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Increasingly, web users are plagued by sites that appear to offer services to help protect their computers from viruses, Trojans and other web baddies. Because the primary tactic used is to frighten users into downloading the software; we’ve dubbed this category of attacks “scareware” or “rogue anti-virus.” Often, the resulting downloads and services contain malicious software that either takes over the user’s computer or allows other attackers access to the computer. Protecting yourself from scareware is tricky, and even users with up-to-date PCs (with Windows Update installed and running) can fall victim to it.

As seen in the image below, a Scareware site mimics the Windows Explorer background, displays a fake animation of a scan and then displays a list of viruses “infecting” the user’s computer, inviting the user to download their “anti-virus” product. Because Scareware sites can earn hundreds of millions annually, the number of domains hosting Scareware has shot up in the past year. This rapid growth, and the threat to infected users, has resulted in Bing starting to tackle how to handle sites when they are identified as being infected with, or are hosting Scareware.

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When identified, Scareware sites are blocked from appearing in Bing results. This feature adds to the existing protection we offer to users from drive-by downloads, safeguarding users from social engineering attacks that provide false information about products or services to spread viruses.

As Scareware is extremely transient, appearing and disappearing on sites very quickly, it is likely we may miss a few pages. You can help us by informing us of any pages that may appear to host scareware through our support form. In the drop-down list that specifies the problem, please select “Other”, fill out the remainder of the form and hit “submit”.

Thanks in advance for helping Bing protect you, our end users, from these threats. We aim to provide you with the safest and most secure search experience possible.

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18 comments
  1. menchu

    Yes, I agree entirely. In conjunction, I've come across sites that won't even allow you to download the free software unless you run a scan first! So, I don't bother.  Thanks for the support form link, which is now in my Favorites Bar and will provide feedback as and when I find such sites in the future. Thanks for your efforts to help reduce this ridiculousness! menchu

  2. webdesignbangalore

    I have got this virus once

  3. hotels

    Great article about viruses, just make sure keep up to date with protection.

  4. renadex

    I took care of this problem with the spybot search and replace program. Up until this time i was always getting infected. SB&D i think its called is one of the best programs iv installed to combat menacing annoyances.

  5. TPJaveton

    This is a great article about scare tactics marketing and "Scareware" is a most appropriate discription for this type of software and the owners who push it on the rest of us. I downloaded a similar program about two years ago and had a tough time getting rid o it. Thanks for the article.

    TP-

  6. IT-Blog

    I am normally using Malwarebyte to remove that kind of virus/scareware from Computeres. It is a great fast tool.

  7. Mark Harris

    Nice

  8. discoverycounseling

    Downloading as brought unwanted virus .. so I avoid downloading at all costs.

  9. t.cross99

    The whole "rogue security/AV" scam has reached epidemic proportions. At my store (a href="http://www.battlegroundcomputers.com"&gt; Battle Ground Computers</a>) I seen many variations over the past months and usually one or two per day. With a little bit of digging, I can usually find how they are executing (look in All Users | ApplicationData) and can stop them from loading so I can do further diagnosis.

    The problem is, each and everyone I've seen lately installs behind a rootkit. If you've never had the pleasure of dealing with one of these little nasties, it's simple – YOU CAN'T REMOVE A ROOTKIT WITH SOFTWARE!!!. Save yourself countless hours of trying to scan your computer  – once the OS has been modified by the rootkit, all scans will be clean because the OS that the scanner is using (Windows) has been compromised to hide the rootkit.

    Learn how to recognize a rootkit and then take appropriate measures – backup all data, zero-fill the HD, reinstall. I've given detailed instructions on how to diagnose and repair a rootkit at <a href="http://www.malware-removal-guide.com"&gt; Malware Removal Guide.</a>

    Then, learn how to protect the computer (Hint: software can't do it) by learning some of the tactics used by hackers (see the Social Engineering link under the Protect page).

  10. t.cross99

    The whole "rogue security/AV" scam has reached epidemic proportions. At my store (http://www.battlegroundcomputers.com) I seen many variations over the past months and usually one or two per day. With a little bit of digging, I can usually find how they are executing (look in All Users | ApplicationData) and can stop them from loading so I can do further diagnosis.

    The problem is, each and everyone I've seen lately installs behind a rootkit. If you've never had the pleasure of dealing with one of these little nasties, it's simple – YOU CAN'T REMOVE A ROOTKIT WITH SOFTWARE!!!. Save yourself countless hours of trying to scan your computer  – once the OS has been modified by the rootkit, all scans will be clean because the OS that the scanner is using (Windows) has been compromised to hide the rootkit.

    Learn how to recognize a rootkit and then take appropriate measures – backup all data, zero-fill the HD, reinstall. I've given detailed instructions on how to diagnose and repair a rootkit at http://www.malware-removal-guide.com

    Then learn how to protect the computer (Hint: software can't do it) by learning some of the tactics used by hackers (see the Social Engineering link under the Protect page).

  11. Mayenne

    t.cross99 has made a good point. The best advice of all, however, is to never to download software "blind", just because a message appears on the screen. Always check the company out first.

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