Use of fake anti-virus software is a fast-growing scam, especially since people are so aware of the dangers of spyware, adware and malware. Scammers often use the names of well-known companies that specialise in computer security software – such as AVG, Norton, Bullguard, McAfee etc - to gain your trust. The pop-up adverts are almost exact replicas of genuine warning alerts generated by these legitimate security manufacturers - once you click the warning, your computer is infected.
The aim of this scam is to charge you for bogus software and/or obtain your personal information. Once your computer is infected, the scammer is able to gather information to steal your identity or to sell it to other criminals.
Fake virus alerts are usually generated by a Trojan — a program that takes control of your computer after you open an email attachment, click on a pop-up advert or visit a particular website. Sometimes the Trojan creates “false positive” readings, making you believe viruses and spyware have infected your computer, even though nothing has. In other cases, scam software actually implants malicious code into your computer, especially if you request a “free virus scan.”
So how do you know if you have been infected with malware: