Your hard drive is failing…or is it?

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Norton Power Eraser2.44 MB

Malware tricks are getting ridiculously elaborate, like this fake hard drive diagnostic check built to fool users.

Computer trojans that pretend you've suffered a virus infection are nothing new, but malware is also appearing that fakes hard drive errors. And they're getting increasingly elaborate.

Take this example in the video below: a seemingly fully functional hard disk diagnostic tool which runs a disk scan, complete with blinking blocks of what the non-technical person might assume to be hard disk sectors.


As this video posted on the Symantec blog shows, the Trojan.Fakefrag goes the whole nine yards in attempts to trick users with its "WindowsRecovery" disk scanner. After delivering system read error messages, the system launches the scanner, which runs a "system safety and performance test" for file system integrity, outdated and missing drivers and so on.

But it's not done there. Once the initial scan is complete (presumably with you on the edge of your seat), you get an error report. Surprise, surprise, your drive has critical errors. To fix things, you'll need to purchase an "advanced module" which costs US$79.50. Not exactly a bargain, considering you can buy a full Internet Security package for around the same price.

As the Symantec blog points out, the creators of Trojan.Fakefrag have taken some care to complete the charade, including making desktop icons and menu items disappear. A clunky way of indicating that a hard drive is failing, but bound to fool some nonetheless.

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