Scareware is the malware equivalent of spam. It’s everywhere. If you haven’t seen it yet, you will, in some form. This is a particularly grim version of the typical virus, able to infect a computer with a lot of Trojans simultaneously, including keyloggers. Scareware can be found on the most harmless looking sites, even pictures. If you’ve got your own computer repairs service, you can at least get some advice about how to manage it, but Scareware needs to be dealt with ASAP, so you may not have the luxury of getting advice when you need it.
Note: This article is intended to provide basic information about how to manage Scareware without getting too technical, but please be aware that you really do need some level of basic computer literacy to manage the issues.
Scareware attacks- Easily recognizable
Scareware attacks start with a bogus warning of a computer security issue with a dialog box for installing security fixes. This warning is usually designed to look authentic, but can sometimes tell you that a type of computer security you don’t even have is compromised.
The minute you see that screen–
- If you’re at work, notify your IT services administrator immediately. The viruses can get into the entire system.
- Don’t touch anything on the page or click on the “dialog box”. It isn’t a dialog box. The page is designed to download viruses if you click on anything, including any X buttons or other features of the warning.
- Close the browser tab. This shuts off any further access to your computer.
- Disconnect the internet connection, whether it’s a router or wireless, so the virus can’t access the internet. You may have the virus, but it can’t do much unless it’s connected to the net, and most importantly can’t start attacking your ID or online money or send your information anywhere.
- Run a full security scan with your antivirus software. This should pick up several Trojans, if they’ve infected your computer. (Also check the software’s “holding pen” or quarantine for anything it may have caught itself, which won’t show up on the security scan.) Don’t be surprised to find anything up to 10 or even more Trojans.
- Run another scan with an external name brand free scan like McAfee, AVG, or the Microsoft services. This is for confirmation that your computer is virus-free. Some of these scans, like the McAfee scan, can also identify cookies, which you can delete with your browser tools.
- Notify your bank that you might have a problem. They will understand, and will also look out for any unusual transactions.
Making absolutely sure you’re OK
If you’re not technically minded, get help, and get it immediately. Your computer service people can tell you how to manage the problems, or do it for you.
Do not take the risk of possible infections.
People have been cleaned out in a few hours by viruses like these. It’s not worth the risk. Play safe, all the time.