The Nocebo Effect on the Web: An Analysis of Fake Anti-Virus Distribution

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Executive Summary

The authors present a study of Fake Anti-Virus attacks on the web. Fake AV software masquerades as a legitimate security product with the goal of deceiving victims into paying registration fees to seemingly remove malware from their computers. The analysis of 240 million web pages collected by Google's malware detection infrastructure over a 13 month period discovered over 11,000 domains involved in Fake AV distribution. The authors show that the Fake AV threat is rising in prevalence, both absolutely, and relative to other forms of web-based malware.

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