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Security Response

The Price of Fame

Created: 10 Apr 2009 18:53:25 GMT • Updated: 23 Jan 2014 18:36:01 GMT
khaley's picture
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It’s nice to pretend, but I’m under no illusions—I am not famous. Not even on the D-list. There are no paparazzo camped outside my house. If you asked my neighbor two doors down who I was, he probably wouldn’t know. And I have never, ever been hired as a celebrity endorser.
I woke up in the morning on the day after April Fool’s Day (seemingly unscathed), got my cup of coffee, and sat down to read the Symantec Security Response Blog. To my horror I was featured in the first blog post. Now, I didn’t write the article and I wasn’t named for my contribution to the research. I was part of the scam it discussed.

I’ve seen George Clooney’s name used to sell things in spam email (you’ll have to guess what things, I’m not talking about it in a blog written for a family audience). That’s the price of fame. But, me? My name was being used to sell what is likely rogue software. A misleading application that pretends to protect your computer, when what it really does is empty your wallet.
We’ve said all along that the bad guys love topical subjects to catch people off guard. Unfortunately we’ve seen them out in force looking to exploit the interest in Downadup/Conficker. Conficker has been a perfect opportunity to sell bogus antivirus software to people. We reported here about search indexes being poisoned to sell fake AV software. I knew spam would be used, too. I just didn’t expect for my name to show up in it.
I had done a few interviews regarding Conficker. One was for the Boston Herald—folks in Boston read it. My Mom read it. Apparently a spammer did too. The spammer “borrowed” my quote and some of the text from the article by Jay Fitzgerald. And suddenly I began showing up in people’s mailboxes. It’s such a weird feeling. I laughed; it is funny. But it makes me mad too. Is that how George Clooney feels?
Please remember, to stay protected against Conficker and all other malware, get your hands on a good security software suite, install it, and keep it updated.

“And the only security software packages I endorse come from Symantec!” – Kevin Haley