Scareware is a horror story program that disguises itself as an antivirus or embedded security system. Scareware forces the user to install the necessary software for “treatment”, which usually needs to be paid for.

Scareware is often present on infected sites. When a user visits one of these, a warning window pops up, similar to the message of a standard antivirus. The pseudoantivirus reports that it allegedly scanned the system and found a problem (or a whole list of them). To solve this problem, it is proposed to download the paid version of the pseudoantivirus. Then everything depends on the computer literacy of the user.

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Among the typical threats that scareware programs “find” are viruses and porn. Sometimes there are scareware that mimic official warnings from law enforcement agencies that “discovered” pirated or other illegal content on the user’s computer.

The scareware creators have basically two goals, and they often combine: extortion (in this case, scareware is classified as a type of ransomware, which we have a separate article about) – installing malware, including spyware.

Some of the scareware are also dangerous because they can disable and even delete working antiviruses after installation. Then the device becomes even more vulnerable.

The sources may be infected websites, email newsletters.

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