Internet users are being warned about downloading fake anti-virus products, following the discovery of a malicious Trojan horse that is posing as a free copy of Norton AntiVirus 2008, via Google ads.
According to Sophos, the ads are being presented to Internet users who search for "free antivirus", leading them to a professional-looking website that claims to offer an anti-virus product for download.
The website attempts to lure visiting computer users into installing a Trojan horse, Troj/FakeAV-AD, which will then present fake security alerts and urge users to purchase a "full version" of the software.
"After pornography, 'free antivirus' appears to be one of the most popular things that people search for on the Internet. But dangerous adverts like this can make a poor security choice all too easy," says Brett Myroff, CEO of regional Sophos distributor, Sophos South Africa.
"There is a real problem with hackers using paid-for search engine adverts to bring traffic to their websites, with the ultimate aim of conning people out of money. Symantec, the makers of Norton AntiVirus, are unlikely to be amused by this abuse of their brand name – but that will be little comfort for innocent people who end up with an infected computer," he adds.