Definition of scareware in US English:

scareware

noun

informal
  • Malicious computer programs designed to trick a user into buying and downloading unnecessary and potentially dangerous software, such as fake antivirus protection.

    ‘another worrying finding of the report is the huge increase in scareware’
    • ‘On average, Sophos identifies five new scareware websites every day, with the figure peaking at over 20 per day on occasion.’
    • ‘In fact, McAfee itself has recently reported that cybercriminals made profits of $300 million globally from scamming consumers with scareware.’
    • ‘Visitors to the New York Times website who were served the poisoned advert saw pop-up messages warning them that their computer had been infected, and urging them to install scareware.’
    • ‘The firm has identified more than 250 versions of this software, known as "scareware".’
    • ‘Sophos picked up an average of fifteen such scareware sites per day during the first half of 2009, a three-fold increase over the same period last year.’
    • ‘The people behind the adverts encourage Apple Macintosh users to download a piece of scareware called MacSweeper.’
    • ‘This past weekend, even the New York Times was duped into running a scareware ad on their site.’
    • ‘Symantec said that scareware vendors go to great lengths to initimidate and trick web users in to purchasing this malicious software.’
    • ‘Rogue/fake applications (scareware) such as this have been around for years on Windows.’
    • ‘Symantec also believes some people distributing the scareware could be earning more than a million dollars each year.’
    • ‘Just about any newsworthy tragedy is likely to be used as a theme to promote scareware portals these days, one of the easiest mechanisms for cybercrooks to make money.’

Pronunciation

scareware

/ˈskɛrˌwɛr//ˈskerˌwer/