Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert

If one could have a favorite scam then Scareware would be it for me. My reasoning for this is its one of the few scams that actually gets through to me. My defenses are pretty good, but I see scareware. They’ve even took my blog posts and used my SEO and name to launch scareware in Google News Alerts. I got some criminal hackers attention and he created scareware in honor of lil’ ole me!

Webpages may be infected or built to serve the scareware-er. Clicking on links is what gives rise to scareware. After landing on a page, pop-ups bombard you and warn that your PC is infected with an Ebola scarecrow like virus and your PC will die a horrible death with fluids running from all ports if you don’t fix it immediately for $49.95.

Shutting this pop up off is often difficult and any buttons you press within this pop up could mean downloading the exact Ebola virus they warned you of. BRILLIANT!

Criminals are even using Google Ads and have posted ads on well know sites such as E-Harmony and Major League Baseball.

I’m online all day every day and do a ton of research, which means I click lots of links, and see scareware often. If I wasn’t aware of IT security and what this ruse was, I’d been bilked of $49.95 long ago. Many Many people take the bait, more than you can imagine.

Studies show scareware is making organized criminals $10,000.00 a day! That’s approximately 200 people a day getting nabbed. Some “distributors” have been estimated to make as much as $5 million a year. scareware

What makes the scam so real is there is actual follow through of the purchasing of software that is supposed to protect you. There is a shopping cart, order form, credit card processing and a download. Just like any online software purchase.

The software is sometimes known as “AntiVirus2009” “WinFixer,” “WinAntivirus,” “DriveCleaner,” “WinAntispyware,” “AntivirusXP” and “XP Antivirus 2008.” And are actually viruses or spyware that infects your PC or just junky software that does nothing of value.

A report by the Anti-Phishing Working Group, released in March 2009, found 9,287 bogus anti-malware programs in circulation in December 2008 – a rise of 225% since January 2008. That’s simply because the scam works well.

Teams of criminal hackers each have their own tasks and responsibilities. Team one creates pages loaded with scareware and works those pages into the search engines, others infect websites. Team two creates the junky or spyware ridden software you are scared into buying. Team three creates the infrastructure for shoppingcart you to make a real purchase and process the credit card.

Protect yourself. Invest in well known anti virus such as McAfee or others. Make sure your browser has a pop-up blocker turned on to avoid having to be “scared”. If you get a pop up click the red X in the upper right corner and nothing in the body of the pop-up, however I suggest shutting down your entire browser.

Make sure you PC is updated with critical security patches and most of all, be smart.

Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Speaker discusses Ransomeware, a form of Scareware here

I’m excited to work with uni-ball in 2009 in a partnership to help raise awareness about the growing threat of identity theft and provide tips for protecting yourself. Check out for more information.

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