A rise in rogue security software programs on the web is partly down to the publicity of the Conficker virus, says Microsoft.
In its Security Intelligence Report, which is produced every six months and charts the biggest threats to PC users, Microsoft said that hoax security software is on the rise and looks set to continue.
Ed Gibson from Microsoft explained that while Conficker making the news is a good thing because it allows the company to urge PC users to install security updates to protect themselves, it has also allowed cyber criminals to piggy back on the threat, offering hoax security software to cautious web users.
"Cyber criminals charge a subscription for this software, so not only does the consumer remain unprotected but the criminal also has their credit card details, leaving the consumer open to further attacks," said Gibson.
The report also highlighted that while consumers have successfully installed security updates to patch application and OS vulnerabilities, many businesses have yet to roll-out the updates to staff, ensuring they have been hit hard by Conficker and other viruses, the Ministry of Defence being one such victim.
"We needed businesses to understand the serious nature of rolling-out application as well as OS updates to all of their staff in a bid to avoid becoming victims," said Cliff Evans.
See also: PC Advisor's Windows security masterclas