The UK media are carrying news stories to warn the population about the rising number and sophistication of criminal web sites which when visited put up a pop-up window which purports to have detected a virus or multiple viruses on your PC. Some now even look very similar to the style popular virus checker software programmes, and of course they have done no such thing. You don’t have a virus infection. On the contrary, if you are tempted to click where they tell you to, the will put their own payload of viruses on your PC, and they may even charge you for a bogus virus clean-up fee.
Some of those who have to deal with this type of threat have now coined the term scareware for this tactic.
Scareware appears as legitimate looking pop-up alerts warning users their computer is infected and prompting them to install malware disguised as security software.
A guy called Stevie Wilson, has won some fame as a scareware victim. She lives in Los Angeles, and has publicised her story in a video.
This software has become so prevalent that the perpetrators are now operating in gangs making tens of millions of GB Pounds annually from the scam which prompts you to purchase fake antivirus or anti-spyware software to fix the fictitious problem. It is a particularly insidious threat since it looks like real antivirus software and can trick even some knowledgeable internet users.
The latest press reports suggest that some of these criminals have gone to ground recently and even go so far as to pinpoint individuals. That should not be that difficult given that the BBC, for example, has been stating that some of these criminal gangs have telephone call centres in one Eastern European state employing, it claims, more than 100 staff to make scareware calls to residents in the UK and other EU states.
It is essential for all web connected computers now to be protected by a virus scanning programme, and those that find a warning appearing to the effect that they need to download anti-virus software MUST think twice, before accessing the offered free scan, because it’s not a scan, it’s a scam!
Close the window and go to your own virus checker control panel, before you do anything and make absolutely sure that any warning like this is being made by your own installed virus checker. If it is not, then ignore it.