Rogue security programs that try to trick the user into paying to remove a false virus detection have been around for a while, the earliest dating back to 2007. The software is clever, using different names and brands to cover its tracks, and clearly their perpetrators make money.
Now though researchers at Microsoft's Malware Protection Center are reporting a downward trend in the traffic generated by some of the most popular rogues over the past 12 months.
Writing on the Malware Protection Center blog Microsoft antivirus researcher Daniel Chipiristeanu says, "It's likely this has happened due to the antimalware industry's intense targeting of these rogues in our products, and better end-user awareness and security practices. In particular, greater education about the social engineering technique the rogues use, and the large number of legitimate, free antivirus products available on the market appear to have had an impact on a user's willingness to pay for such pests"