Fake Anti-Virus Software a Major Problem According to Symantec

Fake security software was the primary security issue hitting computer users in 2009, according to a recently released report by Symantec. Also, Mac users have experienced an increase in number of victims of cyber crime as more users looked to store data on the Internet rather than on hard drives.

The U.S. remained as the primary country for “malicious activity”, with China and Brazil coming in second and third respectively. According to Vincent Weafer, vice president at Symantec, the most prevalent form of cyber crime was the use of fake anti-virus software (known as scareware) that tells a user their computer has been infected and that the user must download the fake anti-virus program immediately to clean their machine.

“Virtually everything we see today is fake AV,” Weafer told reporters at Reuters. “It’s such a money-making racket.”

The scam usually forces the unsuspecting user to pay for the fake anti-virus program. Weafer also warned that Mac users should become more wary as they move their data into a “cloud” environment.

“It’s the notion of ‘I’m on a Mac.’ Yes, you’re on a Mac but you’re in the cloud,” he said. “They’ve got to be as careful as anybody else.”

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