Beat Rogues: 6 Simple Steps

by Erin on November 6th, 2008 in Security Tips.

Rogue software on the web is rising at record rates. Judging from the "Ballot Box" poll on our homepage, where a clear majority of respondents admit being the victim of rogue security and anti-malware software, it's growing increasingly difficult for consumers to tell the difference between legitimate and rogue software.

On that note, here are 6 simple tactics we've compiled to help keep you from falling for fakes:

1. Do not fall for scare tactics. While browsing sites, be cautious of pop-ups warning you that your system is infected and offering a product to clean it up. Never pay for a program that installed itself to your computer. This is a hallmark of rogue software.
2. Use security software and keep it up-to-date. If you know that you have anti-virus, anti-spyware, and a firewall on your PC, you can safely ignore security alerts you receive that do not come from your chosen security software provider. (Rogue security software will often try to lure computer uses by using legitimate looking pop-up messages that appear to be security alerts.) Also, most anti-spyware programs, like Ad-Aware 2008, will help keep you protected from rogues because they can find and detect these programs.
3. Access experts at the Lavasoft Support Forums or other security forums and ask about the software you are considering before you decide to purchase it.
4. Read the software reviews at reputable sites like Download.com. Do not blindly trust individual sites offering security products. You can also refer to reputable lists of trustworthy anti-spyware programs, like the one on SpywareWarrior.com.
5. Ask knowledgeable friends and family members about quality software they use. Keep in mind that when you search for trustworthy security software online, rogue products can, and often do, appear in the search results list.
6. Practice online skepticism. Be aware that rogue security software does exist on the Web, and be vigilant about avoiding it. These programs are designed to appear genuine - meaning they may mimic legitimate programs, use false awards and reviews to rope you in, or employ other deceptive tactics.

To learn more about rogue security software, take a look at the November issue of Lavasoft News, with information from Lavasoft researchers on the dramatic increase in these programs.