Lately, it seems everything’s (and everyone’s) been going rogue.

You might be most familiar with claims by an aide of Sen. John McCain that GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is going rogue and instead concentrating on her own run for the president in 2012.

But, when faithful readers of SC Magazine hear the word “rogue” – especially of late – they likely immediately think of rogue anti-virus software, the au courant way to steal money off unsuspecting victims.

It seems many of the recent malicious payloads are fake pop-up warnings alerting users their computer is infected with viruses. To fix the “problem,” they must pay – usually $40 or so – to purchase the attacker’s rogue AV solution.

Except it fixes nothing.

Cybercrooks appear to be dropping traditional keylogging and phishing attacks in favor of preying on the fear factor. After all, fear is in the air.

The way they figure, why not have the victim send money directly to them instead of going through the often challenging process of stealing it from them.

Makes sense to me. So until users catch on to this growing trend, the criminals are going to keep doing it.

Protect yourself by protecting yourself. If you know you’ve got the latest real anti-virus product running, then you can safely ignore any pop-ups telling you otherwise.

(BTW, we’re going to host a podcast Monday with researcher Joe Stewart of SecureWorks on this very topic, so please be sure to listen starting next week).

WIth that said, it’s getting near 5 p.m. EST on Friday. Almost time for me to go Rogue.

Actually, that’s go to Rogue – this publishing company’s favorite watering hole on 6th Avenue between 25 and 26th streets in New York.

Talk to you next week. And remember to vote!