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Hacking Alert Scam

Also Known As: Hacking Alert virus
Type: Adware
Damage level: Medium

What is Hacking Alert?

"Hacking Alert" is a fake error message similar to BSOD Error, Hard Disk Failure Error, BSOD Driver Problem, and a number of other fake errors. "Hacking Alert" is displayed by a malicious website, which users visit after encountering unwanted browser redirects caused by various potentially unwanted programs (PUPs).

These PUPs often infiltrate the system during installation of legitimate apps. As well as causing unwanted redirects, potentially unwanted programs also record various user/system information and display intrusive online advertisements.

Hacking Alert adware

This fake error message claims that the computer has been infected with high-risk malware that attempts to steal private data (passwords, pictures, etc.) It is also stated that rebooting the computer might result in system failure or permanent data loss. To solve this problem, users are encouraged to call a toll-free telephone number provided (0-800-098-8383).

Certified technicians then supposedly help to remove the virus. Be aware that this error is false. The malware does not exist - cyber criminals attempt to trick victims into calling and paying for help that is not needed.

Furthermore, potentially unwanted programs deliver intrusive online advertisements that conceal underlying content of visited websites and might also redirect to malicious websites. Therefore, clicking them is risky and can result in further computer infections.

In addition, PUPs collect various information (for example, IP addresses, geo-locations, websites visited, pages viewed, search queries entered into search engines, mouse/keyboard activity, etc.) that might be personally identifiable. The data is shared with third parties who misuse it to generate revenue.

This can lead to serious privacy issues or even identity theft. Therefore, potentially unwanted programs should be eliminated immediately.

The Internet is full of potentially unwanted programs that falsely claim to improve the web browsing experience by enabling various 'useful functions'. These claims are false. EverydayManuals, FastoPlayer, MySafeSavings, and other similar applications, provide no significant value for regular users.

Potentially unwanted programs are designed only to generate revenue for the developers. Rather than enabling the functions promised, PUPs cause unwanted browser redirects, gather private data, and deliver intrusive online advertisements.

How did adware install on my computer?

"Hacking Alert" errors promoting PUPs are usually distributed using a deceptive software marketing method called "bundling".

Developers hide bundled programs within the "Custom" or "Advanced" settings of the download/installation section, since they know that many users do not pay enough attention during these procedures. Rushing and skipping most/all steps exposes the system to risk of various infections.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

To prevent this situation, be cautious during the download/installation processes. Select the "Custom/Advanced" settings and closely analyze each step. Furthermore, decline all offers to download/install additional applications and cancel those already included.

Screenshot of Hacking Alert error pop-up (sample 1):

Hacking Alert error (sample 1)

Text presented within the error message:

Hacking Alert
System Blocked for Security Reasons.
Call 0-800-098-8383 for Support.
Please ensure you do not restart your computer it may lead to Permanent Damage to the System or data loss.
WARNING - Microsoft windows has detected that a porn virus has infected your system and trying to steal pictures, data and social networking passwords.
Please Call 0-800-098-8383 Now for Support.
Virus Code : 079-208-021


*******************************************************
Call Toll Free 0-800-098-8383 and Provide Virus Code: 079-208-021 to the Support Engineer
*******************************************************

Screenshot of Hacking Alert error pop-up (sample 2):

Hacking Alert error (sample 2)

Text presented within the error message:

System Alert
System Blocked for Security Reasons.
Please ensure you do not restart your computer it may lead to Permanent Damage to the System or data loss.
WARNING - Microsoft windows has detected that a porn virus has infected your system and trying to steal pictures, data and social networking passwords. This is a serious hacking issue You may be a victim of online identity theft.
Please Call 0-800-098-8383 for Support or Visit Support.Microsoft.com.
Terms & Conditions
Copyright 2016 ©Microsoft. All rights reserved.


*******************************************************************
Call Toll Free 0-800-098-8383 Or Visit Support.microsoft.com.
*******************************************************************


Your Browser have been hijacked or hacked.
This may happen due to obsolete network protections.
Consequenty we are performing additional security checks to verify the source of the attack and have halted all your system resources in order to prevent any additional damage to your system and information. Please ensure you do not restart your computer to prevent data loss.
Private and Financial Data is at RISK:
. Your credit card details and banking information
. Your e-mail passwords and other account passwords
. Your Facebook, Skype, AIM, ICQ and other chat logs
. Your private & family photos and other sensitive files
. Your webcam could be accessed remotely by stalkers
IMMEDIATELY CALL MICROSOFT AT 0-800-098-8383
MORE ABOUT THIS INFECTION:
Seeing these pop-up's means that you may have a virus installed on your computer which puts the security of your personal data at a serious risk.
It's strongly advised that you call the number above and get your computer inspected before you continue using your internet, especially for Shopping or Banking.
Call immediately for assistance.
Contact Microsoft At ( 0-800-098-8383 )
Terms & Conditions
Copyright 2016 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

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Quick menu:

Adware removal:

Windows 11 users:

Accessing Apps and Features in Windows 11

Right-click on the Start icon, select Apps and Features. In the opened window search for the application you want to uninstall, after locating it, click on the three vertical dots and select Uninstall.

Windows 10 users:

Accessing Programs and Features (uninstall) in Windows 8

Right-click in the lower left corner of the screen, in the Quick Access Menu select Control Panel. In the opened window choose Programs and Features.

