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A rogue version of Microsoft's free antimalware product, Microsoft Security Essentials, is making its way around the Internet by scaring users into buying a bogus security product.
Initially the rogue program portrays itself as Microsoft's legitimate free antimalware offering, MSE, which the company unveiled as a free consumer product at the end of 2008.
However, researchers at F-Secure, who first detected the rogue antivirus program, said that the alleged MSE program is actually scareware distributed via drive-by download attacks and completely unaffiliated with the Microsoft brand.
Scareware is a type of malware that tricks users into purchasing a fake security software program by claiming, often falsely, that their computer is infected with viruses, Trojans or other threats. The malware often promotes a bogus product as a way to eliminate the threat.
"It fools the user into downloading the program by saying it's able to clean the mysterious virus off of your machine, which of course, isn't there," said Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at Finnish security company F-Secure.