The Symantec Report on Rogue Security Software is an in-depth analysis of rogue security software programs. A rogue security software program is a type of misleading application that pretends to be legitimate security software, such as an antivirus scanner or registry cleaner, but which actually provides a user with little or no protection and, in some cases, can actually facilitate the installation of malicious code that it purports to protect against.
The perpetrators of these rogue security software scams are well-equipped to prey on Internet users. Many of these scams are very lucrative and appear to be run by highly organized groups or individuals who maintain an effective distribution network bolstered by multi-level marketing efforts. These scams employ a full range of advertising and distribution techniques to ensnare potential victims, while offering substantial profit for scam distributors, given that advertised costs for these products range from $30 to $100. In total, Symantec has detected over 250 distinct rogue security software programs.
During the period of this report, from July 1, 2008, to June 30, 2009, Symantec received reports of 43 million rogue security software installation attempts from over 250 distinct samples. Of the top 50 most reported rogue security software programs that were analyzed for this report, 38 of the programs were detected prior to July 1, 2008. The continued prevalence of these programs emphasizes the ongoing threat they pose to potential victims despite efforts to shut them down and raise public awareness.