updated 11/24/2010 2:15:55 AM ET 2010-11-24T07:15:55

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 23, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- CyberDefender Corporation (Nasdaq:CYDE), a provider of Internet security software, utilities and remote technical support services that work together to maximize online safety for consumers, today issued an alert warning consumers of dangerous malware linked to searches for Thanksgiving Day invitations. Each year, more holiday planning and ideas are available online, and cyber criminals are taking advantage of the opportunity. 

CyberDefender Research Labs has found a high concentration of fake antivirus products that can infect consumer computers and lead to data theft during searches for guest invitations for celebrations on the annual holiday. Keyword combinations entered included: "Thanksgiving Lunch Invitations," "Thanksgiving Invitation Template" and "Thanksgiving Printable Invitations."

Out of 50 search results for each of the above three terms, nearly 20 of them directed the consumer to infected URLs. If the user clicks on the link, they are redirected to a fake scan page that tells the consumer they need an immediate security scan of their PC.   Once the fake scan is complete, the user is prompted to download the malware.

"Online tools such as printable invitations often require downloading to customize and print, offering cyber criminals a straightforward path to target and infect the PCs of holiday planning consumers," says Achal Khetarpal, Director of CyberDefender Research Labs. "Years ago, so long as you weren't searching for free music/movie downloads or x-rated content, there were not significant dangers in search results. Today, the scale of the problem is massive; not only has the quantity of threats dramatically increased, but the sophistication of the malware has grown as well."

One of the more harmful fake antivirus programs found, Smart Engine, is a variant of the Virus Doctor family. The rogue attempts to prevent genuine antivirus programs from running so the user cannot quarantine and remove the malware from the machine using these programs.

CyberDefender Research Labs offers these helpful tips to reduce exposure to malware:

  • Regularly UPDATE your antivirus program and make sure it's turned ON before you download any files
  • If you do happen to get a fake request to scan your PC for viruses, make sure to close out of your browser and do NOT download anything
  • If you are suspicious about a program or utility that you just downloaded, run a scan of your computer with an antivirus program
  • Always be cautious of "free" offers online. If it's too good to be true it usually is

If a user's PC becomes infected with malware from the Virus Doctor family, the system will generally require cleaning by a professional. CyberDefender offers a 24/7 live remote tech support service, LiveTech, by subscription that can help. For a free diagnosis or more information, visit www.cyberdefender.com or call (866) 793-0453. 

A CyberDefender spokesperson is available to provide additional details, if needed -- or to comment on current online safety issues.

About CyberDefender

CyberDefender Corporation (Nasdaq:CYDE) is a provider of Internet security software, utilities and remote technical support services that work together to ensure maximum safety for consumers in a digital world. The company develops and markets antispyware/antivirus software and a remote, live technical support service. In addition, CyberDefender offers identity protection and computer optimization services. With millions of active users on its cloud based Collaborative Internet Security Network, CyberDefender leverages the power of community to protect its customers from the rapidly growing number of new online threats every year. CyberDefender products are fully compatible with Microsoft's XP, Vista, and 7 Operating systems. All products are available at www.cyberdefender.com . Investor information is available at www.cyberdefendercorp.com .

The CyberDefender Corporation logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=7874

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