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Scary ghost face for scareware

One of the biggest, if not the biggest, computer security and identity threat out there is you. Actually, followed closely by scareware, which doesn’t just infect you but can trick you into infecting yourself.

Scareware focuses on scripts and applications that mimic and duplicate antivirus protection and warnings that gain access to your private information by your reaction to it.

How you get it

What really is scareware exactly, though? It is basically a malware that disguises itself as a Windows native application or other legitimate program you may already have on your computer. It tricks you into buying or downloading useless and potentially harmful programs and viruses.

Scareware example 1

In 2008, two Texas based companies were sued for producing scareware programs and distributing them. Alpha Red and Branch Software are two companies that were responsible for a very common scareware program called Registry Cleaner XP.

In December 2008, the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) had implemented the process of restraining order against two companies, Innovative Marketing, INC and ByteHosting Internet Services. The scareware programs that they had released were DriveCleaner, WinAntivirus, ErrorSafe, WinFixer and XP Antivirus.

How they trick you

There are very small traits to look for when it comes to scareware because the programmers of many of these false security alerts are just as trained as many legitimate virus protection programmers. They have even duped some of the best with their programs. A few years ago there was a bad outreach of scareware that had disguised itself as Microsoft, many people were victimized out of their personal information and even security of their personal lives.

Scareware example 1

On top of tricking you into believing that this scareware is legitimate, there are many ways these programmers use to infect computers, including hijackers and trojans. The base architectures are hardly important to these programmers. As long as their main goal is accomplished, they will make sure they do what they can to bypass your security and get your information for their own personal gain.

The best way to avoid being infected by such scareware programs is not clicking any prompted links that are offered, instead using the ALT+CTRL+DEL shortcut to open up your Task Manager and find the process that is giving you the false prompts. When you see it, shut it down before any damage can be done.

How you can protect yourself

Scareware example 4

There are other precautions that can help. Installing a good antivirus protection program and pop-up blocker is a good way to start. Also, there are several browser add-ons that you can install directly from the browser’s website that is safe and secure to help protect you from unsafe, unknown, and unwanted pop-ups and downloads from suspicious websites.

Educating yourself on the basics of programs you use and basic requirements for your operating system can help you identify false update alerts and prevent downloads of scareware.

To sum up

Scareware is not an uncommon problem, it is an infection of our everyday technological life that we have to be aware and informed of. Knowing what scareware is doesn’t always protect you from harm. You have to know how to go about the process of removing it from your path without opening a door to worse issues.

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