Users need to steer clear of Microsoft Security Essentials Alert. Simply because Microsoft Security Essentials Alert has nothing to do with either Microsoft Security Essentials 1.0 or MSE 2.0, which is currently in Beta testing phase.
Instead Microsoft Security Essentials Alert is a rogue antivirus. This is of course not the first time when attackers are copying Microsoft’s genuine free version of its security solution for Windows.
Some Softpedia readers might still remember that Security Essentials 2010 was another fake antivirus that was attempting to piggy back ride Microsoft Security Essentials.
However, with Microsoft Security Essentials Alert have taken it one step further, by replicating the legitimate Microsoft Security Essentials details.
Attackers are simply attempting to give their fake antivirus a feeling of authenticity. The best way for them to fool victims into thinking that their rogue AV is a legitimate product is to replicate as closely as possible the look and feel of the genuine security solution, in this case Microsoft Security Essentials.
Microsoft Security Essentials Alert features not only a similar brand to Microsoft’s free antivirus, but also elements of the UI (user interface) and even style elements such as the icon.
But whereas Microsoft Security Essentials 1.0 is an actual security solution, Microsoft Security Essentials Alert is not.
In fact, Microsoft Security Essentials Alert actually infects computers, and attempts to scare customers into thinking that their computers are infected with an Unknown Win32/Trojan. (via BleepingComputer)
The scareware is designed to trick users into paying money for one of five rogue AV programs, including Red Cross Antivirus, Peak Protection 2010, Pest Detector 4.1, Major Defense Kit and AntiSpySafeguard or AntiSpy Safeguard.
The social engineering trick is to make victims believe that their machines have been compromised and that the fake AV offered is the only one capable of removing the threat.
In reality there is no threat. And Microsoft Security Essentials Alert is not only completely useless but also malicious. Although it masquerades as the legitimate MSE, Microsoft Security Essentials Alert doesn’t feature any real AV capabilities, and is incapable of removing actual threats, let alone the inexistent malware that it is actually reporting.
At the same, Microsoft Security Essentials Alert will terminate a range of programs such as Internet Explorer claiming that they are infected, and will flood users with fake security warnings.
Here are some examples:
“The application taskmgr.exe was launched successfully but it was forced to shut down due to security reasons.
“This happened because the application was infected by a malicious program which might pose a threat for the OS.
“It is highly recommended to install the necessary heuristic module and perform a full scan of your computer to exterminate malicious programs from it.”
Or, “Warning! Database updated failed! Database update failed!
“Outdated viruses database are not effective can't guarantee adequate protection and security for your PC! Click here to get the full version of the product and update the database!
And “Warning! Running trial version!
“The security of your computer has been compromised! Now running trial version of the software! Click here to purchase the full version of the software and get full protection for your PC!”
None of these warning are valid. Users need to ignore them completely, and not pay a single cent for whatever fake AV Microsoft Security Essentials Alert is offering.
Remember, the legitimate Microsoft Security Essentials is completely free of charge for customers running genuine Windows copies.
The Redmond company will not as Windows users any money for Microsoft Security Essentials 1.0 or for Microsoft Security Essentials 2.0 (currently in Beta).
Microsoft Security Essentials is available for download here.