Over the weekend I wrote about Jesper M. Johansson's article, Anatomy of a malware scam. His analysis provides an eye-opener for people who have been fortunate enough to have avoided having their computer infected with a rogue anti-spyware program.
Frequently, people ask how they know if the site they landed on is serving up a safe program or if it is dangerous. One consideration is Web of Trust, a free Internet security addon for your browser. In fact, based on the results illustrated by Certified Bug in What is WOT, it appears that WOT is much more responsive than the formerly acclaimed McAfee Site Advisor.
Other steps to take are to stay up to date with security updates for all your software, not just Microsoft updates, install and maintain anti-virus software and a firewall. Additional solid advice is available in Bill Pytlovany's recent article, Where did my Spyware come from?.
What do you do if your computer does become infected with one of the rogues like XP Antivirus? First and foremost, do not fall for the scam and send any money. Do not click any of the links they provide. Next, I would recommend installing, updating and runing a scan with Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware (MBAM), allowing it to remove what is found. In providing help on the forums, I have seen how effective MBAM is in removing not only rogues like XP Antivirus but other malware as well.