Now is time for the most famous of viruses. Let’s roll out the red carpet, charge up the cameras and introduce today’s winner! Behold, the infamous ScareWare!
“ScareWare” are viruses that are used in slightly less sinister forms, but still have detrimental effects on your computing experience. They are most commonly found in the forms of infected websites, attachments, or flash-drive floaters. They are small, but harsh and scary-looking. Their sole purpose is to scare you into giving your money to these cyber crooks.
So what exactly is “ScareWare” and what does it look like? A somewhat ironic twist, it looks like a fully legitimate anti-virus program. They have the same colors as a windows program and sometimes even use the same symbols. They almost always tell you that your computer is infected with viruses and prompt you to buy their program to get rid of them. The most common ones usually carry the name “Antivirus 2011,” “Anti-Spyware 2011,” or “Windows Anti-Virus 2011.” Notice a pattern here? Take a look at the picture attached. For years we have seen them go up in consecutive order: Antivirus 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. Each year they get slightly harder to get rid of as well, but thankfully they all still follow the same pattern of removal (described in later posts.)
So what happens if you try ignoring this piece of monstrosity? Well, as is the way of these viral infections, you really can’t. It will keep coming up, festering and pestering you to purchase their ScamWare. Each computer restart yields no fixes. Removing it from startup MIGHT delay it, but it will still be in your computer, and might even restart itself again. Even once you pay for it, you are still held hostage because the program never uninstalls itself. It doesn’t have an Add/Remove Programs option and finding its originating files never works either. The removal steps vary from version to version, but there are ways to get rid of them.