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Don't download this fake anti-virus app

Don't download this fake anti-virus app
Image courtesy of Shutterstock

I've been telling you for years to install and update anti-virus software to keep your gadgets safe. It looks like the Web's shady underbelly was listening, too. This app stole a trustworthy brand's name, but it's actually a fake.

Software company avast! has a solid reputation for delivering products that guard against viruses, malware and hackers. If you were to search for avast! anti-virus's browser extension in Google's Chrome Web Store, then you might end up with a fake. You wouldn't be alone, though, because thousands of other people have already fallen for this weird trick.

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Searching for "avast!" on the Chrome Web Store will bring you two different "versions" of the app. Here's a picture taken from avast!'s blog.

http://blog.avast.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/chrome_web_store_hl.png

Have you spotted the fake yet? You guessed right, it's the one made by "aydnyilmaz9." The story doesn't quite end there.

I expected to talk about a security threat when I heard about this story and - get this - it turns out that this fake is harmless.

The creator of this fraudulent app took steps to make it look authentic.

http://blog.avast.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/fake_extension.png

Pretty convincing image, right? Well, all that happens after you download the app is that a fake avast! icon is added to your browser. When you click the icon, you're taken to a landing page with all of the other fake apps that made by the avast! fraudster.

I did a little research beyond avast!'s coverage, and I think I understand why someone would post a safe-ish browser extension that links to a site called Extension Factory. The site pays users to trick people into installing browser extensions for cash.

Bonus tip: Remove unwanted extensions from any browser

In this case, I suspect that the user was hoping that you'd install more of his browser extensions, because clicking fake avast! icon would lead you to here:

http://blog.avast.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/developers_apps.png

Here are just some of the apps for this tricky scammer hopes you'll install.

Here's the bottom line.  Always be aware of where links are taking you. Don't just trust the name of the link or the logo.

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Source: avast! Blog
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