Once, girls were girls and men were men; you knew who you were then. And you knew who the bad guys and the good guys were; the viruses the former, and the virus-fighting programs the latter. No more, though. Nowadays, the very programs you were counting on to fight viruses might be nothing more than viruses themselves. Time to learn a new word. You’ve heard of malware, spyware and virusware? Now welcome to the world of “scareware,” the fastest-growing segment of the rogue software population out there.Disguising itself as a solution, scareware actually creates a problem, prompting you to voluntarily install it by scaring you into believing that you’re “infected.” It’s happened to anyone who’s surfed the Internet – especially Windows users, who are most vulnerable – at one time or another. You’re checking out a site when all of the sudden, a message flashes on the screen. “Security scan in progress! Your system could be infected with bad viruses!” And as the scan progresses, the list of infections on your PC gets longer.To solve the problem, says a notice at the end of the scan, you need XYZ Virus Killer, which you can install by clicking on a button. Naturally, you do so – but are then told that the program will only actually remove those viruses if you pay them $49.95, right now. That’s how scareware works; shocking and scaring you with identifiable threats, scareware is basically a shakedown.But it gets even worse; you may have installed not just an annoyance, but a rogue application that will hijack your computer for use as a spam forwarder (a popular function of viruses today), for example. Remember, a virus is just another application, as far as your computer is concerned, and you probably have anti-virus programs installed to keep out rogue programs, preventing them from installing themselves without your permission. How much easier it is for the hackers if you do the installation work voluntarily.