Beware of Scareware!

What is Scareware?  Designed to cause shock, anxiety, or the perception of a threat, generally directed at an unsuspecting user; scareware is comprised of several classes of scam software, often with limited or no benefit, sold to consumers via certain unethical marketing practices.

You are clicking around on the internet, checking search results, playing games, watching videos or reading an article with an advertising window that changes every 60 seconds next to it – basically minding your own business when POP! A window pops up in the middle of your screen that says:

“We’ve detected a virus on your computer!
Click Here to Remove the Virus”

….before the world as you know it is over…

You Panic!!

You must remove the threat before it destroys your computer!  So you click on the box to remove the offending virus or download the software to fix it – you even pay whatever they want to charge you for their program because you’d rather pay that cost than buy a new computer and lose all of your files.

Problem is… that is exactly what they wanted you to do.  By now you have just downloaded their scam software which probably contained the virus they wanted to infect you with primarily. Or you paid good money to download non-functioning inoperable malware that won’t do you any good and now your credit card number is in their hands.

What should you do when a window like that pops up?   Close it!

Close everything! Including the internet, don’t take a chance of it infecting your system while you make a decision on what you should do about it.

Here’s the trick though.  You see the sample window above?  Say you know better than to click on the “Remove the Threats” button.  You know that your own computer’s Antivirus program or Firewall would notify you of threats not some strange window on an internet page somewhere in cyberspace. So you click on the “Continue Unprotected” button, or “Ignore this Threat” button.  Guess what? Another window pops up asking if you are sure.  Declaring there are more threats or the threat is spreading and you are running out of time!  You click ignore again… Do you know what you are doing?  Downloading the virus anyway. 

There is only one way to get out of a mess like that and it is to close your internet program immediately. 

  • Close Microsoft Edge
  • Close Mozilla Firefox
  • Close Safari

Whichever program you use to surf the internet, close it.  Never respond to an unexpected offer for security software via a pop-up or bubble, telling you that you are at risk.  Any click on that window can start the download process. Sometimes even the little x at the top right of the popup window won’t even close it and will start the download.

If you close the internet immediately you should be safe, however, you never know.  The best thing to do at that point is to run your computers virus checker and spyware searcher.  As clients of Leprechaun Technical Services your computer should be running the ZoneAlarm Firewall and AntiVirus/AntiSpyware program, as well as, Spybot Search and Destroy. Both of these programs will protect and if necessary remove any infections or rogue programs that may have been inadvertently planted on your machine.  If you suspect an issue run a scan with both of them in succession starting with Spybot Search and Destroy.  Make sure your computer comes back clean. Yes it is time consuming but so is reformatting your hard drive or retyping that document that was lost when your computer was fried.

These threats are popping up more frequently. They have recently been found attached to advertisements which means that even the websites you trust are susceptible to this scam.  Scareware is just a criminal tactic to catch you off guard.  When you are prepared for such attacks their scare tactics won’t work and you will remain safe.

As always please feel free to contact Leprechaun Technical Services’ offices if you have any questions or concerns.