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Avoid getting scammed by sites showing a "Windows Firewall Warning Alert"

Also Known As: "Windows Firewall Warning Alert" virus
Type: Adware
Damage level: Medium

What is "Windows Firewall Warning Alert"?

"Windows Firewall Warning Alert" is a fake error message displayed by malicious websites. Research shows that, in most cases, users visit this site inadvertently - they are redirected by Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUAs) that infiltrate systems without permission. In addition to causing redirects, PUAs deliver intrusive advertisements, gather sensitive information, and sometimes misuse system resources to run unwanted processes.

Windows Firewall Warning Alert adware

"Windows Firewall Warning Alert" scam overview

The "Windows Firewall Warning Alert" error claims that the system has detected spyware that poses a threat to confidential data (logins, passwords, banking information, etc.) Therefore, users are encouraged to immediately contact "technical engineers" via a telephone number ["+1 (866) 475-7161"] provided.

These people then supposedly guide victims through the malware removal process. In fact, the "Windows Firewall Warning Alert" error is fake and a scam. Cyber criminals claim to be certified technicians and offer technical support (which is not needed) for a certain fee. All claims regarding computer infections are false.

In addition, criminals often attempt to gain remote access to users' computer. Once connected, they stealthily modify system settings and install malware. They then claim to detect additional issues and offer further help for an extra fee. In any case, never attempt to contact these people - the "Windows Firewall Warning Alert" error should be ignored.

It can be removed simply by closing the web browser (preferably, via Task Manager) or rebooting the system (some malicious sites employ scripts that prevent users from closing the browser). Note that after re-running the browser, you should never click "Restore Previous Session" (or similar), otherwise you will return to the malicious website.

As mentioned above, potentially unwanted applications generate various intrusive ads (coupons, banners, pop-ups, etc.) that conceal underlying content, thereby significantly diminishing the browsing experience. Furthermore intrusive advertisements might lead to malicious websites and/or even run scripts that download/install malware.

Therefore, even a single click can result in high-risk computer infections. Another downside is information tracking. Bear in mind that unwanted apps continually gather IP addresses, URLs visited, search queries, keystrokes, geo-locations, and other information that is likely to contain personal details.

Developers sell the information to third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) who misuse it to generate revenue. This behavior can lead to serious privacy issues or even identity theft.

Some potentially unwanted applications are also designed to misuse system resources to run unnecessary processes (e.g., to mine cryptocurrencies). In doing so, PUAs significantly diminish overall system performance. You are strongly advised to eliminate all unwanted programs immediately.

Threat Summary:
Name "Windows Firewall Warning Alert" virus
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim The message claims that the system is damaged/infected and encourages users to contact fake tech support.
Tech Support Scammer Phone Number +1-844-284-9696, +1-866-475-7161, +1-888-378-0188, +1-888-393-9323
Related Domains findmyloveline[.]com
Detection Names (findmyloveline[.]com) Fortinet (Phishing), Sophos (Malware), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
Serving IP Address (findmyloveline[.]com) 198.54.115.71
Symptoms Fake error messages, fake system warnings, pop-up errors, hoax computer scan.
Distribution methods Compromised websites, rogue online pop-up ads, potentially unwanted applications.
Damage Loss of sensitive private information, monetary loss, identity theft, possible malware infections.
Malware Removal (Windows)

To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
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Technical support scam examples

There are many fake errors such as "Windows Firewall Warning Alert"; Error 268D3-XC00037, Microsoft System Security Alert, and Your Device Is Under Threat are just some examples. All claim that the system is infected, missing files, or damaged in other similar ways, however, these errors are designed only to extort money from unsuspecting users.

Potentially unwanted applications also share many similarities. By offering useful features, PUAs attempt to give the impression of legitimacy and trick users to install, however, rather than delivering any real value for regular users, they pose a direct threat to your privacy and Internet browsing safety.

How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?

Potentially unwanted apps are proliferated using intrusive advertisements and a deceptive marketing method called "bundling". Therefore, PUAs often infiltrate systems without express user consent. "Bundling" is stealth installation of third party applications with regular software/apps.

Developers are aware that many users rush download/installation processes. Therefore, "bundled" apps are hidden within "Custom/Advanced" options (or other sections) of these procedures. By skipping download/installation steps and clicking various dubious links/advertisements, users often expose their systems to risk of various infections.

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. Bear in mind that criminals design intrusive ads to look legitimate.

Once clicked, however, they redirect to dubious sites (e.g., gambling, pornography, adult dating, etc.) If you experience these redirects, uninstall all suspicious applications and browser plug-ins.

Furthermore, carefully observe each window of the download/installation dialogs and opt-out of all additionally-included programs. Using a legitimate anti-virus/anti-spyware suite is also paramount.

Text presented in "Windows Firewall Warning Alert":

Windows Firewall Warning Alert
Malicious Spyware/Riskware Detected
Error #0x86672ee7
Please call us immediately at +1 (866) 475-7161
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. The following information is being stolen...
Financial Data
Facebook Logins
Credit Card Details
Email Account Logins
Photos stored on this computer
You must contact us immediately so that our expert engineers can walk you through the removal process over the phone to protect your identity. Please call us within the next 5 minutes to prevent your computer from being disabled or from any information loss.

