Don’t Fall for This Cyber Security Scam
One cybersecurity scam that is worth mentioning and explaining is fake antivirus software. Fake antivirus software is software that tries to make the user download it by pretending that the user’s computer is infected. In fact, the user’s computer will only become infected if he downloads the fake software. The software is usually a .exe file and once it downloads, it can wreak havoc on a computer. It can corrupt information, delete files, and even crash a hard drive. Fortunately, if you know what to look for, you can avoid this cybersecurity scam.
The best indicator of fake antivirus software is that it pops up suddenly when you are browsing the web, and you have never heard of the company before. Note that if you installed legitimate antivirus software, such as Webroot or Norton, and you get a pop-up from them, then you should address it. However, if the pop-up is from a strange company or doesn’t look like something that would come from your own antivirus software, then beware.
If you accidentally click on the download button for the fake antivirus software, and you have legitimate antivirus software installed, there still may be time to save your computer. Hopefully, an alert from your real antivirus software will come up and inform you that a malicious program is trying to download. You should then be able to cancel the download of the fake antivirus program.
There are other indicators to watch out for as well. Is it difficult to close out of the fake antivirus program? Sometimes, these programs create multiple dialog boxes to try to keep users on their page. Additionally, does the fake antivirus program exaggerate the threat? Sometimes these programs use huge fonts, red letters, etc. to try to scare users into downloading the fake program.
Perhaps the best piece of advice, if you encounter something you suspect is a fake antivirus program, is to remain calm and think about your options. Remember that you have time. Often, viruses can’t do any real damage until you open the program after you download the program. If you are genuinely concerned that you may have encountered this cybersecurity scam, and you have antivirus software, you may be able to call your antivirus software provider and ask for help.
Additionally, if you encounter something you believe may be a fake antivirus program, think about what kind of website you are on. The CNN website, for example, almost definitely wouldn’t expose you to fake antivirus software. However, some small business websites are actually fairly susceptible to malicious software. This is because small businesses can’t afford the security systems that large businesses utilize. In sum, if you are on an unfamiliar small business website, or any website that you don’t think gets a lot of traffic, make sure you use caution and keep alert for this cybersecurity scam.
Finally, if you do happen to get your computer infected from a fake antivirus scan, the best and cheapest thing you can do is to try to run a real antivirus scan using your real antivirus software.