Windows 7 users:

Accessing Programs and Features (uninstall) in Windows 7

Click Start (Windows Logo at the bottom left corner of your desktop), choose Control Panel. Locate Programs and click Uninstall a program.

macOS (OSX) users:

Uninstall app in OSX (Mac)

Click Finder, in the opened screen select Applications. Drag the app from the Applications folder to the Trash (located in your Dock), then right click the Trash icon and select Empty Trash.

Hacking Alert adware uninstall via Control Panel

In the uninstall programs window, look for any suspicious/recently-installed applications, select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".

After uninstalling the potentially unwanted program, scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components or possible malware infections. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.

Remove adware from Internet browsers:

Video showing how to remove potentially unwanted browser add-ons:

Internet Explorer logoRemove malicious add-ons from Internet Explorer:

Removing Hacking Alert ads from Internet Explorer step 1

Click the "gear" icon Internet Explorer options icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer), select "Manage Add-ons". Look for any recently-installed suspicious browser extensions, select these entries and click "Remove".

Removing Hacking Alert ads from Internet Explorer step 2

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the hacking alert virus, reset your Internet Explorer settings to default.

Windows XP users: Click Start, click Run, in the opened window type inetcpl.cpl In the opened window click the Advanced tab, then click Reset.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows XP

Windows Vista and Windows 7 users: Click the Windows logo, in the start search box type inetcpl.cpl and click enter. In the opened window click the Advanced tab, then click Reset.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 7

Windows 8 users: Open Internet Explorer and click the gear icon. Select Internet Options.

Reseting Internet Explorer settings to default in Windows 8 - accessing

In the opened window, select the Advanced tab.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - Internet options advanced tab

Click the Reset button.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - click the Reset button in the Internet options advanced tab

Confirm that you wish to reset Internet Explorer settings to default by clicking the Reset button.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - confirm settings reset to default by clicking the reset button

Google Chrome logoRemove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:

Removing Hacking Alert  ads from Google Chrome step 1

Click the Chrome menu icon Google Chrome options icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "Tools" and click "Extensions". Locate all recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons, select these entries and click the trash can icon.

Removing Hacking Alert ads from Google Chrome step 2

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the hacking alert virus, reset your Google Chrome browser settings. Click the Chrome menu icon Google Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome) and select Settings. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen. Click the Advanced… link.

Google Chrome settings reset step 1

After scrolling to the bottom of the screen, click the Reset (Restore settings to their original defaults) button.

Google Chrome settings reset step 2

In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Google Chrome settings to default by clicking the Reset button.

Google Chrome settings reset step 3

Mozilla Firefox logoRemove malicious plug-ins from Mozilla Firefox:

Removing Hacking Alert ads from Mozilla Firefox step 1

Click the Firefox menu firefox menu icon (at the top right corner of the main window), select "Add-ons". Click on "Extensions", in the opened window, remove all recently-installed suspicious browser plug-ins.

Removing Hacking Alert ads from Mozilla Firefox step 2

Optional method:

Computer users who have problems with hacking alert virus removal can reset their Mozilla Firefox settings.

Open Mozilla Firefox, at the top right corner of the main window, click the Firefox menu, firefox menu icon in the opened menu, click Help.

Accessing settings (Reset Firefox to default settings step 1)

Select Troubleshooting Information.

Accessing Troubleshooting Information (Reset Firefox to default settings step 2)

In the opened window, click the Refresh Firefox button.

Clicking on Refresh Firefox button (Reset Firefox to default settings step 3)

In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Mozilla Firefox settings to default by clicking the Refresh Firefox button.

Confirm your want to reset Firefox settings to default (Reset Firefox to default settings step 4)

safari browser logoRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

removing adware from safari step 1 - accessing preferences

Make sure your Safari browser is active, click Safari menu, and select Preferences....

removing adware from safari step 2 - removing extensions

In the opened window click Extensions, locate any recently installed suspicious extension, select it and click Uninstall.

Optional method:

Make sure your Safari browser is active and click on Safari menu. From the drop down menu select Clear History and Website Data...

resetting safari step 1

In the opened window select all history and click the Clear History button.

resetting safari step 2

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) logoRemove malicious extensions from Microsoft Edge:

Removing adware from Microsoft Edge step 1

Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) menu icon (at the upper-right corner of Microsoft Edge), select "Extensions". Locate all recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons and click "Remove" below their names.

Removing adware from Microsoft Edge step 2

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the hacking alert virus, reset your Microsoft Edge browser settings. Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) menu icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge) and select Settings.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset step 1

In the opened settings menu select Reset settings.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset step 2

Select Restore settings to their default values. In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Microsoft Edge settings to default by clicking the Reset button.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset step 3

  • If this did not help, follow these alternative instructions explaining how to reset the Microsoft Edge browser.

Summary:

declining installation of adware while downloading free software sampleCommonly, adware or potentially unwanted applications infiltrate Internet browsers through free software downloads. Note that the safest source for downloading free software is via developers' websites only. To avoid installation of adware, be very attentive when downloading and installing free software. When installing previously-downloaded free programs, choose the custom or advanced installation options – this step will reveal any potentially unwanted applications listed for installation together with your chosen free program.

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About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

PCrisk security portal is brought by a company RCS LT. Joined forces of security researchers help educate computer users about the latest online security threats. More information about the company RCS LT.

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Software uninstall instructions
Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

QR Code
Hacking Alert virus QR code
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