But malware developers are not ready to give up on the scam, so they are trying a new approach and are using scareware's current main reason of being as a diversion to steal information that can ultimately lead to money gain.
Microsoft researchers are warning about a new variant of the well-known Reveton ransomware doing rounds.
It is being delivered on the victims' computer via the Blackhole exploit kit, and on the surface acts like it always did: locks the computer screen and demands money to unlock it:
But in the background, the malware downloads a password-stealer component from its C&C server and runs it.
"PWS:Win32/Reveton.B can steal passwords for a comprehensive selection of file downloaders, remote control applications, FTP, poker, chat and e-mail clients, as well as passwords stored by browsers and in protected storage," say the researchers. "However, as it can load almost any DLL served by the C&C on the fly, this might change."
Keeping your OS and software updates should minimize the possibility of being faced with malware, they say, but in case you do get hit by a Reveton infection, it's a good idea to change all your passwords once you remove the malware from the computer.
Reading our newsletter every Monday will keep you up-to-date with security news.
Receive a daily digest of the latest security news.