High Priority Message Scam
Written by Tomas Meskauskas on (updated)
What is High Priority Message?
"High Priority Message" 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 usually infiltrate systems without consent. Research shows that, as well as causing redirects, PUPs deliver intrusive online advertisements and continually gather various information relating to browsing activity.
The "High Priority Message" error states that the system is in a blocked state and that rebooting it might cause damage. Users are advised to contact "Microsoft certified technicians" via a toll-free telephone number provided. They are then supposedly guided through the entire process.
The website is similar to Windows Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) and, therefore, the "High Priority Message" error may seem genuine, however, this error is fake and has nothing to do with Microsoft. Cyber criminals attempt to scare and trick victims into calling and paying for technical support that is not required. You can remove this error simply by closing the web browser.
PUPs also deliver intrusive advertisements. To achieve this, PUP developers employ various tools that enable placement of third party graphical content on any site. Therefore, pop-ups, banners, coupons, and other intrusive ads, often conceal underlying content, thereby significantly diminishing the browsing experience.
In addition, they might redirect to malicious websites or even execute scripts that download and install malware. Therefore, clicking them is risky and can result in further computer infections.
Another downside is data tracking. Research shows that High Priority Message continually gathers various information relating to browsing activity including Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, website URLs visited, pages viewed, search queries, mouse/keyboard activity, and geo-locations.
The collected data might contain personal details that PUP developers sell to third parties (potentially, cyber criminals who generate revenue by misusing private information). Therefore, the presence of information-tracking applications can lead to serious privacy issues or even identity theft. For these reasons, uninstall all PUPs immediately.
|Name||"high priority message" 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 that share similarities with High Priority Message. The list of examples includes (but is not limited to) Unusual Activity, Warning! Malware Detected!, Your Computer May Have a Virus!, and Internet Security Damaged.
All claim that the system is damaged in some way, however, as with High Priority Message, these errors are designed only to trick users into paying for unnecessary services. They should not be trusted. PUPs are often virtually identical.
By offering various 'useful features', they attempt to give the impression of legitimacy, however, these apps simply generate revenue for the developers, whilst regular users receive no value. PUPs cause unwanted redirects (thereby promoting various websites), deliver intrusive online advertisements, and collect various user-system information.
Many of the promoted websites are fake search engines that generate fake results, deliver intrusive ads, and record information. As with intrusive ads, fake search results can also lead to malicious websites. Therefore, using a fake search engine might lead to serious privacy issues and high-risk computer infections.
How did adware install on my computer?
Some PUPs have official download/promotion websites, however, these programs are also distributed using a deceptive marketing method called "bundling" and via the aforementioned intrusive ads. Bundling is stealth installation of third party applications with regular (usually free) software/programs.
Developers are aware that users often rush the download/installation processes and skip steps. Therefore, they hide bundled apps within the "Custom" or "Advanced" settings. Skipping this section and clicking intrusive ads exposes systems to risk of various infections and compromises users' privacy.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?
PUPs are distributed using the bundling method, and via intrusive online ads. Therefore, be cautious when downloading/installing software and browsing the Internet in general.
Download your software from official sources only and (if possible) choose a direct download link rather than using third party downloaders/installers (these tools usually bundle third party software - using them is very risky). When downloading/installing, select the "Custom/Advanced" settings, carefully analyze each step, and opt-out of all additionally-included programs.
Furthermore, avoid clicking ads. Criminals put a great deal of time and effort into making intrusive ads appear genuine. Thus, determining if they originate from the visited (legitimate) website is virtually impossible. No matter how tempting an ad may seem, do not take the risk of clicking it. The key to computer safety is caution.
Text presented within "High Priority Message" pop-up:
Do not ignore this high priority message
Your computer is in blocked state
DO NOT RESTART YOUR COMPUTER OR PRESS ANY KEY UNTIL SAFE SIDE INSTRUCTIONS.
For safety instructions call immediately: 1-800-158-029 (Free phone), a windows certified technician will guide you safeguard your system. You must not avoid this warning, as this is critical infection immediately: 1-800-158-028 (Free phone)
Windows Security Alert Call Support: 1-800-158-029
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 High Priority Message?
- 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 "high priority message" 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 "high priority message" 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 "high priority message" 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 "high priority message" 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.
Post a comment:
If you have additional information on "high priority message" virus or it's removal please share your knowledge in the comments section below.
▼ Show Discussion