Definition - What does Scareware mean?

Scareware is a deceptive process designed to trick Web users into downloading and/or purchasing malicious software (malware) by generating user disruption, anxiety or panic. Scareware formats include malware, adware, spyware, Trojans and viruses.

Scareware is also known as SmitFraud, crimeware, fake anti-virus, rogue anti-virus, rogue security and rogueware.

Techopedia explains Scareware

Scareware generates pop-ups that look like Microsoft Windows system warnings and alerts for anti-virus/anti-spyware software, registry cleaners or firewalls. These deceptive pop-ups create a user call to action to purchase scareware and repair alleged errors.

Scareware may include a clickjacking feature to redirect a user to an attacker’s website or initiate a malware download if a user tries to close the pop-up. Scareware also coerces users into uninstalling legitimate anti-virus software. If a suspicious pop-up appears, the user is advised to right click on the taskbar item and select close, or exit the browser by selecting Ctrl-Alt-Del to terminate the browser process.

Scareware infects users and their computers via any of the following methods:

  • Email scams masked as breaking news alerts or greeting cards
  • Ads providing free scans or system clean-ups and displaying a long list of unknown threats to generate user fear
  • Affected websites retrofitted to take advantage of software vulnerabilities
Share this:

Techopedia Deals

Connect with us

Techopedia on Linkedin
Techopedia on Linkedin
"Techopedia" on Twitter

Sign up for Techopedia's Free Newsletter!

Email Newsletter

Join thousands of others with our weekly newsletter

The 4th Era of IT Infrastructure: Superconverged Systems
The 4th Era of IT Infrastructure: Superconverged Systems:
Learn the benefits and limitations of the 3 generations of IT infrastructure – siloed, converged and hyperconverged – and discover how the 4th...
Approaches and Benefits of Network Virtualization
Approaches and Benefits of Network Virtualization:
Businesses today aspire to achieve a software-defined datacenter (SDDC) to enhance business agility and reduce operational complexity. However, the...
Free E-Book: Public Cloud Guide
Free E-Book: Public Cloud Guide:
This white paper is for leaders of Operations, Engineering, or Infrastructure teams who are creating or executing an IT roadmap.
Free Tool: Virtual Health Monitor
Free Tool: Virtual Health Monitor:
Virtual Health Monitor is a free virtualization monitoring and reporting tool for VMware, Hyper-V, RHEV, and XenServer environments.
Free 30 Day Trial – Turbonomic
Free 30 Day Trial – Turbonomic:
Turbonomic delivers an autonomic platform where virtual and cloud environments self-manage in real-time to assure application performance.