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Google Security Warning Scam

Also Known As: "Google Security Warning" virus
Type: Adware
Damage level: Medium

What is Google Security Warning?

"Google Security Warning" is a fake error message displayed by a malicious website that users visit inadvertently - they are redirected by various potentially unwanted programs (PUPs). Research shows that these apps often infiltrate systems without consent. As well as causing redirects, PUPs track Internet browsing activity and deliver intrusive online advertisements.

Google Security Warning adware

"Google Security Warning" error states that the system has been infected with the Zeus virus (because the system activation key has expired) and that private information (logins/passwords, banking information, etc.) has been stolen.

It goes on to state that the malware must be uninstalled immediately and victims are encouraged to contact Windows Help Desk via a telephone number ("+1-844-843-5125") provided. They will then supposedly receive help in resolving this issue. Note that "Google Security Warning" error is fake - a scam that has nothing to do with actual Microsoft and Google companies.

Cyber criminals attempt to trick users into believing that the system is infected so that they call and pay for services that are not required. Never call the aforementioned number. This error can be easily removed by simply closing the web browser. As mentioned above, PUPs also monitor browsing activity by gathering various information that might be personally identifiable.

The collected data (IP addresses, website URLs visited, pages viewed, search queries, etc.) is later shared with third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) who aim to increase their income by misusing personal details. For this reason, the presence of data-tracking applications can lead to serious privacy issues or even identity theft.

Another downside is display of intrusive online advertisements. PUPs continually deliver pop-up, coupon, banner, full-page, and other similar ads. To achieve this, developers employ various tools that enable placement of third party graphical content on any site.

Therefore, intrusive ads often conceal underlying website content, thereby significantly diminishing browsing quality. In addition, some of these ads might redirect to malicious websites or even execute scripts designed to download and install PUPs/malware. Therefore, even accidental clicks can result in high-risk computer infections. For these reasons, uninstall all PUPs immediately.

Threat Summary:
Name "Google Security Warning" 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)

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There are dozens of fake errors similar to "Google Security Warning". The list of examples includes (but is not limited to) High Priority Message, Unusual Activity, Warning! Malware Detected!, and Unauthorized Access Detected ! 

All claims that the system is infected, hijacked, missing files, or damaged in other similar ways, however, as with Google Security Warning, these errors are designed only to trick users into paying for unnecessary services. They should be ignored. PUPs are virtually identical. Most offer various "useful features", but these claims are merely attempts to give the impression of legitimacy.

The only purpose of all PUPs is to generate revenue for the developers. They cause unwanted redirects (thereby promoting various websites, most of which are fake search engines), deliver intrusive ads, and collect various user-system information.

Note that fake search engines also have an identical purpose and their behavior barely differs from that of PUPs: they also promote other websites (by generating false search results), display ads, and gather data.

As with intrusive ads, false search results can lead to malicious websites. Therefore, fake search engines pose a direct threat to your privacy and Internet browsing safety.

How did adware install on my computer?

To proliferate PUPs, developers employ intrusive online ads and a deceptive marketing method called "bundling" - stealth installation of third party applications with regular (mostly free) software/programs. Therefore, PUPs usually infiltrate systems without consent.

Developers hide bundled apps within the "Custom/Advanced" settings of the download/installation processes. Rushing/skipping this section and clicking ads, exposes systems to risk of various infections, compromises users' privacy, and inadvertently grants set-ups permission to modify various options.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

PUPs are distributed using intrusive ads and via bundling. Therefore, be very cautious when browsing the Internet and especially when downloading/installing software. Avoid clicking ads - intrusive ads may  seem genuine and, thus, determining if they originate from the visited (legitimate) website is virtually impossible.

No matter how tempting the ads may appear, do not take the risk of clicking them. Furthermore, download your software from trusted sources only. Select a direct download URL rather than using third party downloaders/installers. These tools commonly bundle additional apps and using them is very risky. 

Select the "Custom/Advanced" settings, carefully analyze each step, and decline offers to download/install additional apps.

Text presented within "Google Security Warning" pop-up:

Firewall detecting ‘suspicious’ incoming network connections, we recommend that you click on “Back to Safety”

Screenshot of website displaying "Google Security Warning" fake error:

Google Security Warning website without pop-up

Text presented within this website:

Your computer has been Locked
Call Now: +1-844-843-5125
Your computer with the IP address - has been infected by the Zeus Virus - Because System Activation KEY has expired & Your Information (for example, password, messages, and credit cards) have been stolen. Call the Windows Help Desk +1-844-843-5125 to protect your files and identity from further damage.
Call Now: +1-844-843-5125

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:
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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.

Google Security Warning 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 Google Security Warning 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 Google Security Warning ads from Internet Explorer step 2

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the "google security warning" 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 Google Security Warning  ads from Google Chrome step 1

Click the Chrome menu icon Google 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.

Removing Google Security Warning ads from Google Chrome step 2

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the "google security warning" 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 Google Security Warning 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 Google Security Warning ads from Mozilla Firefox step 2

Optional method:

Computer users who have problems with "google security warning" 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 "google security warning" 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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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
Google Security Warning virus QR code
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