It's been several months since the new generation of fake security software called Anti-spyware Master hit the Web by storm. Its creators seem to have had worked hard to make as appealing to PC users as possible. They designed a professional-looking salespage, thought of slogans, wrote scary messages for ads - all to entice the innocent surfers into buying the “full version" of their scam.
That's why there's no surprise the number of victims is growing steadily. The professional looking software behaves like a cheap-written piece of code, stubborn and resilient. Usually computer owners ask for help when the PC is taken over by anti-spyware master modules. It mostly invades personal computers with the help of Trojans - which fly under the radar, easily bypassing standard PC security shields consisting of anti-virus and (in rarer cases) anti-spyware programs. It seems to me that those programmers who created the code of this malware anticipated their dubious success. They, admittedly, had examined the traditional approaches of popular anti-virus products, studied the implemented algorithms of scanning engines, and found the Achilles heel of desktop security solutions, which later put at tough exploit by creating anti-spyware master.
The reasons that make me think like this are the following:
- Anti-spyware master is detected on machines constantly protected by at least two or more security products, often in addition to anti-virus with resident protection module. After working with victims of this scam helping them to get rod of the malware, I conclude by reading logs created on infected computers that those machines were equipped with anti-spyware products pre-installed by vendors or distributed by Internet Service Providers. Because all PC's were literally cluttered with malicious modules, I drew a conclusion that those protection mechanisms proved to be ineffective in preventing the rogue software infection;
- I may sound like rebelling, but everyone can visit a dozen of tech forums and examine tons of logs posted by owners of infected computers. It is fairly simple to notice that anti-spyware master happily conquered allegedly protected machines which looked safe and clean to their owners until the annoying pop-ups started to appear, while the system performance drastically decreased, leading to certain functions (like registry editing or changing the desktop backgrounds) disabled;
- On top of that, installed security programs stopped working all together, unable to load their services to initiate scanning. This, consequently, make those programs useless in removing the malware.
Of course I do agree that malware is known to cause the best of applications to stop functioning. However, few manufacturers of security programs acknowledge this serious problem and work hard to address the issue developing protective mechanisms that would allow the programs to actively resist most wicked attempts of their corruption. Regretfully, those few are not among most popular PC security software makers who continue advertising their vulnerable products with the promises of 100% removal and unbeatable detection rates.
To my mind, anti-spyware master virus, being as harmful as it is, reveals the common lacunae in IT security solutions which still are far from being as perfect as advertised.
Find out if Antispyware Master threatens your PC security, and how to completely remove it if malware has already sneaked inside.
Alberta Glamerheim is an author and consultant who writes about Internet privacy management issues, and publishes articles related to PC security maintenance.