I’ve heard of malware, but scareware? Apparently, scammers are now playing on the fears of Windows users – fear of viruses and other malware. In order to make money, they dupe people into thinking that their system is suffering from a relentless malware attack, hence the term scareware. As the scammers prey upon those fears, they prompt users to download security updates that can “keep users safe.”
Obviously, they will charge for these updates. The problem is that, one, the threat is almost always fake; and two, the security updates are just as fake. The user who falls for this trick will end up being at least $50 poorer, without having anything to show for it!
This tactic was exposed earlier this week by Parveen Vashishtha from Symantec. In a blog post, he outlined the modus operandi of this new breed of scammers. The trick is in knowing that browsers DO NOT ask you to download security updates via malware threat warnings. If you do see something like the image below, chances are you are the target of a scareware scam.
If you’re thinking that people who are dumb enough to fall for this trick deserve it, think again. The truth of the matter is that the trick seems to work so well – even some experienced users fall for it. In fact, the scareware business has already made more than $100 million, according to the FBI. Don’t laugh just yet.
Your safest bet is NOT to click the download button, obviously. Of course, you also ought to make sure that your OS, security software, and browser/s are updated on a regular basis.