McAfee, Inc. warned its consumers that ‘scareware’ which is fake antivirus software, can be the costliest online scam of 2010, originating major financial loss and harm to users’ computers.

McAfee’s product manager Andrea van der Westhuizen, associated with Workgroup says, “Scareware is first outline scan of McAfee’s new program of Consumer Threat Alert, which is available through very simple sign up on www.mcafee.com/consumer-threats-signup. It warns the consumers about newest and most hazardous online threats, available through the McAfee Labs.”

She said,” Scareware, is amongst the most established, risky and complicated online scams, which is abusing about one million people every day around the world. “McAfee Labs has given data saying that cyber criminals are making profits of more than R2-billion globally by scamming consumers through scareware.

She added, “Counterfeit antivirus software gives alerts to the user that his/her computer may be at risk. To cover up scam, cyber criminals make genuine looking logos of counterfeit security companies.”

The pop up message instructs user to scan his/her computer for viruses if any, which s/he doesn’t understand, are fake. Sometimes even purchased security software is actually a malware. Cyber criminals find innocent victims and gather credit card information, bank details etc. through the user’s computer. Criminals have attacked every region around the world through fake antivirus software.

Counterfeit scams of antivirus cost users with millions of dollars every year. Scareware is along with the most customary, unsafe and difficult online scams, which victimized around one million people every day. According to McAfee Labs reports, cyber criminals build profits of more than $300m internationally by scamming consumers through scareware.

Francois Paget of McAfee Labs said, “It’s an extremely profitable industry for cyber criminals.” According to a research security expert, who studied about fake antivirus companies world wide has said, “One company named ‘Innovative Marketing’, made projected amount of $180m by these type of scams in 12 months and surprisingly, more than 4 million users purchased the counterfeit security software without knowing it was fake.”

According to McAfee, there has been a 660 % increase in scareware in the last couple of years and a 400 % increase in informed incidents in last 1 year. McAfee’s program of Consumer Threat Alerts assists consumer to cope with the growing and complicated threats.

Van der Westhuizen says, “Subscribers can look ahead to get periodic email alerts regarding how to recognize newest online threats and tips on how to be safe”. All the threat information is given in very easy to know language with examples. It also contains tips about how to evade threats and also the details for users who believe they can become a victim.”