Antivirus Pro: Recognizing Rogue from Real

By: Ms Mindy Matter

Rogue antivirus programs exist for one reason: to convince computer users to purchase their expensive, and ultimately useless, software. They do this through a variety of means and under different names, but they typically behave in very similar ways. If we can recognize the characteristics of programs like Antivirus Pro, we can avoid them more easily and keep our computers running in top form.

What is Antivirus Pro?

Antivirus Pro, also known as Antivirus Pro 2009, is a typical rogue antivirus program. It uses incessant pop-ups and false security scans in order to persuade computer users to purchase its full version. The scans, which are nothing but disguised ads, reveal a list of infections and threats. Antivirus Pro, the warnings say, is the only program that can resolve your security issues. Remember, thought, these risks do not exist. Buying the full version of Antivirus Pro does not fix your computer or protect it from malware. In fact, it may create further problems in your system. It is best to avoid these pop-ups and warnings and never to pay for this false protection.

Is Antivirus Pro Installed in My System?

There are several indicators that a rogue antivirus program like Antivirus Pro has been installed in your computer. The one that will grab your attention first is the influx of pop-up ads and warning messages. These are cleverly designed to mimic those of legitimate antivirus programs. While they can be very frightening at times, it’s important not to panic when you see one. Sometimes they look like Windows Notification Balloons. These often have text that warns of a Privacy Alert or something similar, and they almost always suggest Antivirus Pro 2009 as the only possible solution. Clicking, of course, leads you directly to the sales page for the program so you can install the full version.

It is essential to recognize Antivirus Pro for what it is. The false scan results have Antivirus Pro or Antivirus Pro 2009 in the upper left corner. Beside it is a shield symbol, very closely resembling that of a reputable virus scan program. It tells you that your protection level is low and your security devices, such as automatic updating and firewalls, are disabled. The scan results list a variety of “infected” programs. There are no infections – these files are created by Antivirus Pro to create the appearance of security threats. A typical pop-up alert will say the following:

Trojan detected!
A piece of malicious code was found on your system which can
replicate itself if no action is taken. Click here to have your
system cleaned by Antivirus Pro 2009.

These programs are effective because they use people’s concern about the safety of their systems to urge them to buy false protection. They also borrow the look of legitimate programs, making it doubly important to look at any pop-up or warning very carefully. With well crafted results windows and scan windows in general, it can be tough to tell the difference sometimes.

Another very noticeable sign that Antivirus Pro is installed on your computer is changed browser settings. This program is able to modify your host file so your homepage may be replaced with an Antivirus Pro website. It is also common to be redirected when you attempt to run a search or navigate to a website. In some cases, a warning page like this will say “Insecure Internet Activity. Threat of Virus Attack” at the top of the page. In most instances, it goes on to recommend protecting the PC by clicking on the option below. It also often offers an option to continue unprotected, but usually clicking either of them redirects you to a purchase page for the software itself. You will then be encouraged to buy Antivirus Pro’s full version. If this is happening, do not click on the ads or purchase Antivirus Pro. Just close the browser and start over.

When Antivirus Pro is in your system long-term, it may cause dramatically slower performance. Even routine tasks that should be completed in fractions of a second take much longer. Opening documents, switching browser windows, or connecting to websites may be delayed. Slow performance can be caused by a number of factors, but if experienced along with pop-ups and browser changes, it points to a rogue antivirus program. Antivirus Pro may also allow other forms of malware to enter. The presence of a rogue program signals to other trojans to enter. To avoid issues created by this and other malware, it is important to remove Antivirus Pro completely.

Protecting your computer is important, but Antivirus Pro will not do that. Keep system in good health by routinely scanning for malware and keeping your legitimate antivirus programs up-to-date. If you notice signs of Antivirus Pro or another rogue antivirus program, take immediate steps to remove it.

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