Security Corner

Feb 24 2009   3:37AM GMT

Scareware – Yes, People Do Fall for the Ruse

Ken Harthun Ken Harthun Profile: Ken Harthun

What happens when people fall for the scareware ruse and actually install the stuff? Oddly enough, they may not even know they’ve been duped. Their systems may run a little slower, but they may be fooled into thinking they’re now being protected by the malware they’ve installed. What follows is a real-life example of someone who wrote in to a well-known security forum. (So as not to cause embarrassment to the victim, I have changed names and details.)

Question one, [Miss K] is very upset that Microsoft uninstalled her new antivirus program.  [Gentlemen], she writes, “I turned on my computer a few days ago, and I got a message saying that Microsoft MSRT had removed AV 2009 from my computer.  So now I don’t have an antivirus installed.  I tried to download another copy of AV 2009, but I couldn’t remember where I got it.  Can you tell me…” [the gentleman reading this question actually thinks it’s a joke] “Can you tell me where to find it, or recommend a free AV program?”

Here is some of the conversation between the hosts:

Host1:  And a lot of people have been getting it.  And MSRT has been removing it from a lot of machines.  So in case [Miss K] is serious, we’re not laughing at you, we’re laughing with you.

Host2:  Yes, because you’re not alone.  There are many, many, many people who’ve fallen for this.  I get – literally I get this call on the radio show all the time.

Host1:  Yes.  Yes.  So do not go looking for another copy of it.  Actually it’ll probably find you, without you having to look for it, and happily crawl into your computer.  It is malicious.  It’s good that Microsoft MSRT removed it.


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