Security expert Avira
is reminding computer users to exercise caution to keep mischievous
leprechauns from infecting their computers and smartphones this St.
Patrick's day. In fact, several scams and hacks in past years have been
inspired by the holiday:
In 2011, at the height of Zynga FarmVille frenzy, some players were
fooled by the 'Leprechaun's Cottage' scam which appeared in their news
feeds showing a golden harp and promising in-game gold. Players who
clicked on the link ended up merely spamming all of their Facebook
friends with the same scam.
The first known virus written in Gaelic (that is what the Irish language
is called) was a ransomware scam called Gaelige. It struck in September
of 2012. The ransomware told infected users that the victim's computer
was used to view illegal pornography, and it would put their computer
into a fictitious 'shut down mode' until a fine was paid.
Leprechaun.exe is an unfortunately-named executable file that is
arguably either a Trojan program used for stealing passwords and bank
information, or a legitimate program (but prone to causing DLL errors)
that attracted dozens of fake antivirus programs to help victims remove
it - and unknowingly download more malware in the process.
"In many ways, the mischievous leprechaun epitomizes the traits of the
malevolent hacker. These scams might appear silly, but people fell for
them and were victimized," said Sorin Mustaca, IT security expert at
Avira. "Computer users should be aware that major events like holidays
and natural catastrophes tend to spur Internet scam artists into action
to prey on people who let down their guard. Use antivirus software,
along with a dose of common sense, and you'll be fine."
More than 100 million consumers and small businesses depend upon Avira's
security expertise and award-winning antivirus software, making the
company the number-two market share leader globally. Avira is ranked #1
in technology innovation according to ABI Research; recommended by Consumer
Reports for its free antivirus software; cited by OPSWAT as the #1
fastest-growing antivirus vendor in 2012 and the #2 largest
vendor worldwide in 2011; and has received a nearly unbroken string
of Virus Bulletin VB100 awards for the past decade.
Avira provides IT-security protection to computers, smartphones, servers
and networks, delivered as both software and cloud-based services. Visit www.avira.com.
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