Fake Microsoft Security Essentials Program Making the Rounds

Security firm F-Secure is warning that a malicious program spoofing Microsoft's free Microsoft Security Essentials antivirus program is being distributed via drive-by download as either hotfix.exe or mstsc.exe.

"Not only does this fake took steal Microsoft's brand, it also features a bizarre matrix display of 32 antivirus products, offering to locate you a tool that would be capable of fixing your machine as 'Microsoft Security Essentials' can't clean the malware it found," F-Secure said. "In reality, this is all fake, and the tool has not found an infection in the fail it claims."

Seen this screen lately? If so, you have a fake AV running amok on your system.

The tricky install then tells users that the only programs able to clean out the infection are AntiSpySafeguard, Major Defense Kit, Peak Protection, Pest Detector, and Red Cross. Savvy HotHardware readers already know what these all have in common -- they're all fake AV scanners -- but for an inexperienced user, the alerts look legit. Now would be a good time to call/email your folks and offer up a reminder about safe computing habits.