Study of a New Genre of Malwares Called “Scarewares”

September 1, 2010

Study of a New Genre of Malwares Called “Scarewares”

Depending on their characteristic, Malware can be broadly classified into various types. Most of us are probably aware of the common terms like Virus, Trojan, Spyware, Adware etc.
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However, on the basis of certain behavioral traits, further classification of these broad types is possible. For example, based on the cloaking and stealth mechanism of certain Malwares we can identify them as Rootkits, some are called Rogue Anti-Spywares because they try to fake themselves as Anti-Spyware Applications etc. The purpose of this article is to make people aware about a new genre of Malware called Scareware. With the focus of Malware authors changing, of late there has been an explosion of a new breed of more financially motivated threats called Scareware. Scareware is a kind of Malware which has been designed to trick victims, using various Scare mechanisms, into buying, downloading or installing fake, useless or potentially malicious files. This is perhaps a very bookish definition of what we would actually mean by the word Scareware. In recent times, this definition is no longer sufficient enough to describe these threats properly. To understand them in a better and simpler way, we will take a look into some of the most common Scareware available today. We will also see the various tricks and scare tactics these Malware use to lure, intimidate or trick the unsuspecting users into their traps.

Rogue Anti-Spyware

Rogue Anti-Spyware applications have plagued the internet. These are part of a very well thought of and well planned attack. Also called Rogue Security Software, these are applications that pretend to be legitimate security applications. They use various kinds of tricks to make the user believe the legitimacy of these applications. From the names given to these applications to the look and feel of the application, the Malware authors make sure that the average user surfing the internet will believe it to be something that can be useful for him/her to get rid of unwanted files and Malware from the system. Seldom do they know that the stuff that they are relying upon is in reality a specific kind of Malware in itself.

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