The Most Costly Scam of the Year: Scareware, Says McAfee
Article by George Norman
On 12 Mar 2010
Scareware (fake antivirus, or rogue applications) are programs that claim to be genuine, properly good security software solutions that will detect, remove and protect against malware. The catch is that they only claim to do so – they cannot actually protect against a thing. Once installed on your system (either manually by you, or without your consent by a Trojan for example) the scareware will trick you into thinking your system is infected. Then it will ask you to register, or purchase a full version to remove the infection (the fake infection that the fake antivirus application detected with its fake security software capabilities).

Con enough people into purchasing scareware and you can make a pretty buck by scamming people out of their hard earned money. Back in December for example the FBI said the people with malicious intent behind scareware or rogue security software applications caused loses to users of more than $150 million.

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McAfee, company that specializes in providing security software solutions for home and business users, says that the cybercriminals responsible for coming up with scareware make more than $300 million by scamming users all over the world. A company called “Innovative Marketing” stands out in particular because it made an estimated $180 million in one year by peddling scareware to 4 million unwary users.

For the past two years, the number of scareware scams has increased by 660%. For the past 12 months, the number of scareware scams has increased by 400%.

According to McAfee, scareware scams will be the most costly scam this year. Computer users need to stay safe and protected – that is why McAfee launched a new Consumer Threat Alert program meant to warn computer users about the latest and most dangerous threats available in the wild.

“Even the savviest of computer users fall victim to online threats because cybercriminals have become so sophisticated,” said Jeff Green, senior vice president of McAfee Labs. “The Consumer Threat Alerts are a warning sound to keep consumers from falling victim to online dangers. We’re on the front lines watching and protecting against threats, and we pass that knowledge onto consumers. We’re giving consumers the ‘street smarts’ they need to live their online lives safely. With education and the right technology, we can all play a part in the fight against cybercrime.”



Tags: McAfee, Security, Scareware, Rogues, Fake antivirus, Consumer Threat Alert
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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The Most Costly Scam of the Year: Scareware, Says McAfee
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