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Panda Security’s weekly report on viruses and intruders

December 2009 by Panda Security

SafetyAntispyware and InternetSecurity 2010 are malicious programs that try to pass themselves off as legitimate software applications in order to steal users’ money by tricking them into believing that they will eliminate threats that actually do not exist. For more information about this type of malware read "The Business of Rogueware", a report on fake antivirus programs written by Luis Corrons and Sean-Paul Correll, PandaLabs researchers.

SafetyAntispyware tricks users by warning them their computers are infected by (non-existent) threats, prompting them to buy a program to remove them.

This program can be downloaded from the vendor’s site. The link can reach users through spam messages, fraudulent Web pages, etc. The fake antivirus shows an icon similar to that of real antivirus programs. Once installed, the program interface opens and runs a full system scan looking for malware.

Then, it shows a series of messages prompting the targeted user to buy the product.

If the user decides to follow the program instructions to get rid of the ‘threats’, they will be asked to enter an activation code and be redirected to a website to buy the product.

Once run, InternetSecurity 2010 scans the computer for malware. However, this is a fake scan that always reports that the computer is infected.

Then, it offers users the possibility of disinfecting the computer. As the fake antivirus version is supposedly a trial version, users are first requested to buy the antivirus license. To this end, the malware opens the user’s Internet browser on the fake antivirus purchase page.

To reassure users that the purchase is safe and the antivirus is legitimate, it shows certificates of authenticity and claims to have been tested by McAfee. It even offers the antivirus license for a long time, apparently at a good price. See an image here:

If the user decides not to purchase the antivirus, it will keep running and displaying warnings about the threats the user is exposed to if they remain infected and do not update the antivirus. These warnings are displayed in two ways: through warnings on the toolbar or on-screen pop-up messages.

Banker.MAI is banker malware aimed at stealing banking data, credentials and/or credit card details when users try to log in to their online banking services.

This malware goes memory resident and does not show any symptoms that warn of its presence on the affected computer. The malware works in the background, waiting to be run, and send or receive data.

Banker.MAI arrives as a self-extracting RAR file attached to an email message, usually with the subject "Comprovante Deposito-29092009". This email message appears to come from a legitimate banking institution, and asks the user to open the attached file to enter some necessary data. If the user opens the file they will become infected.

The malware creator is notified via email whenever a computer is successfully infected.

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