There are many rogue applications that entice users to download through a popup or a new browser window that says the users computer is either infected, at risk, or has registry problems and it shows a simulated scan.

STOP! Hit Ctrl+Alt+Del and in Task Manager, click on your browser and click End Process. Clean out your Temp files, scan with antivirus and anti-malware, reboot and scan again.

Many of these rogue applications are showing in search results through search engines and are also being listed on many of the major download sites, which gives them some sort of credibility. In addition, there are a huge number of ‘affiliates’ marketing this garbage through their own sites and Clickbank. This is becoming a much bigger problem.

They all have one thing in common, they are FAKE applications that will find a very high number of problems on any machine, but the unwary user downloads the program, installs it without realizing that they are also installing Backdoor Trojans, Spyware, Adware and Rootkits.

Some of these fake programs are very good, they look genuine compared to many others, but frequently there are no contact details or privacy policy, and to be fair, anyone can put together a privacy policy and provide contact details through free email providers. These sites servicing up rogue applications also have no phone number listed or physical address. This raises the big red flag!

The user then scans with the program which finds hundreds, and in some cases thousands, of non-existent problems which can be ‘fixed’ for a relatively low cost.

Payment is usually via credit card and the less wary user will purchase the program only to find that it has added to their problems and solved nothing. When a user pays using a Credit Card, the user easily becomes the victim of ID Theft and Fraud.

The criminals who operate the scam sites with fake programs are very organized and all they want is the user’s money and credit card details. The cyber criminals pay a small percentage to the affiliates and use the credit card fraudulently.

What can the user do? Cancel their credit card and report that they have been the victim of fraud and possible Identity Theft.

Then comes the cleanup operation, which in most cases is relatively simple to those who have the knowledge, but not so easy for those who fall for these scams as they are frequently less ‘savvy’ and new to the internet.

It would be easy to criticize users for downloading scareware, rogue software, misleading applications or whatever you would like to call it. It’s up to the more experienced users to share knowledge and help others with sound advice and what tools to use that remove infections. It’s also important to educate users on prevention rather than cure.

Rogue applications are on the increase, especially after the Conficker variant that was released on April 1st. The criminals are cashing in on this and making a lot of money, it’s a very lucrative business and once they realize that they are being blacklisted, they change servers, change the product name and carry on.

At some point we were all new to the internet, many of us experiencing the damage that can be caused by viruses and malware, but now these criminals are a lot more intelligent and it’s not being peddled by ‘spotty faced geeks sitting in a basement’ who did it for fun, just to prove that they could.

Now, it is big business around the world, so before clicking a link, check it out and think twice. Together, we can all help others by sharing knowledge and educating users to help them avoid the pitfalls that await them.

We recommend that everyone download the Web of Trust Firefox Add-on. It will keep you safe from online scams, identity theft, spyware, spam, viruses and unreliable shopping sites. WOT warns you before you interact with a risky website. It’s easy and it’s free.

You can visit Colin’s Security blog at