G Data has announced the launch of an anti-virus cleaner.

According to the company, there was a 35 per cent increase in fake anti-virus software in the past 15 months, which led to the creation of G Data FakeAVCleaner. It addresses the most active fake AV program 'System Tool'.

The fake programs work by installing onto a system and notifying the user of an infection on the system and that to disinfect it the user must purchase the full version.

The free G Data FakeAVCleaner can be downloaded here.

Eddy Willems, security evangelist at G Data, said: “The development and deployment of scareware has become a highly profitable business. Fake anti-virus programs have a double benefit for cyber criminals: they receive money from users who purchased a ‘full version' of their useless tools and they get hold of the victims' credit card data.

“To make matters worse the fake anti-virus programs often also put online criminals in a position that allows them to download additional malware onto their victims' computers. Scareware offers a huge pay off for the e-crime community. ‘System Tool' type fake programs, among which you can also find 'WinHDD', have been spread widely in the past 12 months.”