Let’s say you’re bored, so you decide to surf the web to kill some time. You see an interesting news story about your favorite pop star, click on it, and BAM! A window pops up, telling you that your computer is infected. Has this happened to you before?
This is one of the more prevalent scams on the Internet. Federal investigators and security experts estimate that anti virus scammers have extracted approximately $1 billion from victims in the past several years. But the methods employed by these high-tech scammers are not high tech – they are just malicious.
How does it work?
It can all happen very quickly: you click on a link, which triggers a pop-up, that immediately issues “critical” warnings that your computer is infected. These warnings can appear to be an error message directly from your computer, and usually have bright read flashing text and ominous graphics. However, the warning kindly tells you that for a certain amount of money you can download an anti-virus software to “fix” the errors on your computer – errors that don’t exist or that are actually planted by the software they are selling. Even if you are smart and do not purchase the software, merely clicking on the warnings can deliver other forms of malware or actually install viruses or spyware onto your computer.
Warning Signs – how can you identify fake anti-virus programs?
How can you protect yourself?
1. Have your system secure by always having a firewall in place.
2. Never click on pop-up advertisements.
3. Open emails only if you can verify the vendor and trust them.
4. Always scan email attachments with your anti-virus program if it does not do so automatically.
5. Only buy anti-virus software from reputable companies. Check the names carefully, because scam artists try to make their products look and sound similar.
6. Adjust the privacy settings on social networking sites you frequent to make it more difficult for people to post content on your page, lessening your chances of malicious software being passed on to you.
7. Report to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (www.ic3.gov).
8. Report to SCAMBOOK!
So What’s the Difference Between Antivirus and Anti-Malware Software?
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