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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 enlil242 on 10/20/2009 12:56:16 PM , Rating: 2
Also, I doubt your free program will restore your computer if your hard drive crashes, whic for me, is more likely to happen...


By tmouse on 10/21/2009 8:00:11 AM , Rating: 2
That's not what it is supposed to do. It's a free antivirus program. You use them both if necessary. Your re-image program is only as good as the date of your current image. Every time you add ANY file you better have a backup or else you will lose that information. There are very few things that are designed to crash a computer outright. Those that do are not really a threat since they cannot propagate well. It's usually a combination that accidently causes the problem. If you save images regularly they could be infected as well and just need a co-infection to cause a problem (your half way there). Even AV programs are not fool proof but at least offer some notice. If you install an infected program win patrol will not help at all since you are already giving permission for the install. Many trojans either gain exceptions or piggy back on legitimate communications to get the information out after they are in place. Hard drives should rarely crash, if that is "more likely to happen" you probably already have corrupted images.


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