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Dear Blast Readers,

As children most people loved the idea behind Halloween, unlimited candy, jokes and a reason to dress up and scare/shock your friends and neighbors. What if you were the victim of a trick designed to trick you into buying and installing potentially dangerous software. This trick is called Scareware. It has become evermore common in the age of constant computer use. This malignant software is made to create shock, anxiety, Hack-a-boo- Blastand/or the idea of a threat. Usually, it begins with a pop up or email that informs the user that his or her device has been compromised by cyber criminals. There are two types of Scareware. The difference between the two types of Scareware is that one actually contains malware and the other does not.

The first type of Scareware targets users who are more likely to believe pop ups or emails. This type of Scareware targets the elderly, or is sent out in mass. The hope of this type of Scareware is to convince the computer user that his or her computer has been ”infected” by a harmful program. The Scareware then prompts the user to buy and download a “critical antivirus” to remove the software. In reality if the user buys and downloads this “critical antivirus”, he or she has infected their computer.

So, what should you do if you experience one of these pop-up ads or emails?

Continue using the Internet or your email, but don’t disclose any of your personal information. Avoid clicking “download’ on any suspicious messages or pop up ads.

The second type of Scareware is much more malicious. This type of Scareware affects users by first infecting them with malware. This malware can include Ransomware. Ransomware encrypts a users computer. This encryption is unauthorized and can prevent further use of the computer. Once the computer has been fully taken over a message prompt appears on the computer. This message directs the user to pay a “ransom” to unencrypt the computer. Paying this “ransom” is not a guarantee, a lot of the time cyber criminals will take the payment and never be heard from again, leaving the user locked out of their computer possibly forever.

So, what should you do if your computer becomes infected and starts encrypting your files?

Turn off your computer immediately. The less time the program has to work the more likely the infection can be quarantined. Next, leave the computer off and contact a computer forensic specialist. This form of Scareware is especially nasty. Do not connect this infected computer to USBs, hard drives, or your home network; this can lead to more devices becoming compromised.

Some tips to help avoid becoming a Victim:

1.       Don’t put off buying and installing anti-virus software, as well as other Internet security software.

2.       Research the anti-virus software before purchasing it.

3.       Do not click on any links or pop-ups from unknown sources.

4.       Do not open emails from an untrustworthy source.

Scareware is designed to trick users and has the potential to be devastating. For more information on Scareware and how to protect your system feel free to contact FDS Global by visiting our website at www.FDS.Global or give our office a call at (954) 727-1957.


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