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ACTION CENTER Scam

Also Known As: "ACTION CENTER" virus
Type: Adware
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Medium

ACTION CENTER removal instructions

What is ACTION CENTER?

Displayed by a malicious website, "ACTION CENTER" is a fake error message similar to Your Device Is Under Threat, Cydoor Spyware, Internet Security Alert, and many others. Research shows that users are often redirected to this website by various potentially unwanted programs (PUPs). In most cases, PUPs infiltrate systems without users’ permission. Furthermore, they deliver intrusive advertisements, gather sensitive data, and reduce overall system performance.

ACTION CENTER adware

The "ACTION CENTER" error states that Windows Defender has detected a number of infections. In addition, the malicious website performs a fake computer scan, making "ACTION CENTER" even more believable. To remove the listed infections victims are encouraged to contact "certified technicians" via a telephone number ("+1-855-559-2111") provided. They are then guided through the malware removal process. In fact, "ACTION CENTER" error is a scam. Cyber criminals generate revenue by scaring and tricking users into calling and paying for technical support that is not required. In addition, they might demand remote access to your computer. Once connected, these criminals stealthily install malware and/or change system settings, and then claim to detect additional issues. In order to receive help in solving these problems, additional payment is required. For these reasons, we strongly advise you to ignore "ACTION CENTER" and never attempt to contact these people. This error can be removed simply by closing the web browser (preferably, via "Task Manager") or rebooting the system. After re-running the browser, never click "Restore Closed Tabs", otherwise you will re-open the malicious website.

Potentially unwanted programs continually deliver various intrusive ads (coupons, banners, pop-ups, etc.) To achieve this, developers employ various tools that enable placement of third party graphical content on any site. Therefore, displayed ads typically conceal underlying website content, thereby significantly diminishing users' Internet browsing experience. Some ads redirect to malicious websites and/or run scripts that download/install malware. Therefore, clicking them risks high-risk computer infections. Another downside is data tracking. Potentially unwanted programs are likely to gather information that includes personal details. Collected data is later sold to third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) who misuse private information to generate revenue. Information tracking might lead to serious privacy issues or even identity theft. Some PUPs also mine cryptocurrencies or run other unwanted processes in the background. By misusing resources, potentially unwanted programs significantly diminish overall system performance. You are strongly advised to uninstall all potentially unwanted programs immediately.

Threat Summary:
Name"ACTION CENTER" virus
Threat TypeAdware, Unwanted ads, Pop-up Virus
SymptomsSeeing advertisements not originating from the sites you are browsing. Intrusive pop-up ads. Decreased Internet browsing speed.
Distribution methodsDeceptive pop-up ads, free software installers (bundling), fake flash player installers.
DamageDecreased 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 Malwarebytes.
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As mentioned above, "ACTION CENTER" is very similar to dozens of other fake errors. All claim that the system is corrupted (e.g., infected, missing files or similar), however, they are designed only to extort money from unsuspecting users. Potentially unwanted programs are also very similar. By offering various "useful features", PUPs attempt to give the impression of legitimacy, however, these programs are designed only to generate revenue for the developers. Rather than delivering any real value, they pose a direct threat to users' privacy and Internet browsing safety.

How did potentially unwanted programs install on my computer?

Most potentially unwanted programs are distributed using a deceptive marketing method called "bundling", and the aforementioned intrusive advertisements. "Bundling" is stealth installation of third party applications together with regular software/apps. Developers hide "bundled" apps within various sections (typically, "Advanced/Custom" settings) of the download or installation processes. Many users rush these processes and skip steps. Furthermore, they click various advertisements. This behavior often leads to inadvertent installation of potentially unwanted programs.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

The main reasons for computer infections are poor knowledge and careless behavior. The key to safety is caution. Therefore, to prevent system infiltration by PUPs, be very cautious when browsing the Internet and downloading/installing software. Intrusive ads typically look legitimate, however, they redirect to suspicious sites (survey, gambling, adult dating, pornography, and so on). If you encounter these redirects, immediately eliminate all suspicious applications and browser plug-ins. Furthermore, carefully observe each step of the download/installation dialogs and opt-out of all additionally-included programs.

Text presented in "ACTION CENTER" pop-up:

ACTION CENTER
Security and Maintenance
Turn on virus protection
Virus protection is turned off
Turn on virus protection
Virus protection is turned off on Monday.
Windows Defender found some Malicious Spyware/Riskware. Please call us immediately at:
+1-855-559-2111
Do not ignore this critical alert. If you close this page, your computer access will be disabled to prevent further damage to our network. Your computer has alerted is that it has been infected with a Spyware and risk ware.
You must contact us immediately so that our expert engineers can walk you though the removal process over the phone to protect your identity. Please call us within the next 5 minutes to precent your computer from being disabled or from any information loss.

The appearance of "ACTION CENTER" pop-up (GIF):

ACTION CENTER scam gif

Screenshot of a fake computer scan displayed by the malicious website:

Fake scan displayed by ACTION CENTER scam

Text presented within this scan:

7 Threats found.
Virus & threat protection settings
Real-time protection is off, leaving your device vulnerable. Please call us immediately at: +1-855-559-2111. Do not ignore this critical alert. If you close this page, your computer access will be disabled to prevent further damage to our network. Your computer has alerted us that it has been infected with a Spyware and risk ware.

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:
▼ DOWNLOAD Malwarebytes By downloading any software listed on this website you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Malwarebytes. 14 days free trial available.

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.

ACTION CENTER 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 ACTION CENTER 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 ACTION CENTER ads from Internet Explorer step 2

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the "action center" 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 ACTION CENTER  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 ACTION CENTER ads from Google Chrome step 2

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the "action center" 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 ACTION CENTER 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 ACTION CENTER ads from Mozilla Firefox step 2

Optional method:

Computer users who have problems with "action center" 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 "action center" 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 "action center" 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
ACTION CENTER 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 "ACTION CENTER" virus on your mobile device.
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