We are all aware of the recent computer hacking directed towards some of the most sensitive information in our country. The criminals who perpetrated these crimes tried to disguise their actions by doing it anonymously. In this same venue, many of you are aware of scareware, which is generally introduced as a fake message that falsely informs you that your system has an infection. Once your system is infected with scareware, it will cost you between $49.95 and $129 to remove the bug from your system.
This type of hacking has been going on for years and I have been required to remove it from the computers that had been infected, but I wondered at the time why it was so difficult for the authorities to arrest these individuals. Thankfully, the FBI completed a sting operation that has shut down a network of hackers that proved to be worldwide. We also need to offer thanks to European authorities who, working in conjunction with the US, shut down operations in Latvia, France, Sweden, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands. The FBI estimates that over 960,000 computers were infected with this fake virus.
The effect of the scareware was to freeze up infected computers while a pop-up would appear that resembled a Windows warning screen. However, in this case, the alert was false and tricked consumers into purchasing a purported fix that consisted of a fake anti-virus software. If a consumer didn’t buy the fake software, the files on the system became inaccessible, adding to their frustration.
So how can you avoid becoming s scareware victim? As a user you should never purchase or install any software that hasn’t been recommended to you by a professional or that you are not familiar with. Additionally, beware of those ‘free scans’ that you may see when surfing the Internet as they could well be bait to access your computer and as always you need to protect your system with a legitimate and up-to-date anti-virus program. Some of the free reputable companies include avast!, AVG, and Avira AntiVir Personal, which are available for consumers who cannot afford to purchase another commercial product.