The new thing in scareware are defragger scams that falsely claim a computer needs disk errors fixed, experts say.
Elinor MillsFormer Staff Writer
Elinor Mills covers Internet security and privacy. She joined CNET News in 2005 after working as a foreign correspondent for Reuters in Portugal and writing for The Industry Standard, the IDG News Service and the Associated Press.
We've all heard about fake antivirus programs, also known as scareware. These programs falsely claim that your computer is infected with malware and prompt you to buy a product that will do nothing for you, except put your credit card number into the hands of criminals.
Well now there are fake disk defraggers that masquerade as applications that fix disk errors on a computer. In a post today the GFI Labs (formerly Sunbelt Software) blog Dubbed the programs FakeAV-Defrag rogues and said they had names like HDDDiagnostic, HDDRepair, HDDRescue, and HDDPlus.
It would appear that the scammers are trying out the new programs to see which might best confuse potential victims and evade detection by legitimate antivirus software. The defragger clones emerged last month with names like UltraDefragger, ScanDisk and WinHDD and which pretended to find "HDD read/write errors. Earlier this month, there was PCoptimizer, PCprotection Center, and Privacy Corrector that were more generic security products rather than specifically antivirus, the post says.
Computer users should be suspicious of applications that are advertised via e-mail, pop up warnings about problems (especially immediately after you click on a Web page video), demand that you make a purchase before it will fix the problems, and prompt you to update your browser, GFI Labs said.
If you aren't sure if a program is legitimate, you can search by the name on a search engine or on GFI Labs' site.