What is Scareware?

Scareware is scam software that tries to get you to purchase a useless or even harmful product by fooling you into believing that your computer has viruses, malware, or spyware.

It most commonly appears as a new icon in the lower right taskbar and through the constant spawning of pop-up windows.

Knowing what scareware is, here are the 4 easy steps to remove it:

Things You Will Need

Internet Access
15-30 minutes

Step 1

Shutdown your computer and reboot into Safe Mode (During start up tap the [F8] key until a black and white menu is displayed). Select Safe Mode with Networking from the list and continue. This will start the computer in Safe Mode.

Step 2

Once in Safe Mode, open your web browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, etc.) and go to malwarebytes.org. If you can't browse the Internet, the scareware probably added a proxy server setting to your web browser.

A proxy server acts like a filter and if set incorrectly can prevent you from browsing the web or take you to sites that host malicious software.

Here is where to check your web browser's proxy settings:

In Internet Explorer, go to ToolsInternet OptionsConnections TabLAN settings Button and ensure the checkbox under Proxy Settings is clear.

In Firefox, go to ToolsOptionsAdvancedNetwork TabSettings Button and ensure No proxy is selected.

In Google Chrome, click the wrenchOptionsUnder the Hood TabChange Proxy SettingsLAN settings Button and ensure the check box under Proxy Settings is clear.

You only need to check this for the main browser you are using. Once done, malwarebytes.org should load.

Step 3

Download and install the free version of Malwarebytes. At the final installation step make sure the two check boxes for Check for Updates and Run Malwarebytes are checked. This will automatically update Malwarebytes with the latest list of malware threats and launch the program at the completion of setup.

Step 4

Select Quick Scan from the main Malwarebytes menu and click the Scan button. The scan will start and usually takes 10-12 minutes to complete. It can take up to 45 minutes for older systems with a lot of data. At the completion of the scan you will see a red number indicating the total number of infected objects detected. Next, click Show Results and a detailed list of infected objects will be displayed. You can review the list and then select Fix Now. Malwarebytes will remove the infected objects and generate a log file of the actions taken. Finally, you may need to reboot your computer to complete the removal process.

Your system should now be infection free! If your computer gets a lot of malicious software, you should consider purchasing the Full Version of Malwarebytes, as it offers real-time protection.

Also, remember that installing and running Malwarebytes is not a substitute for either your anti-virus program or firewall.

Tips & Warnings

If the Quick Scan finds a lot of infected objects I recommend you follow up with a full scan. This normally takes 1-1.5 hours but checks every file on the system.