While this is not new it is starting to become a growing problem as criminals are moving from traditional theft to cyber-theft as it does not carry the personal risk of being at a crime in person, its all done from behind the anonymous PC monitor and keyboard.
Sadly education in this area is and has been lacking for many years to help novice PC users to protect themselves online and their PC and Data, so who is at fault for this, Microsoft for creating Windows Operating System, the Anti-Virus companies, the PC builders, the end user? while i believe its a mix of all the mentioned options, the onus really lies with the end user sadly, herein lies that pitfall as not everyone is a techno-geek and knows the ins and outs of PCs and Security!
One of the rogue applications mentioned in the BBC article (below) is this once called Antivirus 2010 and also comes under the guise of Windows Anti-Virus 2008/2009, its created to once you are infected to act as if its a legitimate application to help you remove an infection, the design is in part to fool you into thinking its a Windows Security application, as it looks quite like Windows Security Centre.
Rogue Antivirus 2010
Title story at BBC Technology News (small snippet)
Online criminals are making millions of pounds by convincing computer users to download fake anti-virus software, internet security experts claim.
Symantec says more than 40 million people have fallen victim to the "scareware" scam in the past 12 months.
The download is usually harmful and criminals can sometimes use it to get the victim’s credit card details.
The firm has identified 250 versions of scareware, and criminals are thought to earn more than £750,000 each a year.
Scareware sellers use pop-up adverts deliberately designed to look legitimate, for example, using the same typefaces as Microsoft and other well-known software providers.
They appear, often when the user is switching between websites, and falsely warn that a computer’s security has been compromised.
If the user then clicks on the message they are directed towards another site where they can download the fake anti-virus software they supposedly need to clean up their computer – for a fee of up to £60.
Full article at BBC Technology News HERE
Many companies and governments have information available to advise users on how to protect themselves from malware and scareware, but a fair amount of the education and assistance to remove malware from users PC is done on a few security forums like Majorgeeks, where a dedicated group of PC users and enthusiasts devote much of their free-time and knowledge to help others.
More info on how to secure your PC below