The Airo “Scareware” classification refers to a software, application, program or behavior that use tactics of falsely scaring and alerting users, for the sole purpose of urging them into taking action that will benefit the attackers.


This would normally be associated with false or exaggerated claims about your system’s health, impersonating systems notifications and alerts, or any other scaring tactic with no real basis behind it.

The following is a (non-exhaustive) list of some behavioral examples and symptoms of “how ‘Scareware’ are likely to behave when evading, or attempting to evade, your Mac system”. If at some point, any of such behaviors become excessive or malicious, we may escalate the classification to a more severe classification:

  • Functionality that interferes or alters the general experience of your browser or your system without your consent, knowledge, or even awareness. When the sole purpose is to generate ads revenue, this would be classified as an Adware.
  • Functionality that may, occasionally, take control of your keyboard, mouse, browser or other basic functionalities. (Pay attention, we do not necessarily look for a devastating result, just behavior or mal-intent. Exploiting such functionality in a malicious manner would be classified more severely).
  • Language or design that uses false, exaggerated or confusing messaging without any basis or ground to do so.
  • Falsely scaring, urging or alerting users by using notifications, alerts, designs, buttons, ads or flashes intended to trigger user’s click or installation, all based on scare tactics.
  • Spamming or any other form of generating mass or excessive messaging.  
  • Tech Support Scams.
  • Suspected Phishing or Social Engineering practices. When verified, the classification will be escalated to a Malware.
  • Tricking or misleading users into believing that their system is compromised. Including the use of false alerts, messaging, notices or other similar forms, impersonating system notifications, unconsented or unexpected behavior. Or simply tricking, misleading or deceiving users.

Did you encounter any behavior that could fall under this category?
Feel free to submit the data for our examination.


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