Fake anti-virus downloads put $10,800 a day into the pockets of scammers

News by Dan Raywood

Cybercriminals are making around $2 million a year from scams involving fake anti-virus software.

Cybercriminals are making around $2 million a year from scams involving fake anti-virus software.


Finjan has announced that its Malicious Code Research Center managed to research one of the rogue ware affiliate networks where members are making $10,800 a day.


By using search engine optimisation techniques, as well as typing errors and misspelled keywords, the traffic volume to the compromised websites increased significantly luring masses of potential buyers to the rogue anti-virus.


The research found that 1.8 million unique users were redirected to the rogue anti-virus software during 16 consecutive days, while around ten per cent had downloaded the rogue anti-virus and 1.79 per cent had actually paid the $50 ‘fee' for the software.


Yuval Ben-Itzhak, CTO of Finjan said: “There is a new technology in fake anti-virus, we found that there is a network between two teams and one is responsible for compromising legitimate websites and using keywords to climb search engine rankings – we found one that managed to reach fourth place on Google rankings.


“From here the second team will try to convince those people who click on the sites to buy the rogue anti-virus software. No web page can identify whether you have a virus or not, but if you suspect that you do then talk to a major vendor and ask them to scan your machine. Do not buy a security product in that way as there is a chance that it will be a rogue anti-virus.”


Finjan found that members of the affiliate network were rewarded for each successful redirection with 9.6 cents ‘a piece', which totals $172,800 or $10,800 per day. It claimed that by calculating that to a normal working week, this would put the criminals in the $2million plus annual income bracket.


Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime

Video and interviews