March 1, 2009

Malware Remover Affiliates Using Deceptive Advertising

So I was trolling around the Internet looking for rogue security software and found a site that has *free* in the name which made me want to take a closer look. The site is When visiting the site you'll see the phrase "Free Malware Removal" all throughout the site. When looking through the HTML code you'll also see references to "free malware removal" and "free" in the meta tags. No big deal, right?

Well the gotcha is when you attempt to download the software you are given a PayPal page requiring you to pay $24.99 for the download - what happened to FREE?

I started suspecting that this was a website advertising fake or rogue security software but when I looked closer and found a claim stating they are an affiliate of Malwarebytes. I assume they mean which is a legitimate software company. The graphic of their product even shows Malwarebytes but they could have ripped that off the legitimate site or even designed it themselves. I couldn't seem to find any other links or references to the Malwarebytes folks - all I find is "Las Vegas Computer Repar" at the bottom of the main page. If this really is a Malwarebytes affiliate than the Malwarebytes folks should have a conversation with this affiliates about their practices. If this is not affiliate than it's likely a rogue security application.

Now I know this is a tame example of using deceptive advertising compared with the techniques being used by the thousands of fake security programs out there but this is just another example of how legitimate software companies need to manage their affiliates better because it can reflect poorly on them directly.

The poor practices by this affiliate are:
* Using the word *free* in their domain name when they are not offering any sort of free product
* Using the phrase "free malwaral removal" all throughout the site when that's not true

I recommend staying away from this website.

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