What’s a Rogue – And Why Do You Need to Know?

by Erin on February 1st, 2010 in Industry and Security News, Security Tips.

You may not be familiar with the term ‘rogue software’ but there’s a very good chance that you or someone you know either has experienced it, or will in the near future. Keep reading for a look at a few important pieces of information on rogues that may help to keep you, your friends or your family from falling for this growing malware threat.


What are rogues? Rogues are fake security software – programs that masquerade as legitimate software needed to secure or protect your PC. Essentially, they are malware, pretending to be genuine Internet security programs. They aim to steal your money and private information, or expose you to other high risk cyber threats.

Just how big and bad is the rogue problem? According to our malware analysts here at Lavasoft, the rise of rogues has been dramatic over the past years, and that upward trend has only continued in the last few months. The graphic, below, illustrates the swelling numbers of rogue security software invading the Internet, showing the amount of rogue programs discovered by Lavasoft Malware Labs per year since 2005.

How can you stay safe from these rogue programs? Here are a few top ways:

  • Read the February 2010 Lavasoft News for in-depth news on rogues including facts on how they spread, examples of their bad online behavior, and prevention tips. Be sure to pass on the information to those you think may benefit from it – it just may save them from falling for a fake.
  • Use a trusted security program, like Ad-Aware, which detects and removes rogues. If you know that you have genuine anti-malware software on your PC, you can safely ignore other ‘security alerts’ you receive that aren't from your chosen security provider.
  • Be skeptical and don’t be bullied by scare tactics. When in doubt about a certain program, you can access experts at the Lavasoft Support Forums or refer to Lavasoft’s database of rogue security software at the Rogue Gallery.

For those interested in more technical details on rogues, Malware Labs has a whitepaper available: “Fraud Tools and the Malware Economy.”