What is Scareware?

While browsing the Internet, many users might have received a pop-up alerting them of a virus attack on their system and asking for downloading an application to remove that virus. In anticipation of removing the virus, users download that application which is, in fact, a malicious program known as Scareware.

Let us talk more about Scareware and learn how to deal with it.

What is Scareware

Scareware, also known as Fraudware, are malicious computer applications that pretend to be helpful to the user. As it is clear, the word Scareware is the combination of two terms, Scare and Software. It is basically the software that is designed to scare users and take advantage of their fear.

Cybercriminals use social engineering tricks to trap users into downloading fraudulent apps that pretend to be useful for the computer. The download and installation of a Scareware are totally dependent on the emotional response of the victim after the social engineering attack.

How does Scareware work

First, a false warning is sent to the user, typically in the form of a pop-up or mail by fake tech experts. Cybercriminals trap them by creating a sense of urgency or fear. After giving the warning, the counterfeit experts also provide the solution in the form of an application, i.e., Scareware.

In the urgency of protecting their device, the victims follow every step that the cybercriminal in the mask of tech expert asks to do and, in the end, download the Scareware and install it.

Such Scareware can create havoc in the system and install other dangerous malware programs like Ransomware to encrypt the files, Trojans, and others. The Scareware can also act as spyware and illegally monitor and log all your activities and share it with the cybercriminals. Some Scareware are designed to collect sensitive information from your browsers, such as Credit Card numbers, login credentials, Social Security Numbers, and other details, causing Identity Theft.

Many attackers use Scareware to prompt users to buy the premium plan of their fake antivirus or antimalware program. They would first scare the victim by performing the phony scan and displaying that the computer is infected with several viruses. Now in order to remove those viruses, they would ask the users to buy the premium version of the program.

In this way, many users willingly buy such fraudulent security programs and infect their computers, along with losing money. You might find many examples of Scareware scattered around the Internet, such as XP Antivirus, SpySherrif, AdwarePunisher, and more.

How to protect your system from Scareware

Scareware can be really scary if they infiltrate any system; it is therefore very essential to remain careful and avoid the entry of Scareware into the system.

Here are the top preventive tips for protection against the Scareware −

  • Avoid visiting unsecured sites for downloading software, porn, games, and other apps. Such sites are usually malicious and bombard fake virus warnings through pop-ups.

  • Keep your browsers updated with the latest version. The cybercriminals take advantage of the vulnerabilities in the browser to produce the infected pop-ups. An updated browser can possibly detect and block malicious pop-ups.

  • Never rely on untrustworthy sources to get the software for your computer, especially the security programs. If some website is offering you the same software at a lower price than before jumping to buy it, verify its authenticity by checking its reviews on the Internet. Also, in the case of a security program like antimalware, always go for the reputed name even if its price is comparatively higher.

  • Always keep a robust security solution installed on your system. It would prevent Scareware from downloading and installing on your system. Also, a Firewall safeguards your network incoming, so make sure that it is enabled.

  • Use your common sense before clicking on any pop-up warning message. Applying common sense is an essential defense against the Scareware. For it, you must regularly make yourself update about the common practices that cybercriminals use to manipulate users and inject their malware.