Scareware is one of the many types of Malware that floats around the internet.
This one tricks and manipulates users into visiting infected websites, to later convince that they need to buy or download useless software license (as in the case of Rogue Antivirus).
It goes on likes this: You’re reading the morning headlines online when suddenly a screen pops up, out of nowhere, alerting you that there’s an emergency on your computer. It looks very official and legitimate.
It will say something like this: “Your computer may be infected with harmful spyware programs. Immediate removal is required. To scan, click “Yes.”
It looks authentic and harmless, so it makes you think…
What makes Scareware so Scary?
The Scareware scam plays off through Social Engineering, by exploiting people’s fear (display terrifying warning signs on your computer’s screen) to later sell the “solution”.
You wouldn’t fall on that, right?
Well, let me tell you that 70,000 people are exposed to scareware every day!
Scareware’s goal is simple: selling fake and useless tools that will actually harm your devices, and most likely expose your sensitive data. In most cases, you are kept hostage until a ransom is paid
You know that already… But what most don’t know is that trustworthy antivirus software NEVER asks personal information, even less using scare techniques.
International law-enforcement organizations (as the FBI) actively investigate criminal rings that apply scareware with frequency (there are records of a $73 Million software scheme).
Scareware follows a common pattern.
How does Scareware Work Exactly?
Scareware software stays hidden on website links, adware, and malvertising pop-ups, images, icons, or any other element where people may click on.
Once a click is made, it downloads into your device. The performance starts…
A warning Sign appears to provoke fear and puts you into action.
“Your computer is infected with over [high amount] viruses!
Click here and scan for FREE to remove the threat immediately.”
Of course, you don’t want Malware into your device… So you click on the FREE scan sign.
After that, three different situations tend to happen:
- Spyware gets injected into your PC without your knowledge or consent and will try its best to steal your valuable, private information (passwords or financial credentials)
- You’re “invited” to enter your credit card information to get the software’s full version (that will supposedly remove the fake threat).
- It will provide access to cybercriminals to remotely control your machine (as a spam-sending machine).
You don’t want any of it happening to you… Right?
So, what should you do about Scareware?
How to Avoid Scareware?
Thankfully, there are several ways to avoid Scareware (and save yourself a huge jumpscare).
First of all, you may recognize certain signs that clearly indicates it’s just scareware:
- Ultra-menacing claims – Scareware makers understand user’s pain points and do their best effort to scare the living hell out of you. But they aren’t always subtle… Sometimes, they may alert of hundreds or thousands of viruses “present”.
- “… Until it’s too late!” – The ads warn you to act fast – They promote speed on the purchase process to avoid you get thinking about it.
- Hard-to-close Pop-ups – The longer sign is open, the most likely you are into taking action. So, clicking the “X” button could summon more warning signs.
- Unknown Software Company – If you don’t recognize it, it’s probably fake. SpyWiper, System Defender, and UltimateCleaner don’t sound familiar, right?.
- Automated “Scan” – Sometimes it doesn’t even ask for a run, but fakely diagnose malware inside of your computer.
Now that you know how Scareware looks and how it behaves, I would fall short by saying that you definitely should navigate the internet with skepticism.
If you ever find yourself in a sketchy website, don’t doubt closing it right away.
With this in mind, do it WITHOUT CLICKING on the pop-op ad or “X” button… Do it with the Windows Task Manager (Ctrl + Alt + Supr) or by pressing ALT-F4 on your keyboard, instead.
Don’t trust links or file attachments sent by strangers… And if possible, read emails in plain text (avoid HTML, even when it’s not aesthetically pleasing).
Ad blockers and URL filters should work for this, as well.
Finally, even when it sounds like a broken record:
Keep your system updated and your firewall enabled. Last but not least, carry a trustable Antivirus software, from a well-known company installed in your devices.
But what if… This wasn’t enough?
Scareware Removal and Recovery
Scareware is… Scary. And while you can easily avoid it almost completely with previous tips, you shouldn’t ignore it whatsoever.
Let’s say you get infected at any time this year, or that your computer is infected right now.
Would you know what to do in this case?
To remove the Scareware, you will need to seek expert manual labor or third-party help.
Now, doesn’t matter what the malicious program says (remember, it lies), you can still get the most important data back.
You can search for an answer online (by looking at the Scareware’s name on Google) or finding a Forum where the problem has been solved already.
Otherwise, the most productive action you can take is to contact us right away.
We will handle the situation, and keep your valuable data alive, where it should be.