Personal Security: Scareware Scares You In To Paying

Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert

Makers of fake anti-virus software force people to buy ‘scareware’. If one could have a favorite scam, for me, it would be “scareware.” My reasoning is it’s one of the few scams that actually gets through to me. My computer’s defenses are pretty good, but I still see scareware. They’ve even taken my blog posts and used my name to launch scareware in Google News Alerts. I have some criminal hacker’s attention and he created scareware in honor of lil’ ole me!

Web pages may be infected or built to distribute scareware. The goal is to trick you into clicking on links. After landing on a page, pop-ups bombard you and warn you that your PC is infected with an Ebola- like virus and your PC will die a horrible death with fluids running from all ports if you don’t fix it immediately for $49.95.

Shutting off this pop-up is often difficult and any buttons you press within this pop-up could mean downloading the exact virus they warned you of. BRILLIANT!

Studies show that organized criminals are earning $10,000.00 a day from scareware! That’s approximately 200 people a day getting nabbed. Some “distributors” have been estimated to make as much as $5 million a year.

What makes the scam so believable is there is actual follow through of the purchasing of software that is supposed to protect you. There is a shopping cart, an order form, credit card processing and a download, just like any online software purchase.

The software is sometimes known as “AntiVirus2009” “WinFixer,” “WinAntivirus,” “DriveCleaner,” “WinAntispyware,” “AntivirusXP” and “XP Antivirus 2008.” These are actually viruses or spyyware that infect your PC, or just junk software that does nothing of value.

Scareware programs are a threat to your personal security and online safety. Luckily, this is an easy fix. The best way to prevent seeing a pop-up for scareware is using the latest Firefox browser. Firefox lets few, if any pop-ups through. No pop-ups, no scareware. If you are using another browser and a pop-up –pops-up, shut down your browser. If the pop-up won’t let you shut it down, do a Ctrl-Alt-Delete and shut down the browser that way.

Robert Siciliano personal security expert to Home Security Source discussing ransomware, a form of scareware on Fox Boston. Disclosures