The Threat Encyclopedia is where we arm you with all the knowledge you need to understand and avoid malware of all types. This isn’t an in-depth analysis of malware code but instead covers the basics and helps you understand what antivirus programs like AVG protect you from.
In the majority of cases, scareware uses scare tactics or social engineering to get the user to act against a fictional threat.
The fictional threats usually take the form of a virus or other malware infection, prompting the user to install actual malware or follow some steps to remedy the situation. As discussed in the AVG Community Powered Threat Report Q4 2011, the number of fake Antivirus scams is on the rise.
Instances of social engineering have also grown over recent years as cybercriminals find alternative routes to bypass security software.
A popular example of social engineering is when the user is contacted by a stranger claiming to be from a reputable company. They convince the user that there is a problem with their computer or service and ask them to follow certain steps. These steps actually expose the user to malware and allow the attacker access to their personal information as nearly happened to an AVG Community member.
As described in the above blog post, here are some tips to ensure you stay safe from scareware and social engineering attacks.
- Know your own activity- If they make claims about your activity that you know to be untrue, proceed with extreme caution.
- Be inquisitive - Ask them direct questions about where they are calling from. After the call ring that company on an official line and alert them to the call you have just received.
- Do not give any personal information away – Do not reveal any information about yourself, be it usernames, passwords, personal details or addresses.
- Be click safe – Should the approach be made via email, do not reply to the email, follow any links or download any attachments the email may contain.
- Never allow remote access to your computer unless you’re dealing with a support issue with a trustworthy company – if you don’t know the company the person calling is from and you asked to have a support issue resolved then refuse remote access to your machine.
- Take Measures: Having your own updated antivirus program will ensure that should you have a virus, you’ll know about it before receiving a questionable popup.