Why rogue software counts as cyber threat

Written by: Robyn on 22 November 2011

Fake security programs and fake system tools are dangerous. I always took this as an axiom till I have read this article: Macs need protection from malware, too. . . NOT! A Critique of the computer advice. While some statements on it may be true, the one about fake antispyware being harmless is rather confusing.

A rogue program rarely aims damaging files or stealing information on its own and it merely changes computer settings to trick people instead of changing them to deliver some malicious payload. Yet, fake software causes much trouble and leads to losing money which is its purpose and the main harm it brings.

Reasons why you shouldn’t take fake antispyware tools lightly:

• Fraudulent anti-spyware tools use lots of computer resources. While you may not mind several programs running at a time, each of them uses resources. The more are running, the slower a computer works. Having fake tool onboard means letting it delay other tasks. It’s like letting some prankster fill a street up with cardboard reconstruction signs and self-made ‘do not cross’ tapes to jam the traffic.

• Rogue programs target your money. They are not able to get into your online banking account, but they can be pretty convincing when it comes to making people give their money away. Even the most cyber security savvy users fall for that because the tools are designed to look trustworthy. They often look like they were a part of the operating system. Fake software is able to imitate system messages; this makes them look even more genuine. When ‘a computer says’ there is problem and you should pay for dealing with it, many people decide the ‘new feature/software’ is worth the money.

• Fake programs interrupt normal use of a computer. Pop-ups may seem to be little of a hazard but if you spend half of your time closing counterfeit notifications you are not really being productive. Since the rogue tools use system resources, they make a machine halt once in a while. And then they might come with additional payload such as redirecting web browser to deceptive sources with banners BUY THIS PROGRAM NOW all over the place instead of a websites you intend to visit.

Rogue programs are not viruses. However, they should be deleted as soon as possible unless you consider pop-ups to be an eye candy and you don’t mind paying for useless software. If you are not willing to let counterfeit applications feast on your computer, the Mac frauds are easy to delete manually. And if you are not comfortable or familiar with operating your computer in this way, let Mac security software do the job for you.

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