According to Dark Reading, it appears that the Korean government has officially requested police to investigate seven makers of antivirus and antispyware programs.
The charge? That they are actually "promulgating" spyware and viruses.
According to a report in today's Korea Times, the country's Ministry of Information and Communication is warning users that "many antivirus programs sold on the market are themselves acting as viruses, and some of them are cleverly ripping users off."
Some of the shanninigans that these software makers get into:
- About half of the 118 antispyware applications in the country are programmed to automatically charge the consumers after their initial contract expires
- Users are lured into downloading antispyware programs that are even harder to remove from a PC than the spyware itself
- Attackers warn users that their computers have been infected with spyware, then they direct them to purchase antispyware programs that may actually add more spyware of their own
No names of vendors were supplied by the ministry, citing on-going police investigations.
The bold emphasis in the above points are mine. But it is indeed ironic to have antispyware applications that are harder to remove than the actual spyware. Of course, nothing beats being tricked into paying for spyware!
The battle against spyware is an unending one. Though the full blame for a lot malware infection can be attributed to user stupidity, an increasing number of very sophisticated malware are starting to appear.