McAfee's "Dirty Dozen" List Calls Out Fake AV and Utility Programs

Paul Lilly

How many times have you been called to fix a PC that was invested with malware, only to discover that the user fell for one of the oldest tricks in the malware Bible, fake AV and utility programs? It's a common occurrence because, well, it simply works. Fake AV programs disguised as legitimate security software is getting tougher to discern from the real deal, and that's bad news for less savvy computer users. Security vendor McAfee put together a "Dirty Dozen" list of the most common fake AV software and utilities, and some of the entries might just surprise you.

McAfee's Dirty Dozen list, according to the security firm's Virus Removal Service, is as follows:

  • AntiVirus Scan
  • Anti Vira AV
  • System Tool
  • Smart Internet Protection 2011
  • Fast Disk
  • Good Memory
  • Disk Optimizer
  • AVG AntiVirus
  • Palladium Pro
  • Windows System Optimizer
  • Windows Security & Control
  • Windows Utility Tool

McAfee Labs identified more than 20 million new pieces of malware in 2010, and if you punch that into a calculator, it breaks down to almost 55,000 new malware threats every day.

"More specifically, McAfee Labs discovered approximately 200,000 unique fake alert samples in December 2010 alone," a McAfee spokesperson told Maximum PC in an email. "Cybercriminals prey on consumers' fears that their computer will become infected by creating malware in the form of fake security products with extremely generic names like 'AntiVirus Scan' or 'System Tool,' and even exploit real brand names like Windows, AVG, and Avira."

McAfee's preaching to the choir when it comes to Maximum PC readers, but hey, if nothing else, it wouldn't hurt to pass this list along to your own 'Dirty Dozen,' those being the ones you most frequently find yourself fixing their PC.

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