Rogue Security Software

Warning: Watch out for fake virus alerts

A few of the other programs that are referred to as “rogue security software” claim to remove spyware but are themselves spyware.

Never install “spyware-removal” software that you see advertised on pop-up windows without checking it out first. See the Spyware Warrior page for a list of suspicious products.

What does rogue security software do?

(The following information is from Microsoft’s website. Click here to read the full article about fake virus alerts on Microsoft’s website.)

Rogue security software might report a virus, even though your computer is actually clean. The software might also fail to report viruses when your computer is infected. Inversely, sometimes, when you download rogue security software, it will install a virus or other malicious software on your computer so that the software has something to detect.

Some rogue security software might also:

  • Lure you into a fraudulent transaction (for example, upgrading to a non-existent paid version of a program).
  • Use social engineering to steal your personal information.
  • Install malware that can go undetected as it steals your data.
  • Launch pop-up windows with false or misleading alerts.
  • Slow your computer or corrupt files.
  • Disable Windows updates or disable updates to legitimate antivirus software.
  • Prevent you from visiting antivirus vendor websites.

Here’s an example of rogue security software known as “AntivirusXP” that’s disguised as a Microsoft alert but DOES NOT come from Microsoft:


Below is a screenshot of the legitimate Microsoft Windows Security Center provided by Microsoft: