Scareware: What is It and How to Avoid It
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Scareware: What is It and How to Avoid It

Scareware is the sneak tactics being used by cyber criminals to get you to willing give them access to your computer.

According to a BBC News Website, the average home computer with a broadband connection is targeted 50 or more times every night by hackers. Using a Honeypot PC, a special computer that looks like any normal personal computer to the would-be hacker's computer, the BBC team recorded every attempted security breach made against it. A Honeypot Computer is designed and programmed to record every action made upon it over its broadband connection. On a typical night, the Honeypot Computer was attacked 53 times.

Symantec Corporation, the supplier of Norton Security products, estimate that 86 percent of all computer attacks are directed against home computers and that is alarming when you consider that there are roughly 200 thousand malware programs in existence today. I run Norton's Internet Security (I just upgraded to the 2012 version) which notifies me every time there is an attempted attack on my computer and see that little box pop up four or five time every hour.

Danger! Warning! Your computer has been infected by a virus!

In many ways you have to respect the criminals of yesteryear because they had the honesty and the courage to face you, gun or knife in hand. The cyber criminals of today are sneaky, cowardly bastards who prey upon your fears without physically showing themselves to you. The average home computer user lives in a world of fear, a world filled with computer viruses, spyware, key loggers, adware, and other malware programs. For most home computer users, these things are a mystery to them, and it is human nature to fear the things you do not understand. The cyber criminal preys on those who do not under the inner workings of their computer hardware and software.

A few days ago, I was researching an article that I was about to write for another site that I write for when this popped up right in the center of my browser window, “Danger! Warning! Your computer has been infected by a virus! Click here to have your Windows malware removal tool remove it now!” the average person would have clicked that button right away without a moments hesitation. They would have clicked it out of fear. I knew that it was highly unlikely that any virus had snuck by my protection programs that scan everything before it enters my computer. Clicking on the Norton icon in the Notification Area, I was informed that my computer was “Secure.” Those warning messages are designed to tick a person into turning off their computer protection programs by clicking on that button.

“Your Computer may be at risk!”

“Your Computer may be at Risk” is another scareware message to get you willingly download malware unto your computer. The message “Your Computer may be at Risk” is usually followed by “Click here to upgrade your Windows Firewall.” Clicking on that button does not upgrade your firewall program but opens a portal for the hacker to gain access to your computer, allowing him or her to do whatever he or she wants.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Total security does not have to cost you hundreds of dollars in software and you do not need to be a computer geek to initiate it. I have used many different firewall programs, anti virus programs, anti spyware programs, etc over the years but I have come to sear by Symantec Norton security programs. Norton's Internet Security 2012 is the only program for Windows users that I recommend. Norton Internet Security 2012 will cost you between $40 and $70, depending on where you download it from for a year and it comes with a license that allows you use on up to 3 home computers.

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Comments (18)

Well I guess that is one benefit of having dial up! Nobody bothers to try to hack you!

They will try Brenda, if you maintain the connection long enough.

Good stuff!

Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

Very informative.

No truer words written Jerry. I too have been targeted recently and my poor old PC is now out of commission and I am now having to share my partners. A well written warning to us all.

Yes, a very disturbing prospect. Great article, Jerry. Something for all of us to think about.

Really scary.But I am not unduly worried about such attacks since I guard mine with AVG 2012.Thanks Jerry.

Very informative and valuable information here for anyone who uses the internet and that's practically everyone...some more savvy than others. And you're right...these are cowards who hide behind the system while preying upon the fear of their victims. Good job here! Thanks for posting valuable information...voted. Thanks

i protection is what we need..Norton is really good

The scare marketing tactics employed by anti-virus program makers are simply the same ones used by insurance companies, investment firms, pharmaceutical companies, etc. Their motto: Scared customers make good customers. Scared, uninformed customers can be manipulated. AVG has worked very well for me, along with Google Chrome as my main man browser.

William, the scare messages that I was talking about in this article were not coming from company marketing anti-virus programs but from cyber criminals trying to scare people into clicking on a button that allows them to install their malware on the victim's computer. I have used AVG in the past myself but the Norton product that I now use is far superior.

It is sad that there are people who spend their time trying to destroy your computer. Norton is what I use at home and it has worked well for me.

I had a firewall that told me how many times someone had tried to breech it and it was around 150 a day, sometimes much more.

Excellent written article that is a great help to many computers users...who are unaware.

I've seen some of these pop ups that come on sites and seem to be genuine and they are not. You need to look at the small print so called "advt" in the corner to see that its not from your anti virus but another kind of alert altogether.

This is one of the most annoying online experience I had which at one time shutdown my IBM T20 laptop when I'm still using it about a decade ago. Excellent information, Jerry.

Very useful article to make people aware of what goes on!