Malicious Software Dupes Users by Scaring Them

spooky monitorIf you’ve seen a popup window warning you that your computer may be infected with a virus, think twice before clicking on it—you might be getting duped into spending money on malware.

Security firm McAfee has published a report early in the year showing that up to a million people worldwide fall victim to so-called “scareware” each year. Scareware, or rogueware, is software that poses as legitimate security software but in reality are dupes to steal credit card information from users, or even worse are Trojan Horses to spread malware. Scareware is distributed primarily through the Internet via malicious websites that pop out windows that fool users into thinking their system may be infected. Users who click on the popup windows are redirected to a website which encourages them to buy fake security software online.

Scareware are especially dangerous as it hits users in many ways: by duping them out of their money, injecting viruses or other forms of malware into their system, or even holding them ransom—for instance, by taking over users’ systems then demanding more payment to free the data stored in the infected computer.

It’s a good thing that there are many ways to protect your system against scareware. One is using security software from legitimate and well established software vendors—through their legitimate sales channels. Another is by being prudent with offers and downloads when online. For a small business there are other ways such as blocking or filtering these malicious websites to ensure the security of the entire business. If you want to find out more about these solutions to protect small business networks—let us know. We offer managed security services for small business that can protect against online threats.

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