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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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