in HIPAA Headlines by John Brewer

Scareware is the latest is trickery.

What is “scareware”?

Scareware is the latest in internet based social engineering.

A group of people have devised pieces of software that generate real looking, but fake graphics that appear to be your operating system warning you there is a virus on your system.

“Just click the OK button to clean your system”

Famous last words.

If you clicked OK to this fake warning, you open up a can-of-worms that is not easy to put the lid back on.

Computers are not DIY, Scareware is not either

The computers in your office should not be a do-it-yourself fix situation.

In fact, part of your company computer policy (you have this correct?)…the part that guides your company employees on anti-virus (I say again, you have this, correct?) should be crystal clear in stating that no employee should try to “fix” a virus, spyware, malware or similar issues on their own.  Only the IT department should handle this.

This part of your office computer policy needs to give the exact guidance as to what they should do:

  1. Stop and do not click on anything else
  2. Take a screen shot (optional)
  3. Call your computer IT person to deal with the problem

There is a good article on ZDnet about this, and I grabbed the below montage of fake warnings from the site.  It is good to be familiar with these fakes so you don’t panic and click the OK button.

Scareware messages

Fake Virus Warnings - click to see full size

Just remember, your office needs to assign somebody, whether an employee or a contract IT company, who will be contacted when a virus message appears.  There is no need to panic…that is what “they” are hoping for.

Put down the mouse and pick up the phone.

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