McAfee warned consumers on March 9 that “scareware,” or fake anti-virus software, may be the most costly online scam in 2010, causing significant monetary loss and damage to users’ computers.
Apart from the scareware files themselves, many malware that aid rogue anti-virus programs in attacking computers are grouped into the fake-alert Trojan family. Prior to the first quarter in 2009, the number of fake alerts discovered were under 100,000 per quarter. About 250,000 newly discovered fake alerts were reported in Quarter One 2009, about 350,000 new fake alerts were reported in Quarter Two 2009, and over 600,000 new fake alerts were reported in Quarter Three 2009. Quarter Four 2009 and the current quarter in 2010 are about 350,000.