Friday, December 4, 2009

Thanksgiving Webcam Promo Leads to Malware

The $10 Webcam that Anna Giesman bought her daughter at Office Depot over the Thanksgiving weekend sounds like one of those deals that's too good to be true. And for her, it was.

A week later, she's worried and upset because a CD that came with the camera contained a Web link that apparently infected her PC with fake antivirus software.

Her story shows how easily malware can get onto the computers of unsuspecting consumers in an era when cyber-criminals are becoming expert at hacking legitimate Web sites to prey on their visitors.

Giesman bought the camera in order to give her daughter a way to chat over the Internet with a friend who had just moved to Germany. When she put the CD that came with the Markvision Magnetic Webcam into her PC, a menu popped up offering her drivers as well as a link to Markvision's site. Wanting to learn more about the product, she clicked on the Web link, but she immediately knew something was wrong.

The Web page was blank, and her PC immediately popped up a window telling her she needed to upgrade her Windows software. When she clicked on the red "X" to dismiss the window, another popped up that made it look like her computer was being scanned. That scan was blocked by her McAfee antivirus program, but Giesman was still worried.

Panicked, she shut down the computer and called Office Depot. Their support technicians told her to try a free antivirus program -- Avast -- which then identified rogue antivirus files on her computer. Computerworld

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