Beware of Disguised Malware

BILBAO, Spain — Beware of malware disguised as anti-virus software. The malicious coding is already said to have infected tens of millions of computers each month globally, with the numbers still rising.

PandaLabs released a report Wednesday that found 1,000 samples of fake antivirus software in the first quarter of 2008. In a year's time, the amount has grown to 111,000, CNET reports.

PandaLabs technical director Luis Corrons explained that in the second quarter of 2009, the total had reached 374,000, and said the firm has created a special team to deal with the cloaked malware.

The fake antivirus software issues false warnings of infections in order to get users to pay for unneeded software and the programs download a Trojan or other malware.

The PandaLabs study found that 3 to 5 percent of all the people who scanned their PCs with Panda antivirus software were infected. Also working with worldwide computer data from Forrester, PandaLabs estimates as many as 35 million computers could be infected per month with the rogue antivirus programs.

Those concerned they might have downloaded such malware, should employ all anti-virus scans available immediately.