Dealing With Malware and Scareware

Scareware is a scam that often occurs as a browser pop-up window that resembles a legitimate security utility. The program often features a realistic title. Typical scareware appears to scan your computer and look for malicious programs or problems. When it finishes the scan, it tells you that there are numerous threats on your computer, and you should click the pop-up to install a program that will rid the PC of its issues. Clicking the pop-up allows the scareware to install viruses, spyware, and/or alter the security settings of your PC. Alternatively,the scareware may instruct you to buy the full version, touting the (likely fake) list of malicious software on your system as proof that the scareware is worth your money. Here, we’ll show you how to spot and remove scareware from your computer Las Vegas virus removal.

Detecting Scareware

Jamz Yaneza, research manager at Trend Micro (us.trendmicro.com), says, “Scareware can take many forms. The first cybercriminals used tactics that warned users of infections with things like fake antivirus that would attempt to steal credit card numbers by saying you needed to pay for the software to fix the problems. Cybercriminals have become more devious and cunning. Now, you’ll see fake diagnostic tools or search engine optimization tactics that mimic the manner that real-time antivirus products protect your system. Others will imitate codecs, saying that you’ll need to download something if you want to watch a Web video.” You should be skeptical of Web browser pop-ups, because pop-ups are one of the ways cybercriminals can break into your PC. “Whether you’re at home or at work, you should know anti-malware software is running on your computer or network. For example, if you know that your PC is running Trend Micro, you can be assured that when FakeAV-or whatever program-pops up, that it’s not the program responsible for monitoring the security of your computer,” says Yaneza. If the pop-up window is a program that doesn’t look familiar to you, it’s best to close it immediately. (We’ll cover how to properly close scareware pop-ups later.) Just know that whatever the scareware message says (such as that it has detected a hard drive failure), your computer will not be crippled if you close the pop-up. Scareware may also take the form of a spoof email that indicates you’ll need to take some kind of immediate action that requires clicking a link in the email. Due to an abundance of these spoof emails, UPS recently outlined the signs you should look for when reading unsolicited emails. We found this advice would be helpful for anyone trying to identify any scareware email. The list of items UPS does not request-in an unsolicited manner-includes payments, personal information, financial information, account numbers, IDs, passwords, and copies of invoices. Common indicators of scareware, according to UPS, include poor grammar (such as errors, misspellings, and excessive use of exclamation points), unexpected requests, and a lack of alternative ways to provide the requested information, such as a phone number, mailing address, or a physical location. Because the goal is to try to scare you into taking action, many types of scareware typically include some type of trick that pushes you to make an immediate response. Las Vegas computer repair – For example,the pop-up may indicate that “your computer has several critical errors and needs to be fixed immediately” or “your account will be suspended within 24 hours.”

Closing Scareware

When you see scareware, it’s important that you don’t click anywhere within the pop-up, whether or not there are options for Yes, No, or Cancel. In fact, you shouldn’t even select the Close window button in the upper-right corner, because any area that you select may have been manipulated by the cybercriminal to let it start installing viruses onto your PC. Instead, simultaneously press CTRL-W on your keyboard, which will close the pop-up. If that doesn’t work, press CTRL-ALT-DELETE, select Start Task Manager, and click Applications. Then, right-click the task for your Web browser and select End Task. This method will kill all the Web browser tabs you had open. If a scareware program has managed to install itself onto your PC, you’ll want to immediately run your security software’s scanner for virus removal in Las Vegas. The longer the scareware sits on your computer, the more damage it can do. For example, the scareware could begin to randomly load pop-up windows in your Web browser, or it can disable features in Windows’ Control Panel. Worse, scareware may disable your security software. If you find that it has been disabled, contact the security publisher’s tech support and see if it can remotely connect to your PC and remove the scareware.

Avoiding Scareware

The best way to prevent scareware from affecting your PC is to block it from reaching the PC. One way that scareware promotes itself is by pumping up search results so that they come up as the top result for popular keywords. For example, Trend Micro tells us that a malicious SEO (search engine optimization) campaign was able to push itself into popular search results by using malicious landing pages to redirect PC users to Web sites where the hackers embedded the scareware. Trend Micro’s Web Reputation Service, which is built into most Trend Micro software, is capable of detecting and blocking Web addresses that are thought to be a risk to your computer. Yaneza says, “Scareware uses Javascript code, which is the code that creates interesting designs and features on Web sites, so you can’t eliminate every threat of scare re. Nor can you block Javascript on your Web browser if you want to enjoy all of today’s Web sites.” Thus, the only way to reliably block and remove scareware is to keep your antivirus and antispyware tools up-to-date. One of the easiest ways to do so is with security software that uses cloud computing to provide real-time definitions for your PC. Trend Micro, for example, offers a feature called the Smart Protection Network to provide real-time protection for Web, email, and file-based threats.

 

Smart Computing | August 2011 p.66

 

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