Your Computer May Have a Virus! Scam
Written by Tomas Meskauskas on (updated)
What is Your Computer May Have A Virus!?
"Your Computer May Have A Virus!" is a fake error message displayed by a malicious website that users often visit inadvertently - they are redirected by various potentially unwanted programs (PUPs).
These programs infiltrate systems without consent or commonly trick users to install by falsely claiming to provide various "useful features". As well as causing redirects, PUPs track Internet browsing activity and generate intrusive online advertisements.
The error message states that the system is infected, and private information (credit card details, logins/passwords, webcam access, etc.) is at risk. It suggests that the malware must be eliminated immediately, however, unlike other similar errors, "Your Computer May Have A Virus!" does not encourage users to contact technical support.
Rather, it proposes installation of a malware removal tool. As mentioned above, however, "Your Computer May Have A Virus!" is fake. Criminals attempt to trick users into installing PUPs by promoting them as malware removal tools. Therefore, ignore this error message. You can remove it simply by closing the web browser.
Be aware also that PUPs continually track browsing activity by gathering various user-system information (for example, geo-locations, Internet Protocol addresses, website URLs visited, pages viewed, queries entered into search engines, mouse/keyboard activity, etc.) that might contain personal details.
PUP developers aim to generate as much revenue as possible by selling the collected data to third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) who also generate revenue by misuing personal details. This can lead to serious privacy issues or even identity theft.
Another downside is display of intrusive advertisements. PUPs deliver coupon, banner, pop-up, and other similar ads that often conceal underlying content, thereby significantly diminishing the browsing experience. Furthermore, they can redirect to malicious websites or even activate scripts that download and install additional malware/PUPs.
Therefore, even accidental clicks might result in high-risk adware or malware infections. We strongly advise you to uninstall all PUPs immediately.
|Name||"Your Computer May Have a Virus!" virus|
|Threat Type||Adware, Unwanted ads, Pop-up Virus|
|Symptoms||Seeing advertisements not originating from the sites you are browsing. Intrusive pop-up ads. Decreased Internet browsing speed.|
|Distribution methods||Deceptive pop-up ads, free software installers (bundling), fake flash player installers.|
|Damage||Decreased computer performance, browser tracking - privacy issues, possible additional malware infections.|
|Malware Removal (Windows)||
To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
There are dozens of fake errors similar to "Your Computer May Have A Virus!" including, for example, Unauthorized Access Detected !, Unknown System Failure!, and Google Chrome Warning Alert. All state that the system is infected, missing files, or damaged in other similar ways.
These claims are merely attempts to trick users into calling and paying for unnecessary technical support, or downloading fake malware removers. All PUPs are virtually identical.
By offering various 'useful features', PUPs attempt to give the impression of legitimacy, however, they are useless for regular users, merely cause unwanted redirects (thereby promoting various dubious websites), collect various user-system information (which is later sold to third parties), and deliver intrusive advertisements (using the "Pay Per Click" advertising model).
Most of the promoted websites are fake search engines. As with PUPs, fake search engines also promote other websites (by generating fake results), deliver intrusive ads, and record various user-system information. Bear in mind that fake search results (and intrusive ads) can redirect to malicious websites. Therefore, using a fake search engine is very risky.
How did adware install on my computer?
As well as via intrusive ads, PUPs are distributed using a deceptive marketing method called "bundling" - stealth installation of third party applications with regular software/apps. Developers hide "bundled" programs within the "Custom" or "Advanced" settings of the download/installation processes.
Rushing these processes, skipping steps, and clicking various intrusive advertisements, exposes systems to risk of various infections and compromises users' privacy.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?
The main reasons for computer infections are poor knowledge and careless behavior. Therefore, be very cautious browsing the Internet and downloading/installing software. Cyber criminals put a great deal of time and effort into designing intrusive online advertisements.
Therefore, determining if they originate from the visited (legitimate) website is virtually impossible. Do not take the risk of clicking intrusive ads. In addition, download your software from official sources only using (if possible) the direct download link. Third party downloaders commonly include ("bundle") additional apps.
We strongly advise against using these downloaders. It is also important to carefully analyze each download/installation step (especially the "Custom/Advanced" settings) and opt-out of all additionally-included programs.
Text presented within first "Your Computer May Have a Virus!" error variant:
How to Remove:
Step 1: Click on the button below to download and install -.
Step 2: Run - and remove all detected threats immediately.
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 get this fixed ASAP before you continue.
Possible network damages from potential threats: UNKNOWN
Your Data Exposes to Risk:
1. Your credit card details and banking information.
2. Your e-mail passwords and other account passwords.
3. Your Facebook, Skype, AIM and other chat logs.
4. Your private photos, family photos and other sensitive files.
5. Your webcam could be accessed remotely by stalkers.
Second variant of "Your Computer May Have a Virus!" scam:
Text presented within second "Your Computer May Have a Virus!" error variant:
Are you sure you PC os spyware-free? Your OS version: -
Attention! Our of 732,000 PC’s scanned in September 2017, 92,4% had at least one threat detected. If not removed, it may damage system files and expose personal data. How to Remove: Step 1: Click on the button below to download and install - Step 2: Run - and remove all detected threats immediately.
"Your Computer May Have a Virus!" promoting fake malware removal tools:
Instant automatic malware removal:
Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Combo Cleaner is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
- What is Your Computer May Have A Virus!?
- STEP 1. Uninstall deceptive applications using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove adware from Internet Explorer.
- STEP 3. Remove rogue extensions from Google Chrome.
- STEP 4. Remove potentially unwanted plug-ins from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 5. Remove rogue extension from Safari.
- STEP 6. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
Windows 11 users:
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:
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:
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:
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.
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:
Remove malicious add-ons from Internet Explorer:
Click the "gear" 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".
If you continue to have problems with removal of the "your computer may have a virus!" 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.
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.
Windows 8 users: Open Internet Explorer and click the gear icon. Select Internet Options.
In the opened window, select the Advanced tab.
Click the Reset button.
Confirm that you wish to reset Internet Explorer settings to default by clicking the Reset button.
Remove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:
Click the Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "More tools" and click "Extensions". Locate all recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons, select these entries and click the trash can icon.
If you continue to have problems with removal of the "your computer may have a virus!" virus, reset your Google Chrome browser settings. Click the 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.
After scrolling to the bottom of the screen, click the Reset (Restore settings to their original defaults) button.
In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Google Chrome settings to default by clicking the Reset button.
Remove malicious plug-ins from Mozilla Firefox:
Click the Firefox menu (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.
Computer users who have problems with "your computer may have a virus!" virus removal can reset their Mozilla Firefox settings.
Open Mozilla Firefox, at the top right corner of the main window, click the Firefox menu, in the opened menu, click Help.
Select Troubleshooting Information.
In the opened window, click the Refresh Firefox button.
In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Mozilla Firefox settings to default by clicking the Refresh Firefox button.
Remove malicious extensions from Safari:
Make sure your Safari browser is active, click Safari menu, and select Preferences....
In the opened window click Extensions, locate any recently installed suspicious extension, select it and click Uninstall.
Make sure your Safari browser is active and click on Safari menu. From the drop down menu select Clear History and Website Data...
In the opened window select all history and click the Clear History button.
Remove malicious extensions from Microsoft Edge:
Click the Edge 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.
If you continue to have problems with removal of the "your computer may have a virus!" virus, reset your Microsoft Edge browser settings. Click the Edge menu icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge) and select Settings.
In the opened settings menu select Reset settings.
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.
- If this did not help, follow these alternative instructions explaining how to reset the Microsoft Edge browser.
Commonly, 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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