Symantec, maker of Norton computer security software, has issued a warning that tens of millions of computer users have unknowingly downloaded “security software” that in fact is endangering the security of their computers.
Cybercrime continues to be a hot topic of discussion throughout the world as “cyberthieves” find more ways to steal your identity, perpetuate scams, and spread viruses.
The most recent and very prevalent form of cybercrime is committed by using pop-up windows to warn users of viruses, and to offer virus software that users can download, often for free, to increase safety on the internet.
"Lots of times, in fact they're a conduit for attackers to take over your machine," said Vincent Weafer, Symantec's vice president for security response.
"They'll take your credit card information, any personal information you've entered there and they've got your machine," he said, referring to some rogue software's ability to rope a users' machine into a botnet, a network of machines taken over to send spam or worse.
Symantec has found more than 250 varieties of this “security” software that approximately 43 million computer users have attempted to download. The actual number of computers that are likely infected with these forms of spyware and other forms cyberthievery are in the tens of millions.
One of the scariest things about this report is that cyberthieves are becoming much more sophisticated. We’re no longer looking at the individual computer hacker. Sales of malicious security software has been found in the increasingly popular 'work from home' scams that have become so prevalent in recent years.
TrafficConverter.biz, which has been shut down, had been boasting that their top affiliates had been earning as much as $332,000 per month selling scam security software.
The moral of this story is BEWARE. Check out what you are downloading before you hit that download button.