By Charles Leaver

When looking for protection from malware, don’t buy a fraud

Defending against malware is a very real need. But don’t do it by investing in a fake solution. Unfortunately for more than 30,000 customers, it’s too late – they were duped by a purported malware defender that was, in fact, a hoax.

How a fake antivirus app became the real deal
People are always looking for ways to safeguard their various computing devices. And so when they saw that an app called “Virus Shield” was available on Google Play, many evidently thought that it looked like the perfect means of alleviating their security concerns, according to The Guardian. So people started paying the $4 to install it. Between its launch on March 28 and its shutdown on April 6, the day it was shut down, the app’s developer earned thousands of dollars from customers eager to have a malware quick-fix. According to Android Police, the app reached the top of the New Paid App chart on Google Play, and quickly garnered a 4.7 out of 5 rating.

So what was all this hype for? Absolutely nothing, as it turns out. The app was discovered to be a scam. Despite telling users that it was performing tasks like scanning other apps and preventing malware incursions, all it was really doing was presenting users with a box that changed from “X” to a “Check” mark – giving them a false sense of comfort that their computing was secure.

In an interview with The Guardian, the person who oversaw the app, Jesse Carter, said there was no malicious intent behind it.

“The app … was not intended to be released,” Carter said. “It was an early placeholder that our ui designer created. There was a mix-up between the version that contained the antivirus code for our app.” According to Carter, the development team behind the app intends to fully refund all purchases.

The solution: be careful about selecting endpoint protection
As the “Virus Shield” example illustrates, the Internet is rife with hoaxes. But hoaxes can only succeed if people believe them. And as if often the case with Internet computing – and just humans in general – people believe what they want. Still, guarding a person or a business from attack requires more than a cheap app. For companies that want to succeed, a robust endpoint security infrastructure is absolutely imperative to ensure optimal operations.

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