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Windows 10 will now protect users from scareware

(Image credit: Image Credit: JMiks / Shutterstock)

Microsoft is taking a hard stance against software and applications that utilise scare tactics to trick consumers into purchasing them. 

Adverts that provide 'free scans' of a Windows PC which later detect a virus or defects that only its paid software can fix are all too common on the Internet and the company will soon take action to protect users from these scams.

Microsoft has recently updated Windows Defender's website to provide further clarification on how its security solution identifies malware and other unwanted software.  In the post, the company highlighted a number of unwanted behaviours caused by software intended to take advantage of users. 

Microsoft specifically called out software that uses “coercive messages” to trick users into installing and paying for it, saying: 

“Programs must not display alarming or coercive messages or misleading content to pressure you into paying for additional services or performing superfluous actions.” 

The upcoming crackdown on scam software will also target apps that trick users into taking surveys, downloading files, or signing up for newsletters to fix problems on their systems that do not even exist.  Software makers that use any of these or other scare tactics will have to be very careful about advertising their products once the new rules go into effect on March 1st. 

Windows Defender Security Research team member Barak Shein explained the reasoning behind Microsoft's new update, saying: 

“This update comes in addition to our other long-standing customer protection requirements designed to keep our customers from being deceived by programs that display misleading, exaggerated, or threatening messages about a system’s health.” 

The Internet has become an increasingly dangerous place for less tech-savvy users and hopefully Microsoft's update to Windows Defender will prevent them from falling victim to dubious software. 

Image Credit: JMiks / Shutterstock

Anthony Spadafora
After living and working in South Korea for seven years, Anthony now resides in Houston, Texas where he writes about a variety of technology topics for ITProPortal.