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Scareware Costliest Security Threat During 2010

According to the security company 'McAfee,' fake antivirus software popularly called scareware hits 1 Million computer users each day. The malware is expected to prove the most expensive Internet threat during 2010.

McAfee explains that fake security warnings of scareware encourage computer users to execute so-called free scanning applications or purchase phony antivirus software. This type of antivirus software proves malicious since it steals personal data. The security company states that fake security warnings as described are heading to become the greatest monetary risk for 2010. During 2008-09, McAfee recorded scareware increasing at the rate of 660%.

Commenting on the scareware threats, Jeff Green, Senior Vice-President of McAfee Labs, stated that even computer users who were most skilled became victim of the online attacks due to the high level of sophistication of cyber criminals, as reported by Marketwatch on March 9, 2010.

In scareware scams, cyber criminals entice unsuspecting end-users into visiting maliciously crafted websites. These websites contain different search keywords mostly associated with breaking news stories. This tactic is called Search Engine Optimization (SEO) poisoning in which Web-surfers land on the evasive websites where they find pop-ups informing them of supposed malware infection on their PCs.

Indeed, an appropriate example of scareware campaigns involves the recent Oscar prizes.

Francois Paget, Senior Virus Research Engineer at McAfee Avert Labs, states that scareware scams were an extremely profitable venture for cyber criminals, as reported by V3 on March 9, 2010.

Paget further said that a company called Innovative Marketing reaped $180 Million via the scams within just a single year. Besides, over 4 Million end-users bought the company's fake security program believing that it was authentic, he told.

Apart from this, McAfee stated that people should know and remain safe from free screensavers as well as other software offered by non-reliable entities.

Eventually, the company said that it was providing tips to computer users on how to be 'street smart' to remain safe online. Accordingly, it has posted a movie of scareware scams on the McAfee Consumer Threats Blog along with various tricks for scareware detection and how to minimize the risks from them.

Related article: SecureWorks Identifies Bank and Information Stealing Trojan Coreflood

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