How to avoid rogue security software

What can you do to help prevent the spread of rogues and make sure that rogue software vendors stop profiting from their unscrupulous business? Follow these tips below to tell what’s real and what’s not when it comes to security software – and share them with friends and family who may be vulnerable to rogue threats.

1. Do not fall for scare tactics. While browsing sites, be cautious of pop-ups warning you that your system is infected and offering a product to clean it up. Never pay for a program that installed itself to your computer. This is a hallmark of rogue software.

2. Use security software with real-time protection and keep it up-to-date. If you know that you have anti-virus, anti-spyware, and a firewall on your PC, you can safely ignore security alerts you receive that do not come from your chosen security software provider. (Rogue security software will often try to lure computer uses by using legitimate looking pop-up messages that appear to be security alerts.) Also, most anti-malware programs will help keep you protected from rogues because they can detect and remove these programs.

3. Access experts at security forums and ask about the software you are considering before you decide to purchase it.

4. Read the software reviews at reputable sites like Download.com. Do not blindly trust individual sites offering security products.

5. Ask knowledgeable friends and family members about quality software they use. Keep in mind that when you search for trustworthy security software online, rogue products can, and often do, appear in the search results list.

6. Practice online skepticism. Be aware that rogue security software does exist on the Web, and be vigilant about avoiding it. These programs are designed to appear genuine – meaning they may mimic legitimate programs, use false awards and reviews to rope you in, or employ other deceptive tactics. It’s also a good idea to familiarize yourself with common phishing scams, and to be cautious of links in e-mail messages and on social networking sites.

Author: Erin Earley, editor of Lavasoft News.