We know what malware is and how to protect yourself against them. If you are not familiar, click here to read our article about malware. But as awareness develops, so do the methods to deceive users. Malware developers have taken advantage of end-user’s sense of security and created a technique that scares users to download a program that can be itself a malware. Such malware is called Scareware.
True to its name, Scareware can be a little frightening initially. But as with every scary thing, once you learn about it, Scareware seems less scarier than before. Hence, let’s dig deep into the topic: Scareware.
What Is Scareware?
Scareware is a type of malware that forces you to download a malware into your system. This is how it works:
Imagine while browsing your computer screen shows a popup that says- “Virus scan! Your computer is infected”. The message basically demands to install a software that claims to solve your problems. In reality, the message is a hoax and it wants you to download a malicious software by clicking on the given link or CTA. In such situations, end-users get terrified and react to the popup and download the software. The software, once downloaded infects and harms your computer in different ways like stealing confidential data, inviting other malware such as ransomware, etc. This is known as a Scareware attack.
The virus scan is mere an advertisement but it is impersonated as a legitimate process. Here are some of the examples we found on the internet.
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Also Read: Safeguard Against Identity Theft
Aim Of Scareware
Their aim is to fool users to install malicious software by clicking links and then extort money or data from its victims. Firstly, it will pretend to scan your computer and create a hoax that your system is infected by virus/viruses. It will then ask you to buy the licensed version of its software to resolve the issue. Once you buy the software, the attacker will soon fetch your banking details and extort money from your account.
There are some cases where the software asks the user to call a customer service or contains malicious code int it. Once, you behave as asked you become vulnerable to more attacks.
Some of the Scareware are listed below:-
- Antivirus 2016
How to Protect Yourself From Scareware
Though Scareware are dangerous, getting a popup on your screen doesn’t mean that you are then infected by the malware. You are safe if you haven’t clicked the advertisement. Thus, all you need to do is to not click the popup. Here are few steps to follow if you come across a Scareware popup:-
- First and foremost, never click on any CTA button or link on the popup. Simply close the advertisement by clicking “X” symbol (usually at the top-left corner) on the popup window.
- If you think that your computer could be infected, use your antivirus program to scan the threat (we hope that you have a good antivirus solution) rather than using the product it advertises.
- Last but not the least, install a all-in-one security program on all your devices like PCs, Macs, smartphones and tablets.
Although you should be attentive towards your device’s security needs, it doesn’t mean that you should fall for fake alerts. It can result into data and privacy breach and all your confidential information will be at risk. It would be wise to use your trusted antivirus program to scan your PC for infections and then eliminate it.