PROTECT YOUR COMPUTER
Don’t be Scared by 'Scareware'
We’ve all seen them—pop-up messages telling you your computer is infected with a virus. To get rid of it, all you have to do is order the antivirus software being advertised.
Before you click, though, know this: few Internet security companies use ads to tell you about a virus on your computer. Most of these pop-ups are scams, and it’s one of the fastest-growing types of Internet fraud today.
These scams have a name. They’re called “scareware” because they try to frighten you into purchasing fake antivirus software with a seemingly genuine security warning.
But if you do try to buy this program, it will either do nothing…or it could compromise your computer by installing malicious software onto your system. And in some instances, you don’t even have to click on the pop-up box…the software downloads automatically.
Cyber criminals often use notorious botnets—networks of compromised computers under their control—to push out their software. They’ll also masquerade as legitimate Internet security companies and buy ads on other websites—called “malvertising”—but when consumers click on the ads to purchase the products, they are redirected to websites controlled by the bad guys.
How to Spot a Potential Scareware Infection
Windows Update fails to run.
Other legitimate security applications won't update.
Certain website, especially Internet security sites, won't load.
Many of these criminals operate outside the U.S., making investigations difficult and complex for the FBI and its partners. But we’ve had successes—just this past May, for example, three people were charged in Illinois in connection with a scheme that caused Internet users in more than 60 countries, including the U.S., to buy more than $100 million worth of bogus scareware software.
Two of the defendants, including an American, are accused of running an overseas company that claimed to sell antivirus and computer performance/repair software over the Internet. A third man operated the company’s Cincinnati call center, which was responsible for technical and billing support to its customers (but in reality deflected complaints from consumers who realized the software didn’t work).
According to the indictment, proceeds from the sales of the software (which was typically purchased by credit card) were deposited into bank accounts controlled by the defendants and others throughout the world and then quickly transferred to accounts in Europe.
In addition to the consumers victimized by the scam, a number of legitimate companies tricked into selling ad space on their websites for the bogus software were allegedly defrauded of about $85,000 in unpaid fees.
Don’t let it happen to you. Here are a few words of advice on scareware.
How to spot a scareware scam:
Does the pop-up use “non-clickable” icons? To build authenticity into their software, scareware will show a list of reputable icons—like those of software companies or security publications. However, the user can’t click through to the sites to see the actual reviews or recommendations.
Is the pop-up ad hard to close? Scareware pop-ups employ aggressive techniques and will not close easily after clicking the “close” or “X” button.
Have you heard of the software before? Cyber criminals use easy-to-remember names like Virus Shield, Antivirus, or VirusRemover.
How to protect yourself from scareware: Make sure your computer is fully protected by legitimate, up-to-date antivirus software.
If you think you’ve been victimized by scareware: File a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.
I came across a pretty good hub by Kangaroo Jase that addresses some of these issues and may be quite helpful
http://hubpages.com/hub/Why-Does-Removi … -Confusing
Hey Ready, thanks for the recommendation !!!
I have gone back and have taken another look at this hub, oh gee, did I find some typos!!!
Fixed and reads better.
As long as you already have an anti-virus program installed on your system (and you know which one you've got!!), you can run that at regular intervals, and you should be fine.
You don't really need more than one AV program, although some viruses can go undetected by some AV programs, yet found by others. Just keep your virus definition database up to date. I prefer to run the updates manually. Those popup reminders may be bogus if you're online at the time.
Just be aware, and use common sense.
Agreed, you do not need more than one Anti-virus program, yet for a complete solution it is advisable to additionally obtain good software that hunts down and eradicates malicious software, often called malware. Used in conjunction to AV software is a great way to combat infestations and other nasties that AV software DOESN'T catch.
Those pop up reminders will have their antivirus program name on them if they are the reminders of the installed AV software on your computer. So if one has Trend Micro, it should be a Trend Micro pop up appearing, if its something else, it's bogus.
I have been recommending Microsoft Security Essentials for some time now. It is free, and you would hope that if anyone can stop Windows junk, Microsoft sure should know how. I have seen it find and remove things that some others missed.
Apple has recently added both a/v and malware signatures to OS X. Most Mac users don't even think about this kind of threat because it is still relatively rare; it is good that Apple is being proactive. Possibly they can avoid the kind of mess Microsoft made of it in versions prior to Vista and Win 7.
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