A new Microsoft report cites a dramatic increase in scareware programs that warn PC users about purpoted problems then try to sell them a fix through bogus security alerts. The Attorney General's Office is going after businesses that market products this way and has filed seven suits under our Computer Spyware Act.
“We won’t tolerate the use of alarmist warnings or deceptive ‘free scans’ to trick consumers into buying software to fix a problem that doesn’t even exist,” Attorney General Rob McKenna warned last fall when we filed a case against marketers of a supposed registry cleaner program. “We’ve repeatedly proven that Internet companies that prey on consumers’ anxieties are within our reach.”
The Microsoft report cites 48 percent increase in rogue security software infections in the second half of last year, according to a TechFlash post. One popular method of distributing scareware is spam-- in particular, fake messages that promise sexy celebrity videos, leading to sites that install the malicious code.
You'd think it would go without saying that you shouldn't click on links in e-mails. But apparently people still do it. So let me say it again: Don't click on links in e-mails, especially if they're tempting you with smut. Got it?