‘Scareware’ Targeting More Computer Users

Computer security experts say they’re seeing more users fall victim to a scam that promises to fix whatever viruses might be on their computers, while giving criminals access to their personal information. David Pitman reports.

About a million computer users every day are being tricked into installing what’s called ‘Scareware.’  Dave Marcus is the director of security research with McAfee Labs.   He says Scareware is a trojan, dressed up to look like a piece of valid security software, offering to perform a free virus scan.

“It gives you horrible messages that there’s something wrong with your machine,  you’ve got 800 viruses.  And if you’re good enough to pay them $29.95, they’ll be happy to clean it for ya.”

Scareware example messageMarcus says the easiest way to avoid falling victim to the Scareware scam is to decline any unsolicited offers from anti-virus companies that aren’t well-known.

“If it’s something you’ve never heard of before, like XP-2010 Security Suite, or something, chances are it’s going to be a fake and the results it’s giving you are simply there to get you to buy their product.”

Even though this scam has been around for a couple of years, Marcus says the people behind it are finding new and more clever ways to get people hooked.  It’s expected that Scareware will become the costliest malware of 2010 — to the tune of more than $300 million.


David Pitman

David Pitman

Host, Morning Edition

Hi there. I’m glad you found me. Let me take a moment to answer some of the questions you might have about me and my job. I have worked as Morning Edition Host and reporter at News 88.7 since August of 2009. Previously, I hosted Morning Edition at WMFE in...

More Information