Scareware is a particularly virulent type of malicious software. An attack can deliver multiple Trojans into your computer. This type of malware is well-named It’s scary, and you’ve got a very good reason to be scared. You may need home computer support to deal with it and to remove it, but it is possible to do it yourself.
Recognizing an Attack
Scareware attacks always start with a “signature” type of message. This is usually a red screen with a security logo and a dialog box. The screen will tell you that your security has been compromised in some form, and tells you to click the dialog box.
As a matter of fact, it’s not a dialog box. If you click it, nothing appears to happen. The fact is that the entire screen is booby-trapped with an “overlay” of this image which is triggered when you open or click on the screen.
If you click anywhere on the screen, you’ll activate the malware, which will then infect your computer.
At this stage, you’ve got a problem in theory, but not necessarily in fact. If you close the tab without clicking on anything, the malware may not activate.
Dealing with the Scareware Attack
The problem is you can’t be sure that you’re out of the danger zone at this stage. There are a few steps you need to take to make certain you’re OK:
- Shut down your browser.
- Unplug your wireless modem or router. This cuts off the viruses from the Internet.
- Run a full security scan.
- Check Quarantine to make sure your browser hasn’t already found and isolated the viruses. (Some security software does this automatically, but you still have to run the scan to make sure you got everything.)
- Don’t access your online banking or any other personal information. Some Trojans carry key-loggers which can read your information when you enter passwords, PINs and similar information.
- If you have anti-malware software, run that as well. The Microsoft anti-malware scan scans the registry and other system files.
- Ring your financial institution and talk to tech support. Explain that you had a scareware attack, and that you’re worried about possible infections. Your bank won’t need any explanations. It’s important, however, to have a record of your concerns noted if there are any problems. Most banks are well-organized for these situations, and you’ll have a record of an issue on file.
- Restart the computer. If it acts slow or otherwise unusually, you may still have an infection.
- If you’re still worried, get support from your on site computer repair people. Explain the issues, and they’ll run their own scans. This adds some extra levels of safety.
Scareware is just plain mean. These attacks can be stressful, and any type of malware which can hit you with up to 12 Trojans should be considered a serious risk. Don’t take any chances at all, if you’re hit with one of these attacks. Carry out the points above, and if you’re not sure, get help. It will be worth it.