In case you haven’t heard – Microsoft and the Washington state are suing a U.S based — naturally — “scareware” vendor Branch Software :
“We won’t tolerate the use of alarmist warnings or deceptive ‘free scans’ to trick consumers into buying software to fix a problem that doesn’t even exist,” Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna said. “We’ve repeatedly proven that Internet companies that prey on consumers’ anxieties are within our reach.“
Sadly, Branch Software is the tip of the iceberg on the top of the affiliates participating in different affiliation based programs, which similar to IBSOFTWARE CYPRUS and Interactivebrands, which I’ve been tracking down for a while, are the aggregators of scareware that popped up on the radars due to their extensive portfolios. These three companies offering software bundles or plain simple fake software, are somewhere in between the food chain of this ecosystem, with the real vendors paying out the commissions on a per installation basis slowly starting to issue invitation codes that they’ve distributed only across invite-only forums/sections of particular forums.
Behind these brands is everyone that is participating in the franchise and is putting personal efforts into monetizing the high payout rates that the fake security software vendor is paying for successful installation. These high payout rates — with the financing naturally coming straight from other criminal activities online — are in fact so high, that I can easily say that the last two quarters we’ve witnesses the largest increase of such domains ever, and they’re only heating up since the typosquatting possibilities are countless and they seem to know that as well.
It’s important to point out that their business model of acquiring traffic is outsourced to all the affiliates that do the blackhat SEO, SQL injections, web sessions hijacking of malware infected hosts in order to monetize, so basically, you have an affiliates network whose actions are directly driving the growth into all these areas. Throwing money into the underground marketplace as a “financial injection”, is proving itself as a growth factor, and incentive for innovation on behalf of all the participants.
Here are some of the most recent fake security software domains, a “deja vu” moment with a known RBN domain from a “previous life” that is also parked at one of the servers, and evidence that typosquatting for fraudulent purposes is still pretty active with a dozen of Norton Antivirus related domains, some of which have already started issuing “fake security notices” by brandjacking the vendor for traffic acquisition purposes.
Antivirus-Alert .com (18.104.22.168) where pepato .org a domain that was used in the Wired.com and History.com IFRAME injections, which back in March was also hosted at Hostfresh (22.214.171.124).
softload2008name .com (126.96.36.199)
microantivir-2009 .com (188.8.131.52)
ms-scan .com (184.108.40.206)
Personalantispy .com (220.127.116.11)
ieprogramming .com (18.104.22.168)
Fake Antivirus Inc. is not going away as long as the affiliate based model remains active. If the real vendors were greedy enough not to share the revenues with others, they would have been the one popping up on the radar, compared to the situation where it’s the affiliate network’s participations greed that’s increasing their visibility online.
A Diverse Portfolio of Fake Security Software – Part Six
A Diverse Portfolio of Fake Security Software – Part Five
A Diverse Portfolio of Fake Security Software – Part Four
A Diverse Portfolio of Fake Security Software – Part Three
A Diverse Portfolio of Fake Security Software – Part Two
Diverse Portfolio of Fake Security Software
Cybersquatting Symantec’s Norton AntiVirus
Cybersquatting Security Vendors for Fraudulent Purposes
Fake Porn Sites Serving Malware – Part Three
Fake Porn Sites Serving Malware – Part Two
Fake Porn Sites Serving Malware
EstDomains and Intercage VS Cybercrime
Fake Security Software Domains Serving Exploits
Localized Fake Security Software
Got Your XPShield Up and Running?
Fake PestPatrol Security Software
RBN’s Fake Security Software
Lazy Summer Days at UkrTeleGroup Ltd
Geolocating Malicious ISPs
The Malicious ISPs You Rarely See in Any Report