Fake virus warnings

Someone called me earlier, because she had a big virus warning on her screen. This was actually a hoax (a web page trying to install malware), and it’s useful to be aware of it so that you know what to recognise.

I identified the website which was responsible, but it’s now been taken down. So, the purpose of this post is to warn you about similar sites rather than this site in particular. I observed the same behaviour in IE8 and Firefox 3.6.12 (on Windows 7), but I haven’t tried any other OS/browser.

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Downloader-UA.h

There have been a couple of virus warnings in the news today:
Half a million infections of latest Trojan (MSN)
Fake media file snares PC users (BBC)

The basic gist is that there are fake mp3/mpeg files circulating on peer-to-peer filesharing networks. I.e. if you use a program like LimeWire to download a music file or video clip, you may not actually get what you thought. Instead, when you try to play the file, it installs adware on your machine.

I’m sure that I’ll have several people contacting me about this tomorrow, so how bad is it?

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