Even though technology has become part of our daily lives, not everyone is tech-savvy. There are millions of people out there that still fall for different online scams. In this article, I am going to talk about a type of scam in which hackers use a special type of malware, named scareware, to provoke fear in the victims to defraud them.
Scareware means a computer program that generates panic and fear in people to trick them into taking any action. In general, the scareware programs are associated with fake antivirus software. It falsely notifies people that their device (computer, tablet, mobile phone) is infected with malware/viruses/spyware. In the worst circumstances, the scareware takes control over your device and makes it slow or erupt other sorts of virus infection signs to scare you.
When hackers are successful in terrifying people, they ask victim to buy an antivirus program. But this program is fake and is not capable to removing any viruses. Hackers might also offer tech support service that help you to remove malware for a small fee. But again, your computer is not infected in the first place! Hence you are buying a product or service which you don’t need at all!
It is scareware that masquerades itself as an antispyware program. It gives users a free scanning option, then displays a list of false threats and security alerts. It makes users pay for the removal of these threats.
Image Source: telenet.be
This scareware program changes the computer’s screen wallpaper and showcases a grey bleeding skull image every five minutes. It also starts playing the horror sounds in the background. It indicates that the user’s device is infected with a virus, and only after buying certain antivirus software, they will be able to remove these background images and sounds.
Image source: amp.blog.shops-net.com This image Nightmare scareware displays to scare victims.
Spyware Protect 2009
This scareware is made for a computer running Microsoft Windows. It imitates Microsoft’s original antivirus software. It shows users the fake scanning report and charges them for malware removal. It is also known as MS Antivirus and Antivirus XP 2008/2009.
Image Source: Bleepingcomputer.com
It is a scareware program that claims to clean windows registry, fix any system and hard drive errors, and recover damaged MS office documents and music/video files. It offers a free trial version of the software, and when the user installs it, it shows fake errors and non-existent trojans and viruses. But with the free version, you can’t quarantine and remove these threats. It made users pay for the premium version of the software to take any further action.
How to Protect Yourself from Scareware
- Don’t take any actions in panic and never trust any ads, popups, emails, or notices that indicate your device is infected. Instead, download and scan your device with a genuine antivirus program. For example, Comodo Antivirus and Malwarebytes offer free scanning and malware removal option.
- If your device is indeed infected with viruses, and the security programs can’t detect or remove them, you might need to take it to the tech support person. But make a separate good search and look for a reliable local person/agency, instead of calling on the number given in the ads/popups.
- If nothing works, you can wipe out your device’s memory. Use the following tools. They will remove everything, including all the viruses and malware. Make sure you have taken a backup of important files before doing so.
These are some free tools that can wipe out your devices’ memory completely, including all types of malware like viruses, worms, ransomware, trojan horse, etc.
To wipeout PC/Laptop’s hard drive:
Use these free tools.
To Reset phone to the factory settings.
Select the phone manufacturer to follow the reset steps.