Microsoft and Washington State’s Attorney General filed lawsuits in an attempt to protect frightened customers from buying useless software from scam artists.
Such scam artists use what is called "Scareware" to trick computer users into clicking on pop-up alerts that claim their device is "damaged and corrupted".
They are then persuaded to buy software that corrects the non-existent issue by offering fake security fixes.
Attorney General Rob McKenna called it a blatant rip-off of consumers.
Users are "duped into downloading a fake scan (of the computer) and then duped into paying for software they don't need".