« Book Review - God- or Gorilla?, Chapter 17 | Main | Book Review - God- or Gorilla?, Chapter 18 »

Beware the Scareware

Scareware Screen CaptureAs the IT manager where I work, in the past couple weeks, I've had to clean two computers with a 'scareware' infection, as well as a website for another company which had been hacked to host scareware. Since these types of malware seem to be on the rise, I sent a note to the employees of the company to warn them to be careful of these types of infections, and figured I'd repeat that here as a public service.

Scareware infections usually come from compromised websites. The site will load a page that looks very much like a legitimate antivirus program, with fake messages about the computer being infected or a virus trying to run, tricking users into installing the malware on their computer. Once infected, these programs are very difficult to uninstall, and will usually block legitimate antivirus software from working. The main purpose of these programs is to scare users into paying for software to clean the supposed virus infection, but some versions will also install viruses or password stealing malware.

If you're browsing the Internet, and you get what looks to be an antivirus program warning you of an infection, chances are that it's scareware. Do not trust any warnings about infected files on your computer unless you're sure they're coming from your already installed anti-virus software.

Here is more detailed information on these threats, including a slideshow with some known examples.

Also, do not assume that these attacks only come from disreputable sites. The majority of sites with scareware are legitimate sites that have been hacked or which have security holes in advertising. These include large, popular sites such as Sony, so exercise caution at any website.

If you happen to use a Mac, keep in mind that criminals have expanded to targeting Macs as well.

Post a comment


TrackBack URL for this entry:


Selling Out