Windows Support Alert POP-UP Scam

Also Known As: "Windows Support Alert" virus
Type: Adware
Distribution: Moderate
Damage level: Medium

Windows Support Alert removal instructions

What is Windows Support Alert?

"Windows Support Alert" is another fake error message similar to Microsoft Azure, Google Security Warning, Internet Security Alert, and many others. As with most fake errors, Windows Support Alert is also displayed by a malicious website that users often visit inadvertently - they are redirected by various potentially unwanted programs (PUPs). Research shows that PUPs typically infiltrate systems without users' consent. In addition to causing redirects, PUPs gather sensitive information, deliver intrusive ads, and, in some cases, misuse system resources.

Windows Support Alert adware

The "Windows Support Alert" error states that the system has detected unusual activity that poses a threat to users' personal data. In addition, this error encourages users to report this activity to a 'technical centre' via the telephone number "+1-855-393-4537". Bear in mind, however, that "Windows Support Alert" is a scam. Cyber criminals attempt to trick users into calling the telephone number. They are then offered technical services for which they obviously have to pay. "Windows Support Alert" is fake - technical support is not required. Many users end up paying for nothing. Furthermore, these self-proclaimed "certified technicians" often request remote access to users' computers. They do this to install malware and change system settings, and then claim to "detect" additional issues and offer further help for an extra fee. For these reasons, ignore "Windows Support Alert". This fake error can be removed simply by closing the browser (preferably, using "Task Manager") or rebooting the system. After re-running the browser, never click "Restore Closed Tabs", otherwise you will reopen the aforementioned malicious website.

As mentioned above, potentially unwanted programs gather information. Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, geo-locations, Internet service providers (ISPs), URLs visited, search queries, keystrokes, and other collected data typically includes personal details that PUP developers sell to third parties (potentially, cyber criminals). These people generate revenue by misusing private data. Thus, the presence of data-tracking PUPs can lead to serious privacy issues. Potentially unwanted programs also deliver pop-ups, coupons, banners, and other intrusive ads. To achieve this, they employ various tools that enable placement of third party graphical content on any site. Therefore, displayed ads often conceal underlying website content. Furthermore, intrusive ads can lead to malicious websites and run scripts designed to download/install malware (or other PUPs). Therefore, even a single click might result in high-risk computer infections. Some PUPs run unnecessary background processes. By misusing system resources to mine cryptocurrencies and run other unwanted processes, PUPs significantly reduce overall system performance. Uninstall all potentially unwanted programs immediately.

Threat Summary:
Name "Windows Support Alert" 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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Research shows that all fake errors are very similar. They claim that the system is infected, missing files, or damaged in other similar ways, however, errors such as "Windows Support Alert" are designed only to extort money from unsuspecting users. Potentially unwanted programs also share many similarities. By offering various "useful features", they often trick users to install, however, once infiltrated, PUPs provide no real value for regular users. They cause redirects, gather information, deliver ads, and misuse system resources, thereby posing a threat to your privacy and Internet browsing safety.

How did potentially unwanted programs install on my computer?

Most potentially unwanted programs infiltrate systems without permission. This is due to the lack of knowledge and careless behavior of many users. Intrusive advertisements are typically distributed using the "bundling" method, with a deceptive marketing method called "bundling". Developers do not disclose installation of "bundled" apps properly - they hide them within various sections (often "Custom/Advanced" settings) of the download/installation processes. Furthermore, many users rush and skip these procedure steps and click various ads without considering the possible consequences. In doing so, they expose their systems to risk of various infections and compromise their privacy.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

The key to computer safety is caution. Therefore, pay close attention when browsing the Internet and especially when downloading/installing software. Cyber criminals invest many resources into intrusive ad design. Most appear legitimate, however, these ads redirect to gambling, adult dating, pornography, and other dubious sites. In the case of these redirects, uninstall all suspicious apps/browser add-ons. In addition, carefully analyze each step of the download/installation processes and decline offers to download/install third party applications.

Text presented in "Windows Support Alert" pop-up:

Windows Support Alert
Your system detected some unusual activity
It might harm your computer data and track your financial activities.
Please report this activity to +1-855-393-4537

The appearance of "Windows Support Alert" pop-up (GIF):

Windows Support Alert scam gif

Another variant of "Windows Support Alert" tech support scam pop-up (tech support scammers use the 0800-051-7350 telephone number):

windows support alert tech support scam pop-up appearance variant 2

Yet another variant of "Windows Support Alert" pop-up scam. The entire text is exactly the same. The only difference is scammers' telephone number ("+61 27 2018 646"):

Windows Support Alert pop-up scam

Another variant of "Windows Support Alert" pop-up scam:

Windows Support Alert pop-up scam - 2020-01-22

Another variant of "Windows Support Alert" pop-up scam:

Windows Support Alert pop-up scam (2020-05-15)

Another variant of "Windows Support Alert" pop-up scam which displays "Error #0x2328-0x2edf" error message:

Windows Support Alert Error #0x2328-0x2edf pop-up scam

Yet another variant of "Windows Support Alert" pop-up scam:

Windows Support Alert POP-UP Scam (2020-07-10)

Instant automatic malware removal: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Malwarebytes 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:

Removal of potentially unwanted programs:

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.

Windows Support 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 rogue extensions from Internet browsers:

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

Internet Explorer logoRemove malicious add-ons from Internet Explorer:

Removing Windows Support 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 Windows Support Alert ads from Internet Explorer step 2

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the "windows support 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 Windows Support Alert  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 Windows Support Alert ads from Google Chrome step 2

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the "windows support 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 Windows Support 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 Windows Support Alert ads from Mozilla Firefox step 2

Optional method:

Computer users who have problems with "windows support 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 "windows support 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 "windows support alert" virus from your computer, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.

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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.

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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
Windows Support Alert virus QR code
A QR code (Quick Response Code) is a machine-readable code which stores URLs and other information. This code can be read using a camera on a smartphone or a tablet. Scan this QR code to have an easy access removal guide of "Windows Support Alert" virus on your mobile device.
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