to get rich creating your own scareware bussines"

    Perhaps Balmer should advertise Windows 7 like that.

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