Print 56 comment(s) - last by SpaceJumper.. on Oct 22 at 4:58 PM

Scareware threat continues to rise, with security experts attempting to do everything they can to limit the damage

Security company Symantec disclosed that online criminals are cashing in by scaring PC users into downloading exploited anti-virus software.

In the past 12 months, more than 40 million people across the world have been tricked into installing 'scareware' software.  Specifically, criminals trick PC users into downloading a piece of software -- anti-virus and anti-spyware are two popular program types -- that are malicious pieces of software so they are able to acquire credit card information and other sensitive information.

In addition, some criminals create pop-up alerts telling PC users they face a serious risk, then offer fake anti-virus software that can be used to clean up the computer.  The catch?  The software costs money, and users still end up being compromised by the fake software.

"Obviously, you're losing your own hard-earned cash up front, but at the back end of that, if you're transacting with these guys online you're offering them credit card details, debit card details and other personal information," Symantec employee Con Mallon told BBC.  

The 43 million were victims of the scareware threat from July 2008 to June 2009, when researchers began collecting information.

The overall threat of identity theft and bank fraud continues to increase as criminals use more sophisticated techniques to compromise PC users.  Furthermore, even more people around the world are now using the Internet to view bank information, pay bills, and shop online.

Cracking down on criminal enterprises tends to be extremely difficult, with many organized hacker groups operating in Eastern Europe, China, North Korea, and other locations in which it is difficult to identify suspects.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: Millions of PC Users Tricked by Scareware
By The0ne on 10/20/2009 11:27:52 AM , Rating: 2
That makes no sense at all. You're assuming you're going to get a virus and won't be able to do anything about it and thus have to rely on reinstalling Windows? Do yourself a favor and install a anti-virus to cover you 99% of the time. The other 1% is to not install or visit suspicious programs and websites. Why install an anti-virus, because not only Windows files can be affected :o Go ahead and reinstall Windows, only to find it'll become infected again from the files on your PC locally.

This isn't news, website anti-virus protection scams have been around for ages. This is usually how people who don't know any better and/or are too frighten to make good decisions will get their PC infected. The other are from kids playing web games which does essentially the same thing.

By GaryJohnson on 10/20/2009 12:56:03 PM , Rating: 2
The other 100% is to not install or visit suspicious programs and websites.

Fixed that for you.

RE: Millions of PC Users Tricked by Scareware
By SpaceJumper on 10/20/2009 2:59:22 PM , Rating: 1
5 years ago, my computer was infected and it was running Norton Anti-virus, and because I was using Windows Explorer and Norton did not have the definition for that virus.
Reinstalling Windows is easy anyway. What really bugged me is the Windows updates, updates and updates....
Personally, I like to reinstalling Windows one or two times a year to keep my computer at top notch anyway.
Now, I am free from computer problems and keeping the money in my pocket for something else.

RE: Millions of PC Users Tricked by Scareware
By Motamid on 10/20/2009 5:38:22 PM , Rating: 2
You are assuming that the worst case scenario is that your computer will be disabled by the virus. The most malicious virus's however, would much rather go unnoticed while they collect your passwords and credit card numbers. If these become compromised, you're going to have to do much more work than just reinstall windows.

Anti-virus software can't always fix everything, but it will usually at least be able to spot a malicious program if not remove it. If it is money you are concerned about, go with something free like AVG Free.

RE: Millions of PC Users Tricked by Scareware
By SpaceJumper on 10/20/2009 8:43:15 PM , Rating: 1
Now I understand the scare tactic really works. I think your computer is now infected with anti-scareware. As long as you are happy with the scareware or anti-scareware, that's all it matter.

RE: Millions of PC Users Tricked by Scareware
By tmouse on 10/21/2009 7:36:14 AM , Rating: 3
Tell us how you know your computer is virus/trojan free? So what you are really telling us is if your computer is not so contaminated that it begins to run slow or crashes you are "free" of infestation. One of the most foolish responses I have ever seen. I hope you are too young to own credit cards or at least do not buy anything online. Its fools like you that cost everyone money when their information gets stolen and the card companies do not make people like you pay the resulting bills.

By SpaceJumper on 10/22/2009 4:58:40 PM , Rating: 2
I don't have to because I know it from the fresh Windows installation. I am not the person who worry about nothing. I am very fortunate to saved up enough money by not spending money on scareware and to be able to move up to the latest and greatest Windows 7 and Mac. I am not the person who click yes to everything on the screen and worry about it later. I also have n+1 or redundancy system that meantime between failure is next to nil.
I spend my life living, not worrying about nothing.

"Intel is investing heavily (think gazillions of dollars and bazillions of engineering man hours) in resources to create an Intel host controllers spec in order to speed time to market of the USB 3.0 technology." -- Intel blogger Nick Knupffer

Most Popular ArticlesAre you ready for this ? HyperDrive Aircraft
September 24, 2016, 9:29 AM
Leaked – Samsung S8 is a Dream and a Dream 2
September 25, 2016, 8:00 AM
Yahoo Hacked - Change Your Passwords and Security Info ASAP!
September 23, 2016, 5:45 AM
A is for Apples
September 23, 2016, 5:32 AM
Walmart may get "Robot Shopping Carts?"
September 17, 2016, 6:01 AM

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki