Fake Antivirus

A fake antivirus is a malware designed to appear like legitimate antimalware software to deceive people into downloading it to their systems. Once the user installs them, the fake antivirus will produce made-up malware warnings and false scan results to trick the user into believing their system is filled with harmful viruses. The scam here is to get to pay for the malware to be removed, but it can also involve a considerable threat to privacy. 

Examples of fake antiviruses

  • System Defender: This fake antivirus is notorious for its false claim of detecting several security risks with one catch: You have to pay for the app’s full version, which promises to remove the viruses. 
  • Internet Security Guard: This one sends fake security warnings and other scare tactics to force the user to buy a worthless license.

Fake antivirus vs. legitimate antivirus software

Fake antivirusReal antivirus
Shows fake security warnings to create a false sense of urgencyShows real-time threat warnings with real lists of the threats
Demands payment to rid the system of falsified security threatsProvides real updates and ongoing support from reputable developers
Can pose a real threat to the user’s system and privacyHelps in overall device protection and even blocks privacy threats

How to avoid fake antivirus software

  • Conduct adequate research before choosing antivirus software, ensuring it is also from well-established developers.
  • Be careful of any unsolicited pop-up ads or emails promising antivirus protection.