The pop-up ads that appear on the screen that warns you when the computer is infected with viruses and advice you to purchase antivirus software that will “magically” eliminate are what is known as Scareware Scams.
Scareware attacks are the efforts of cyber criminals attempt to steal the confidential credit card information and at times the victim’s personal data. These appear as legitimate warnings from antivirus software companies and ultimately claim your computer.
If you were to fall for the trick and install the program, you would have not only submitted your credit card information to criminals but would also have placed all the information on your computer in great jeopardy. They charge from $29 up to even $100 and guarantee to free your computer from all the supposed viruses it has been exposed to.
Tactics such as spam mails that distribute scareware have also seen a rising trend as of recent times. Once such mails are opened victims are tricked into spending money to buy worthless services. Falling for these sans also opens doors to increase your liability for future identity theft crimes.
However, you can protect your computer from such scams by installing a recognized and real antivirus software and reading the warning signs of scareware that can include:
The Pop-up ad stresses the urgency
The aim of such scams is to frighten you into submission of your personal data and purchase the fake product. Hence, these pop-up ads are designed to contain urgent warnings that convince that your computer is infected with dozens of viruses. So, the more urgent the message the higher is the likelihood of it being a scareware scam.
Hard to dismiss
These pop-up ads are extremely hard to dismiss with a barely visible “x” button on the top right corner most often. Clicking which opens up more warnings is also a clear indicator that it is a scareware scam.
Such scareware most often pops up and urgently warns you of the dozens of so-called viruses plaguing your computer security claiming that they have “scanned” your computer. However, in application doing so is not possible.
Such scams ask you to purchase the malware emphasizing the urgency of the action before you have time to think twice about it.
5 Tips to Avoid Scareware Scams
If this ever happens to you then you need to be prepared and protected. The next time a pop-up ad appears on your screen in any circumstance don’t click on it. Always close the ad and be wary as most often it’s more preferable to close your browser than to try to close the ad itself.
For instance, the pop-up ad does not allow you to close your browser then you can use the short cut keys Ctrl-Alt-Delete. Also don’t provide credit card information anywhere and if you want to purchase anti-virus only opt for recognized and legitimate software.
Here are some additional measures you can take to keep the scareware at bay include:
Use Ad Blocker
Keep the ad blocker on at all times, especially when visiting new websites and sources, this can prevent pop-ups from appearing on your screen in the first place.
Update your browser frequently
Updates can be annoying however ensuring to update your browser from time to time can allow protection from such pop-ups in the future. In addition, turning on automatic updates would also be the best alternative as it would not require your constant attention.
Installing a legitimate antivirus
Installing a legitimate antivirus that is reliable on all your devices is also an active way of ensuring that you have the best protection against the scareware. It is also important to install the updates for the antivirus software as they come out.
Resist the urge to click pop-ups
Resisting the urge to not click any links or suspicious “download now buttons can also be key for protecting your computer security.
Virtual Private Network
Using a VPN also aids to protect all of your network traffic by encrypting your data and traffic. However, a VPN always be used in combination with quality antivirus software when connecting to the Internet.
In addition, malware can put the security of your computer and data in great jeopardy. However, by taking the correct measures, one can surely avoid frauds of such nature.
Likewise, selecting a reliable VPN service to improve your privacy is not an easy task. You have to consider different factors like server network, logging policy, privacy and security features, compatibility, and others before making a final decision.