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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.

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RE: Millions of PC Users Tricked by Scareware
By ExarKun333 on 10/20/2009 11:49:40 AM , Rating: 0
I agree 100%.

2x a year, for a couple hours, to reinstall Windows is a piece of cake. It is well worth not having the overhead of the anti-virus, and it is healthy for your PC to get all the old crap files removed regularly as well.

If you are too lazy to click a few buttons and come back to check on your computer an hour later, then you probably have more severe issues than computer viruses. I love these posters who have "better things to do" than regular maintenance...

By UNHchabo on 10/20/2009 1:16:25 PM , Rating: 2
Or you can have a decent antivirus program, and reinstall Windows twice a year.

Antivirus programs don't have that much overhead anymore; I have a WD640 Black, which is still one of the fastest 7200rpm hard drives on the market. Even still, my P4 never goes above 3% utilization during file transfers or other I/O-heavy activity that would make my antivirus program do a real-time scan.

There's no reason to run without at least a free AV program.

By Maiyr on 10/21/2009 9:18:58 AM , Rating: 2
You consider "2x a year, for a couple hours, to reinstall Windows is a piece of cake" regular maintenance ? I am going to have to assume this is a joke or an attempt at sarcasm.

"So, I think the same thing of the music industry. They can't say that they're losing money, you know what I'm saying. They just probably don't have the same surplus that they had." -- Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA

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