Cougar Systems Support Center

Also Known As: Cougarsupport.net Virus, Type: Fake Antivirus, Distribution: Moderate
Damage level Damage level: High

What is Cougar Systems Support?

Cougar Systems Support Center is a malicious website used by Cyber criminals. It is a fake support website to which computer users are redirected if their computers become infected with fake antivirus programs from the WinWebSec family. When creating rogue security programs, cyber criminals attempt to make them appear legitimate by employing devious methods. In this case, they do so by operating under the guise of a 'support website'. In fact, Cougar Systems Support Center is a non existent company with no support services. Furthermore, if you have been redirected to this website, your PC has acquired a fake antivirus software infection. The information provided within the cougarsupport.net website is designed to trick unsuspecting PC users into believing that they are dealing with a genuine security program.

The most common and widely-spread fake antivirus programs from the WinWebSec family include Live Security Platinum, System Progressive Protection, Win 8 Security System and Security Shield 2012. If you see any of these programs scanning your computer for security infections, do not trust them, it is a scam. Do not purchase their licence keys - you will lose your money and your PC will remain infected.

cougarsupport.net malcious website

Notice that cougarsupport.net has several sub-domains. For example, sys.cougarsupport.net is created to imitate a 'support website' for the fake antivirus program System Progressive Protection, live.cougarsupport.net sub-domain is used for Live Security Platinum fake support, etc. Do not trust these websites; it is a scam designed to 'support' rogue antivirus programs. If you have been redirected to these websites, scan your PC immediately with legitimate antivirus and antispyware programs. A redirect such as this clearly indicates that your system is infected with bogus security software.

To eliminate redirects to cougarsupport.net and its sub-domains, follow these removal instructions. Choose the removal guide according to the fake antivirus program that has infected your machine.

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System Progressive Protection Security Shield 2012 Live Security Platinum Win 8 Security System

Update (31 January 2013): Another rogue antivirus program was released (Disk Antivirus Professional).

Screenshot of the Disk Antivirus Professional rogue:

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If your PC is infected with this scam, follow this removal guide of Disk Antivirus Professional.

Update (19 March 2013): Another rogue antivirus software was released (AVASoft Antivirus Professional).

Screenshot of AVASoft Antivirus Professional:

AVASoft Antivirus Professional

If your computer is infected with this fake antivirus program, follow these removal instructions to remove AVASoft Antivirus Professional.

Update (7 April 2013): Another rogue antivirus software was released (System Care Antivirus).

Screenshot of System Care Antivirus:

System Care Antivirus

If your computer is infected with this fake antivirus program, follow these removal instructions to remove System Care Antivirus.

If your computer has been infected with some other fake antivirus program not listed here, try using the search bar on our website.

Summary:

The fake antivirus programs (also known as "rogue antivirus programs" or "scareware") are applications that tries to lure computer users into paying for their non-existent full versions to remove the supposedly detected security infections (although the computer is actually clean). These bogus programs are created by cyber criminals who design them to look as legitimate antivirus software. Most commonly rogue antivirus programs infiltrate user's computer using poop-up windows or alerts which appear when users surf the Internet. These deceptive messages trick users into downloading a rogue antivirus program on their computers. Other known tactics used to spread scareware include exploit kits, infected email messages, online ad networks, drive-by downloads, or even direct calls to user's offering free support.

A computer that is infected with a fake antivirus program might also have other malware installed on it as rogue antivirus programs often are bundled with Trojans and exploit kits. Noteworthy that additional malware that infiltrates user's operating system remains on victim's computer regardless of whether a payment for a non-existent full version of a fake antivirus program is made. Here are some examples of fake security warning messages that are used in Cougar Systems Support Center distribution:

Fake pop-up used in rogue antivirus distribution example 1

Fake pop-up used in rogue antivirus distribution example 2

Computer users who are dealing with a rogue security software shouldn't buy it's full version. By paying for a license key of a fake antivirus program users would send their money and banking information to cyber criminals. Users who have already entered their credit card number (or other sensitive information) when asked by such bogus software should inform their credit card company that they have been tricked into buying a rogue security software. Screenshot of a web page used to lure computer users into paying for a non-existent full version of Cougar Systems Support Center and other rogue antivirus programs:

example of a webpage used to collect payments for fake antivirus programs

To protect your computer from Cougar Systems Support Center and other rogue antivirus programs users should:

  • Keep their operating system and all of the installed programs up-to-date.
  • Use legitimate antivirus and anti-spyware programs.
  • Use caution when clicking on links in social networking websites and email messages.
  • Don't trust online pop-up messages which state that your computer is infected and offers you to download security software.

Symptoms indicating that your operating system is infected with a fake antivirus program:

  • Intrusive security warning pop-up messages.
  • Alerts asking to upgrade to a paid version of a program to remove the supposedly detected malware.
  • Slow computer performance.
  • Disabled Windows updates.
  • Blocked Task Manager.
  • Blocked Internet browsers or inability to visit legitimate antivirus vendor websites.

If you are experiencing problems while trying to remove Cougar Systems Support Center from your computer, please ask for assistance in our malware removal forum.

If you have additional information on Cougar Systems Support Center or it's removal please share your knowledge in the comments section below.

About the author:

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an editor for pcrisk.com since 2010.

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