10 Phony Scareware Variants Scammers Use to Steal Your Money

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10 Phony Scareware Variants Scammers Use to Steal Your Money

by Fahmida Y Rashid

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The Familiar, Trusty Disk Utility Tool

Known variants of these fake tools include HDD Diagnostic, HDD Repair, HDD Rescue, HDD Plus, Smart HDD, ScanDisk, and Win HDD. The fake disk scanner claims to check for read/write errors, file integrity, registry errors, and "outdated and missing drivers."

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The Doctor Is In

Another disk utility tool, its not as fancy or as jam packed with information as the others. Its name plays upon the legitimate, trusted utilities like Norton Disk Doctor.

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Defrag that Drive

The defragmentation screen looks quite similar to the Windows Disk Defragmenter tool. Note how the fake utility claims to run in "Safemode" to trick the user into thinking its actually doing something helpful.

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The Defrag Window

With large storage capacities and fast computers, its no longer that critical to defragment the hard drive. Even so, fake utilities with names like Ultra Defragger and Defragmenter still trick users into thinking they need it, especially home users working with older, slower computers.

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Fake Antivirus Tries to Sell Another Fake Utility

ThinkPoints delivery mechanism depends on the a fake Microsoft Security Essential clone. While scanning, the fake AV throws a warning that there are other issues on the computer, and prompts the user to download ThinkPoint to fix the "problems."

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All-in-One Security

Instead of just focusing on one PC management task, this version promises it all: license management, internet and system security, disk utilities, and checking for updates. Known variants: PC Optimizer, PC Protection Center, Privacy Corrector, and Privacy Guard.

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Pay Up to Clean Up

Payment screens vary, but they all ask for credit card information before fixing the "found" issues. Check out those holiday deals and offers to provide lifetime support. The MasterCard and Visa logos are perfectly legit, since yes, scammers will accept credit cards, but dont link back to the credit card companys legitimate sites.

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A Less Overwhelming All-In-One

This phony All-In-One security pitch is less overwhelming in its layout, but the goal is the same. It offers to do everything you would conceivably need. Note the tiny link to Microsofts "Online Safety and Privacy Education" page on the lower left. It is a real link, and adds a touch of legitimacy to the fake software, said GFIs Adam Thomas.

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The Original Fake Software

Fake Antivirus continues to be a big money-maker, with new variants popping up everyday. The name here evokes the real Microsoft Security Essentials antivirus, but this version is entirely a scam.

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The Helpful Antivirus

This fake security utility, Antivirus 2010, is so smart it detects hacking attempts real-time, but it will prevent the attack only if the user upgrades to a paid version. Listing the "attacking" IP address is a nice touch, as its assigned to "Network Information Center Mexico" according to the RIPE database.