What is Congratulations User!?
"Congratulations User!" is a scam message similar to Congratulations, You Have Won. It is displayed by a deceptive/rogue website that users often visit inadvertently - they are redirected by potentially unwanted programs (PUPs).
These applications infiltrate systems without permission, cause redirects, deliver intrusive advertisements (coupons, banners, etc.), collect sensitive information, and run unwanted background processes.
"Congratulations User!" states that the user is lucky and has the chance to win a prize with an equivalent value of $999. To receive the prize, however, users must complete a survey that contains four simple questions. This is a scam. Cyber criminals generate revenue by tricking unsuspecting users into completing surveys. Users receive nothing in return.
Note that this site contains indications that users may win Apple iPhones, however, it has nothing to do with Apple Inc. or their products. This is a scam and should not be trusted. We recommend that you leave the "Congratulations User!" website immediately.
These sites often employ scripts that prevent users from closing browsing tabs/windows. Therefore, you are advised to close the browser via Task Manager or reboot the system. After re-running the browser, do not restore the previous session, otherwise you will re-open the malicious site.
Potentially unwanted programs deliver intrusive ads via tools that enable placement of third party graphical content on any site. Therefore, displayed ads often conceal underlying website content, thereby diminishing the browsing experience.
In addition, these ads often lead to malicious websites and execute scripts that download and install malware/potentially unwanted programs. Therefore, even a single click might result in high-risk computer infections.
Data tracking is also an issue. Potentially unwanted programs record IP addresses, keystrokes, URLs visited, search queries, pages viewed, and other similar information. The collected data typically includes personal details that developers sell to third parties. There is a high probability that private details will be misused to generate revenue.
The presence of data-tracking apps can lead to serious privacy issues. Some PUPs are known to mine cryptocurrencies and run other unnecessary processes in the background.
PUPs essentially misuse system resources without permission, thereby significantly diminishing overall system performance. For these reasons, potentially unwanted programs must be uninstalled immediately.
|Name||"Congratulations User!" 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 rogue websites displaying scam messages, however, most claim that the system is damaged (e.g., infected, missing files, and so on). Despite this, such claims are merely attempts to trick users into downloading fake anti-virus software, calling technical support and paying for services that are not required.
Potentially unwanted programs are all very similar. By offering "useful features", PUPs attempt to give the impression of legitimacy, however, these programs are designed only to generate revenue for the developers. PUPs deliver no real value for regular users and pose a direct threat to your privacy and Internet browsing safety.
How did potentially unwanted programs install on my computer?
As mentioned above, PUPs typically infiltrate systems without permission. The main reasons for this are the careless behavior and lack of knowledge of many users. PUPs are distributed using a deceptive marketing method called "bundling" together with the aforementioned intrusive advertisements. "Bundling" is stealth installation of rogue programs with regular software/apps.
Criminals do not disclose these installations properly - they hide "bundled" apps within "Custom/Advanced" settings (or other sections) of the download or installation processes.
In addition, users often rush these procedures and skip steps. They are also likely to click suspicious links/ads without understanding the possible consequences. This behavior often leads to inadvertent installation of PUPs.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?
The key to computer safety is caution. Pay close attention when downloading/installing software and browsing the Internet in general. Select the "Custom/Advanced' settings, closely observe each step, and decline offers to download/install additional applications. You are also advised to download your applications from official sources only, using direct download links.
Criminals monetize third party downloaders/installers using the "bundling" method, and thus, these tools should not be used. Intrusive advertisements appear legitimate, but once clicked, redirect to gambling, survey, pornography, and other dubious sites.
If you experience these redirects, uninstall all suspicious applications and browser plug-ins. Using a legitimate anti-virus/anti-spyware suite is also paramount.
"Congratulations User!" scam text:
Congratulations User! Your generic web browser Desktop Phone has been chosen for (1) opportunity!
Congratulations generic web browser Desktop User, every week, we select lucky visitors randomly to receive a reward opportunity from major retailers. This is just our way to thank you for your continuous support.
Your phone has been selected to possibly receive a reward worth up to $999 if you answer the next 4 questions correctly.
ACT NOW! other users have received this invitation.
You have to answer the questions before someone else takes over your spot. Good luck!
The appearance of "Congratulations User!" pop-up (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:
- What is Congratulations User!?
- 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 extensions from Safari.
- STEP 6. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
Removal of potentially unwanted programs:
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 rogue extensions 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 "congratulations user!" 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 "congratulations user!" 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 "congratulations user!" 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 "congratulations user!" 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.
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