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Microsoft Alert Scam

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

Microsoft Alert removal instructions

What is Microsoft Alert?

"Microsoft Alert" is a fake pop-up error message displayed by a rogue website. Users often visit this website inadvertently - they are redirected by potentially unwanted programs (adware). These PUPs usually infiltrate systems without users' consent. As well as causing redirects, adware-type apps also deliver various intrusive online advertisements and collect information relating to users' Internet browsing activity.

Microsoft Alert adware

The "Microsoft Alert" error message states that computer has been infected with a virus called zeus and that personal details (passwords, chat logs, etc.) are at risk. It is also stated that rebooting the system can result in permanent data loss. Therefore, victims must immediately contact technical support via a telephone number ("1-800-511-8970") provided. They will then supposedly receive help in removing this malware. Be aware, however, that this message is a scam. No infection exists. Cyber criminals attempt to trick victims into calling and paying for support that is not needed. Therefore, you should ignore this pop-up and never attempt to contact these people. Adware-type applications employ a 'virtual layer' to deliver various intrusive online advertisements (for example, pop-up, coupon, banner, etc.) The virtual layer enables placement of third party graphical content on any site. The displayed ads often conceal underlying content of visited websites, thereby significantly diminishing the Internet browsing experience. In addition, they often lead to malicious websites - clicking them is risky and can result in further adware or malware infections. Another downside is information tracking. Adware gathers various information (IP addresses, URLs visited, search queries, etc.) that might contain personal details. In addition, this collected information is shared with third parties who misuse personal details to generate revenue. Thus, the presence of data-tracking apps on your system can result in serious privacy issues or even identity theft. You are strongly advised to remove all PUPs immediately.

There are dozens of fake errors similar to "Microsoft Alert". Examples include Windows Security Alert, Hacking Alert, Internet Security Damaged, and many others. Note that claims that the system is corrupted, infected, missing files, or damaged in other similar ways, are false. Fake error messages are designed only to trick users into calling and making payments. Adware-type applications are designed to generate revenue for the developers. By offering various 'useful features', these PUPs attempt to give the impression of legitimacy, however, rather than enabling any useful functionality, adware-type apps collect personal information (which is later sold to third parties) and deliver intrusive online advertisements (via the "Pay Per Click" advertising model). Some also cause unwanted redirects to malicious websites.

How did adware install on my computer?

Criminals distribute potentially unwanted programs using a deceptive marketing method called "bundling" - stealth installation of third party applications with regular (usually free) software. Bundled programs are hidden within the "Custom/Advanced" settings of the download or installation processes. If you rush and skip this section, you risk inadvertently installing rogue applications - you will expose your system to risk of various infections and compromise your privacy.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

Installation of potentially unwanted programs can be prevented by taking two simple steps. Firstly, never rush when downloading and installing software - select the "Custom/Advanced" settings and carefully analyze each step. Secondly, opt-out of all additionally-included programs and cancel offers to download/install them. The key to computer safety is caution.

Text presented by "Microsoft Alert" error message:

*** Microsoft Alert ***
System Blocked for Security Reasons.
Call 1-800-511-8970 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 zeus virus has infected your system and trying to steal pictures, data and social networking passwords.
Please Call 1-800-511-8970 Now for Support.
Virus Code : 33578
*******************************************************
Call Toll Free 1-800-511-8970 and Provide Virus Code: 33578 to the Support Engineer
*******************************************************
Your Browser have been hijacked or hacked.
Private and Financial Data is at RISK:
. 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 1-800-511-8970
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 is 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 ( 1-800-511-8970 )
Terms & Conditions
Copyright 2016 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

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Quick menu:

Adware removal:

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.

Windows XP users:

Accessing Add or Remove Programs in Windows XP

Click Start, choose Settings and click Control Panel. Locate and click Add or Remove Programs.

Windows 10 and Windows 8 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.

Mac 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.

Microsoft 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 Microsoft 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 Microsoft Alert ads from Internet Explorer step 2

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the microsoft 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 Microsoft 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 Microsoft Alert ads from Google Chrome step 2

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the microsoft 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 Microsoft 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 "Extensions", in the opened window, remove all recently-installed suspicious browser plug-ins.

Removing Microsoft Alert ads from Mozilla Firefox step 2

Optional method:

Computer users who have problems with microsoft 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 microsoft 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.

Removal assistance:
If you are experiencing problems while trying to remove microsoft alert virus from your computer, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.

Post a comment:
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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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Removal Instructions in other languages
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
Microsoft Alert virus QR code
Scan this QR code to have an easy access removal guide of Microsoft Alert virus on your mobile device.
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