Operating System Windows
Browser Under Attack
IP Address Under Attack
Location Under Attack
Threat Level Very High

Another example of "Windows Firewall Warning Alert" pop-up scam:

Windows Firewall Warning Alert pop-up scam (2020-11-25)

Text presented within:

Pop-up in the front:

 

Windows Security
Google Chrome

That server also reports: " Your information is at a Serious risk.
Harmful malware infection Debug Malware error (code 0x80093acf). Call immediately to save Hard disk failure & Data loss. This Harmful malware is affecting your online information & can Track Financial Activity. @ +1-844-284-9696 TollFree".
Username
Password
[Ok] [Cancel]

 


Pop-up in the back:

 

VIRUS ALERT FROM MS-Windows
This computer is BLOCKED

Do not close this window and restart your computer
Your computer's registration key is Blocked.
Why we blocked your computer?
The window's registration key is illegal.
This window is using pirated software.
This window is sending virus over the internet.
This window is hacked or used from undefined location.
We block this computer for your security.
Contact MS-Windows helpline to reactivate your computer.
MS-Windows Security Tollfree:
+1-844-284-9696

 


Pop-up in the right-lower corner:

 

Windows Firewall Error
WARNING! 37 threats detected
Detected malicious programs can damage your computer and compromise your privacy.
It's strongly recommended to remove them immediately!
Potential risks: Infecting other computers on your network
Call-Helpline +1-844-284-9696 (TollFree)
[Continue unprotected] [Remove all threats now]

 

 

Background:

 

MS-Windows Security Tollfree:
+1-844-284-9696

Enter MS-Windows registration key to unblock.
ENTER KEY: [Submit]


Windows Firewall Warning !!!

Your Computer Detected Some Unwonted Activity.
This Will harm your computer data and track your financial activities
Kindly report this activity to +1-844-284-9696
[Chat Support] [Back to Safety]

Yet another example of Windows Firewall Warning Alert pop-up scam:

Windows Firewall Warning Alert pop-up scam (2021-05-13)

Another example of Windows Firewall Warning Alert pop-up scam:

Microsoft Windows Firewall Alert pop-up scam

Text presented within:

*** Microsoft-Windows-Firewall-Alert !!***

Why we blocked your computer?

Your System Detected Some Unusual Activity.

Call-Helpline +1-866-443-1118 (Toll Free)

Appearance of this scam variant (GIF):

Microsoft Windows Firewall Alert pop-up scam appearance (GIF)

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:

Removal of potentially unwanted applications:

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.

PUAs 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 application, 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:

Google Chrome logoRemove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:

Removing rogue extensions 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 and remove them.

Removing rogue extensions from Google Chrome step 2

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the "windows firewall warning 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 plugins from Mozilla Firefox:

Removing rogue extensions 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 on "Extensions", in the opened window remove all recently-installed suspicious browser plug-ins.

Removing rogue extensions from Mozilla Firefox step 2

Optional method:

Computer users who have problems with "windows firewall warning 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 firewall warning 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.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is an online scam?

Online scams are deceptive content promoted on various rogue websites. They are created to trick users into performing specific actions, e.g., calling fake helplines, downloading/installing untrustworthy or malicious software, disclosing sensitive information, etc.

What is the purpose of online scams?

Online scams can serve varied purposes like selling personal data revealed by victims, using sensitive user data for illegal purposes, promoting dubious software, distributing malware, and so on. In summary, scams are designed to generate revenue for the cyber criminals behind them.

Why do I encounter fake pop-ups?

Fake pop-ups and other scams are run on rogue sites, which are usually accessed unintentionally. Most users enter these pages via mistyped URLs or redirects caused by other suspect webpages, deceptive browser notifications/ intrusive ads, or installed untrustworthy/harmful software.

I have allowed cyber criminals to remotely access my computer, what should I do?

First, you have to disconnect your device from the Internet. Secondly, remove any remote access tools you've installed per the cyber criminals' request (e.g., TeamViewer, AnyDesk, etc.) - as they might not need your permission to reaccess the system. Lastly, use an anti-virus program to perform a full system scan and remove all detected threats.

I have provided my personal information when tricked by a scam, what should I do?

If you've disclosed personal information like ID card details, credit card numbers, or similar - contact relevant authorities without delay. And if the provided data was log-in credentials - change the passwords of all potentially compromised accounts and contact their official support.

Will Combo Cleaner protect me from online scams and the malware they proliferate?

Combo Cleaner is capable of scanning the sites you visit, and it can detect rogue/malicious ones (including those that promote scams). It can block all further access to such websites as well. Furthermore, Combo Cleaner can scan your computer and eliminate most of the known malware infections. It is noteworthy that performing a full system scan is crucial, as sophisticated malicious programs usually hide deep within systems.

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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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Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

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