ESET warns of global wave of HTML/FakeAlert malware

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ESET has detected a new global campaign using the HTML/FakeAlert malware first seen in December, 2009. The designation is the generic detection name created by ESET for bogus web pages showing made-up, fake alert messages, usually about dummy virus infections or some other technical problems.

Typically used as a starting point for so called Support Scams, users’ fall victim by making expensive premium or international calls or by having other malware installed on their computers via “recommended” but fake, security programs found on the (fake) alert page.

After years of marginal activity, HTML/FakeAlert malware began showing higher prevalence levels in Q2 2016. On September, 17th, 2016, it reached 2.05 % of the global infection ratio, an all-time high.

The current campaign, analyzed here from (5th Sept. to 5th Oct.), stands out because France features as the country with the highest share of infection at 24.98%, followed by bi-lingual Canada at 24.78%, the U.S. with 15.43%, and the UK with 10.40%. Interestingly, Spain also charts with 8.98%.

“Support scams have long been a very popular way to dupe English-speaking users who make up a large and thus economically viable target, in this case we also see the targeting of other large language groups.” comments ESET IT Security Specialist EMEA, Ondrej Kubovic.

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