Skip to main content
  1. Life
  2. Home & Living
  3. Lifestyle

For your safety: understanding computer terms for illegal activity, scareware an

See also

Unfortunately, the farther computer technology advances, the more it opens ways for criminals to commit fraud. Two of the more popular methods are forms of malware called scareware and adware.

Scareware is unethically marketed software that reaches consumers via other sites they visit. It’s attention-grabbing messages that are designed to cause fear, worry, or perceived threats.

For example, you shop for gifts online at XYZ stores. Going to their homepage, you see a flashing message: “Warning! We’ve detected a (dangerous) virus on your computer! Purchase and download this (name of a program) eradicator immediately!”

Unfortunately, the “dangerous virus” was a hoax. The purchased “fix” was also. Therefore, you’re not only out the money; you've possibly installed something that does nothing but takes up vital space on your computer. Worse yet, it may cause real harm to you and your PC!

Adware is another data collecting program that’s downloaded from the Internet. It’s a lucrative way to generate advertising money for the software’s developer.

Adware gets on your computer two ways. One is you purposefully put it there. The other and most common method is when it’s unwittingly introduced because it’s hidden in other downloads, especially free software. Mainly, it’s a consequence of clicking on misleading, fraudulent pop-up windows.

Like spyware, most adware includes mechanisms that gather, monitor, and report pertinent personal information. It follows and remembers your browsing habits. Furthermore, it tempts you with additional pop-ups that are related to other websites you’ve visited.

If you see advertisements on your desktop or within your programs, you have adware. Aside from the annoying pop-ups, it can cause your computer to run slow. Furthermore, it can affect your Internet connections, intensify the instability of your PC, and change your default search engine and/or homepage.

Some of the more commonly known adware programs are “Ask.com Toolbar,” “Gator,” “WeatherBug,” and “Yahoo! Messenger.” Like other “virtual foes,” there are many programs designed to detect and remove it. Some also block it from being installed.

There are effective, inexpensive programs that remove adware. They include Bitdefender, BullGuard, Trend, and Norton, ranging in price from $19.97 to $49.99. There are also free ones like Spybot Search and Destroy, Lavasoft Adaware, and Spyware Doctor.

It’s comforting to know each new category of malware also brings new discoveries to combat it. The trick is staying informed about what’s out there and how to fix it.

Advertisement

Life

  • Randy Travis
    Randy Travis returns with 'Influence Vol. 2: The Man I Am' in August
    Today's Buzz
  • Alternative medicine
    Alternative medicine: Remedies to make the bugs in your body go away for good
    Camera
    7 Photos
  • Beach body
    Fitness: Earn your beach body badge with bootcamp classes
    Camera
    10 Photos
  • Back to school
    These 10 items are sure winners on your back-to-school shopping trip
    Camera
    12 Photos
  • Izabel Goulart
    Izabel Goulart walks the runway with Studio F at Colombia Moda
    Camera
    19 Photos
  • Ombre' technique
    Go for the gusto: What ombre' technique are you?
    Camera
    5 Photos