If you've ever landed on a web page that supposedly scanned your computer, said it was infected and tried to sell you anti-virus software, you've had a brush with "scareware."
Scareware is malicious software designed to scare consumers into buying something they don't need by masquerading as a legitimate anti-virus product that supposedly detects a variety of threats that don't exist.
Once a consumer lands on a scareware-loaded webpage, they're informed they need to purchase antivirus software immediately to repair their "infected" machines. Scam victims are typically barraged with aggressive and irritating notifications such as pop-ups that refuse to close until they agree to supply a credit card number and buy the utterly worthless "antivirus" software.
U.S. and European law enforcement agencies recently busted two international cybercrime rings that infected more than one million computers worldwide with scareware and swindled consumers out of nearly $75 million in the process.