Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Scareware - Yes it is that Scary

Scareware aka smitfraud or rogue security software, is a type of software that is defined as malware. These types of malware not only try to disrupt your computer, but also try to trick you into conducting a transaction with your credit card.

These types of malware appear to users in the form of pop-ups that resemble Windows system messages, usually masquerading as an antivirus or antispyware software, a firewall application or a registry cleaner. 
The message displayed by this malware informs the user that the PC in use is in trouble and contains many security issues and a large number of virus infections.  The Popup claims that the software it is marketing will be able to remove all the infections, speed up your PC and optimize its performance.

Naive enough some people do fall for this lame trick, and they follow the pop-up instructions and submit their personal data along with credit card number to buy this rogue software that pretends to save their PCs.
These scareware are well known for their ability to lock or limit the usage of control panel, disable registry editor, and prevent the user from visiting legitimate valid antivirus websites.

Some of the scareware I have encountered and seen on different systems are: Antivirus 2007, 2008 and 2009, XP Antivirus 2010, WinFixer, DriveCleaner, and Malware Cleaner.

If you face a suspicious pop-up, you should carefully close it by right-clicking on the item in the task bar and select "Close" or by manually exit the browser by using the task manager (Ctrl-Alt-Delete). To protect your system from future attempts, install a good pop-up blocker and configure it to prevent pop-ups from sites that you haven’t allowed.

Don’t automatically click download when prompted, don’t follow suspicious links even if received from your known friends (they might be infected and unknowingly spreading the infection).

Keep all your software applications up to date, that includes: Java, Adobe Reader, Flash Player, Windows and certainly your Antivirus.
Remember: Scammers and Hackers will keep on finding new technical and non technical means to exploit systems and PCs. It is your job to avoid their traps.

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