Sunday, May 22, 2011

boo! ahhhh! scareware!!

a few months ago i got a call from my dad, asking if dan could help him with some computer problems. he said a box popped up telling him that his computer was infected with viruses and needed to do a scan. what we had to explain was that he was being tormented by something called "scareware". maybe you've heard of it, maybe it's happened to you. it's another threat to our online experience, but you can educate yourself on it, and learn to not fall for the tricks.

scareware is what it sounds like. something that is supposed to scare you and get you to do something (no, not chainletters, though those are questionable too). in most cases, a box will pop up on your screen, warning you that your computer is infected with viruses. it will say you are infected and you need to run a scan with this antivirus program. it will look all official, and because it's flashing and has lots of !!!!!'s, it scares you into believing it's lies and you fall for the trap. in reality, it was just a harmless pop-up, but once you click on the "ok, please save me" button, it downloads it's junk, and then continues scaring and scamming. your newly downloaded virus will now make your life a living hell.... yes... zombies will be involved.... and we all know that's never good.

you thought you were being a smart surfer and conscientious computer user by following your computer's warnings, but unfortunately, The Malicious Ones are at it again. they scare you into thinking something bad is on your computer, and then ever so kindly offer you a solution. one that costs money. YES! your hard earned money! to clean off the crap they put on there in the first place! but sometimes, they don't even actually clean it off! they just tell you they do, and then months later, you get another pop-up warning you that your computer is infected and the cycle starts again. their trick is to scare you into something that, in all seriousness, is legitimately scary. no one wants viruses on their computer. most of our lives are on the there! pictures, videos, school stuff. so they get you with that. then, in your worried state, they get you again by offering a solution to your problem. "we have this amazing program that will solve all your virus problems! just pay us $$$ and your worries will be gone!" so now they lied to you, and took your money...  it's not a very good day, is it? :(  

but!! we can prevent this from happening! yaaaaaaaaaaay! i'm here to offer you a solution... and it's free! :) anytime something questionable pops up like that, "x" out of it. there should always be an "x" for you to get the heck outta there that will be safe to click. never, ever ever ever, click on the 'ok'. always "x" in the upper right corner. i sometimes even get freaked out clicking the x, so i'll go so far as to control-alt-delete it instead, and close it from there. closing it out right then and there will prevent many a headache from happening for you! now chances are you had that pop-up, pop up from a compromised website you went to. you should steer clear of that website. the pop-up will continue to happen. as far as it infecting your computer, nothing should actually have happened.. it was just out to scare you. unless you actually clicked "ok", your computer should have a clean bill of health from this attack. always a good idea to run your own antivirus and spyware program though, just to be safe. you do have something protecting your computer, right? make sure it's updated and run a scan of your computer from time to time. it never hurts. i'll post a blog about all of that another time.

also... never trust what you don't know. unless it's your actual antivirus program warning you something is wrong, it could just be a scam. know your programs, and how to use them! TMO's are lurking around everywhere online, so be careful! watch what you click on, educate yourself, and keep your computer clean!


  1. im glad you're here to keep me educated. for people like me who dont get along well with computers, this kind of info is good to know.