Angry Birds write their own anti-virus. Call it BitDefender. Sell it in Windows Store. But beware…

Graham Cluley
@gcluley

At the start of July, Microsoft proudly announced that it had reached an important milestone. 100,000 Windows 8 apps are available through its online marketplace, imaginatively titled “Windows Store”.

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Of course, that’s only really a reason to celebrate if the apps are of good quality, from legitimate developers, and aren’t actually designed to con unsuspecting Windows 8 users out of their hard earned cash.

Sadly, there’s increasing evidence that the Windows Store has a worrying number of apps inside it which are designed to fleece unsuspecting users.

Here’s one example I found: BitDefender AntiVirus 2013.

It’s not the *real* BitDefender AntiVirus 2013, of course, which is written by the Romanian software company Softwin, a respected member of the computer security industry.

No. This is “BitDefender AntiVirus 2013” as published by… Angry Birds Pro? and Kaspersky??

It looks like someone has definitely got their Eastern European anti-virus vendors mixed-up, but more than that they’re claiming that a bunch of cartooning catapulting birds have written this anti-virus software app.

If you read all the small print (which is only revealed if you click the “Read more” link) you discover that the enterprising birds are charging you $4.99 for the pleasure of receiving a tutorial of how to use BitDefender AntiVirus 2013. But it’s easy to see how many users would be entirely duped and click the purchase button without realising they weren’t going to get an anti-virus app.

Clearly, something appears to have gone seriously wrong with the app-vetting procedures one hopes that Microsoft has in place to protect the Windows Store from fraudsters and opportunists.

And BitDefender aren’t the only ones to have their brand tarnished in the Windows Store.

As WinBeta reports, there are many tutorial and “How to use” apps in the Windows Store which pilfer the icons of the real products they are spoofing in the hope of making some quick cash.

If you want to learn more about this issue, I recommend you check out the report from Ghacks.net, which has published a warning about the different techniques that are being used in the Windows Store to dupe users with deceptive apps.

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Graham Cluley is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s when he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and is an international public speaker on the topic of computer security, hackers, and online privacy. Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley, or drop him an email.

3 comments on “Angry Birds write their own anti-virus. Call it BitDefender. Sell it in Windows Store. But beware…”

  1. May I simply say what a relief to discover someone that really understands what they're talking about on the net. You definitely realize how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people really need to look at this and understand this side of your story. It's surprising you're not more popular given that you certainly have the gift.

  2. Hello,

    I have found some dubious apps in the Windows Store as well. See:

    http://apps.microsoft.com/windows/en-us/app/179217b3-c0c8-4bab-8b0e-c336a292396d
    http://apps.microsoft.com/windows/en-us/app/2eccf5cc-fbf9-4988-9091-e9d3e8bcf7c4
    http://apps.microsoft.com/windows/en-us/app/4eda056a-d757-4fca-ba7e-be3f18c6be20
    http://apps.microsoft.com/windows/en-us/app/6498ecef-beb4-4985-9b0d-07abd361772e
    http://apps.microsoft.com/windows/en-us/app/8e4b897f-14a5-4960-b79b-da754211ca98

    and so forth. It appears Microsoft can still do a better job of acting as a gatekeeper for useless apps to its store.

    Regards,

    Aryeh Goretsky

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