Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Avoiding Scareware.

You have probably seen it on your computer at one time or another. You are surfing the internet and then a window pops up and says something to the effect that your computer has been infected with a virus and to click here for a free scan. The windows look legitimate, and it looks like you are using a real antivirus program to scan your system, but it is not. It is a piece of software called "scareware". Scareware is defined as a type of malware designed to trick victims into purchasing and downloading useless and potentially dangerous software. Usually, when a person's computer is infected with this type of program, pop-ups will plague the screen until you download their supposed anti-virus software. This type of malicious program is also called "ransomware" because it will slow down your computer and cause all kinds of problems until you pay the money for the download. Some of these fake anti-virus programs look very legitimate and professional. They have names and graphics that look just like authentic anti-virus programs. The best way to protect yourself from this situation is to not click anywhere on the pop up window. Close the entire browser instead of clicking the "x" in the pop up. Even clicking that "x" can cause an infection in some cases. If you can't close the entire browser, use "ctrl-alt-delete" to quit out of the browser. Make sure your computer has legitimate anti-virus software installed, know the name of the software and know how it is updated. For example, the BPS uses Symantec AntiVirus for all of the computers. The updates are automatically pushed through the network. If you get a pop up for any other anti-virus software, it is probably going to be a scam.

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