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(also rogue security software)

Rogueware definition

Rogueware, a subset of scareware, refers to malicious software disguising itself as legitimate security software (an antivirus) or system utilities. The primary goal of rogueware is to deceive and trick users into believing their computer is infected with malware or experiencing other problems. It then prompts users to purchase or download the rogue software to fix the supposed issues.

See also: scareware

Dangers of rogueware

Rogueware employs aggressive and deceptive tactics to scare users into taking action, for example: displaying fake virus alerts, threat warnings, or pop-ups claiming the computer is compromised. These alerts use alarming language and visuals to create a sense of urgency and panic.

If a user falls for the deception and downloads or purchases the rogueware, they may install a malicious program that can further compromise their system. In some cases, rogueware can steal sensitive information, introduce additional malware, or render the computer unusable until a ransom is paid.

To protect against rogueware, it’s crucial to maintain up-to-date antivirus and anti-malware software, avoid clicking on suspicious links or pop-up ads, and be cautious when downloading software from unfamiliar sources. Regularly updating operating systems and software patches can also help mitigate vulnerabilities that rogueware may exploit.

Further reading

Ultimate digital security