Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What is Scareware You Ask?

If you've been the victim of a virus recently, it's almost definitely been "Scareware". This is the new name given to the fake antivirus programs that are installed when you visit a hacked website. There is no notification that the program is being installed, and within minutes you are infected.

Scareware masquerades as a legitimate antivirus program, and proceeds to inform you that you have hundreds of viruses on your computer. Then it practically begs you to purchase the full version. You see hundreds of pop-ups a day sometimes. Each of them is trying to scare you into buying their program. Less experienced computer users aren't aware that the program is a fake, and willingly "buy" the program.

The problem is that when you "buy" their software, you're actually just sending your credit card information off across the internet to someone who's going to steal your identity. This scam is so lucrative and so successful that it may not be stoppable. More and more websites are created or hacked every minute, in an attempt to compromise your computer and hopefully steal your information.

SOOOO... How do we help minimize the risk?

1 - Please be very careful what you click on when visiting websites. If you're doing a Google search, please slow down and carefully read each of the search results before clicking on them. You can often tell by reading the websites address alone. For instance, if the website doesn’t end in .com or .net, it's probably going to another country. If you weren’t looking for information from another country, then you can easily skip that one.

2- Hackers often target very popular search topics like celebrities names. They also tend to target age demographics that are known to be computer novices like kids and people over 50. They go after websites that they know people will be looking for. Be aware of this and read your searches carefully before you click on a link.

3 - Carefully type the name of the website in the browser when going to a site. Spelling the name of the site wrong can often land you on a hacker’s site. They prey on people going to the wrong site in the hopes that they can install their "drive by" virus. This article will teach you a lot more about typo problems and what you can do to prevent them.

4 - Keep your Antivirus up to date. This is one that I really can’t say will make a big difference. These hackers are often a step ahead of the antivirus companies, so you won’t always be able to block one of these Scareware attacks.

Thanks for stopping by, and be careful out there!

Dave Nevill
Hughes I.T. Solutions Inc
Orlando FL

No comments:

Post a Comment