Total Security 2009: Total Scam (Ransomware)

Dennis Faas's picture

What's worse than downloading fake antivirus software and paying to "clean" your system of a virus that never existed in the first place?

How about being locked out of your PC and having your files held for a $79.95 ransom?

Malware Peddlers Up the Ante with Ransomware

In the past, malware peddlers cashed in after coaxing innocent people into purchasing fake software they don't need. In an effort to spike profits, however, malware scammers are now upping the ante by infecting PCs and demanding users pay a set ransom to retrieve their files and documents.

All it takes is 1 wrong click or a visit to a malicious website and your PC could become infected.

Total Security 2009: Total Scam

One particular rogue antivirus program (Total Security 2009) assumes control and restricts access to your PC until you purchase a serial number from them.

The software becomes, essentially, a double-edged sword. Those who purchase the serial number (with the price currently hovering around the $79.95 mark) will re-gain access to their computer, but will be stuck with the unwanted and, for all intents-and-purposes, unsafe, scamming software. (Source:

Unfortunately, attempts at bypassing the fake warnings have proven unsuccessful. Instead, fake pop-up warnings will appear claiming that any file the user opens is infected. The only resolution, the user is led to believe, is to purchase the rogue software to alleviate the problem.

Surprisingly, attempts at holding files hostage (otherwise known as Ransomware) has existed for years now, but its spread has been confined to select online black markets. Still, this contemporary form of "ware" (to accompany the infamous list of malware, spyware, scareware, etc.) presents an even more disturbing twist to yet another layer of dubious "safety measures".

Panda to the Rescue

Victims of a Total Security 2009 Ransomware attack need not fret for too long. Antivirus maker Panda Security has stepped in to offer assistance, posting a whole batch of serial numbers that will trick the fake app into unlocking your files without the fee. (Source:

Panda does warn, however, that these rogue companies are constantly changing their numbers in an effort to stay ahead of the "real" security companies, so running legitimate antivirus programs as often as possible is always going to be the most immediate prevention tool.

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