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Microsoft Alert Your Data Is At High Risk POP-UP Scam

Also Known As: "Microsoft Alert Your Data Is At High Risk" virus
Damage level: Medium

What is Microsoft Alert Your Data Is At Risk?

"Microsoft Alert Your Data Is At Risk" is another fake error similar to Computer Detected To Be Corrupted, Windows Malware Detected, Computer Detected To Be Corrupted, and many others.

Cyber criminals deliver this error using various deceptive websites that users often visit inadvertently - they are redirected by potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) or intrusive ads (displayed on other untrustworthy sites). Research shows that many PUPs infiltrate systems without consent.

Furthermore, these programs deliver intrusive ads and monitor web browsing activity by recording various sensitive information.

Microsoft Alert Your Data Is At Risk scam

The "Microsoft Alert Your Data Is At Risk" error essentially states that suspicious activity has been detected on the user's Internet Protocol (IP) address caused by a "harmful virus". It also states that the malware poses a threat to personal information and system stability. For these reasons, it must be eliminated immediately.

To receive help in resolving this issue, users are encouraged to contact 'technicians' via a toll-free telephone number ("1-866-218-1999") provided. These technicians supposedly guide victims through the malware removal process. This is a scam. "Microsoft Alert Your Data Is At Risk" is fake and has nothing to do with Microsoft.

In fact, cyber criminals generate revenue by tricking gullible users into paying for tech support that is not required. Therefore, ignore the "Microsoft Alert Your Data Is At Risk" error and never call the telephone number. You can remove this error simply by closing the web browser, however, some rogue sites use scripts that prevent users from closing browsing tabs/windows.

In these cases, close the browser using Task Manager or simply restart the computer. After re-running the browser, do not restore the previous session, otherwise you will reopen the malicious site/s.

As mentioned, potentially unwanted programs gather various information. Collected data (IP addresses, website URLs visited, pages viewed, search queries, etc.) typically includes personal information that is later shared with third parties (potentially, cyber criminals). These people misuse private data to generate revenue.

Therefore, having information-tracking apps installed can lead to serious privacy issues or even identity theft. Another important issue is display of intrusive ads. Most PUPs deliver banners, pop-ups, coupons, 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 content, thereby significantly diminishing the browsing experience. In addition, they might redirect to malicious sites or run scripts designed to download/install malware. Therefore, even a single click can result in high-risk computer infections. Uninstall all potentially unwanted programs immediately.

Threat Summary:
Name "Microsoft Alert Your Data Is At High Risk" virus
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Symptoms Unauthorized online purchases, changed online account passwords, identity theft, illegal access of one's computer.
Distribution methods Deceptive emails, rogue online pop-up ads, search engine poisoning techniques, misspelled domains.
Damage Loss of sensitive private information, monetary loss, identity theft.
Malware Removal (Windows)

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There are dozens of fake errors that share similarities with "Microsoft Alert Your Data Is At Risk". All claim that system is infected, missing files or damaged in other similar ways, however, these errors are designed only to extort money from unsuspecting users.

All potentially unwanted programs are very similar. By offering a wide range of "useful features", these programs attempt to give the impression of legitimacy, however, their only purpose is to generate revenue for the developers. Rather than giving any real value for regular users, PUPs pose a direct threat to your privacy and Internet browsing safety.

How did potentially unwanted programs install on my computer?

To proliferate PUPs, developers typically use the "bundling" method and the aforementioned intrusive advertisements. "Bundling" is essentially stealth installation of third party programs with regular software/apps. Developers hide "bundled" apps within "Custom/Advanced" settings (or other sections) of the download/installation processes.

These people do not properly disclose these installations. Furthermore, many users are likely to skip download/installation steps and click various advertisements - behavior that often leads to inadvertent installation of PUPs. In this way, users expose their systems to risk of various infections and compromise their privacy.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

Poor knowledge and careless behavior are the main reasons for computer infections. The key to safety is caution. Therefore, pay close attention when browsing the Internet and downloading/installing software.

Intrusive ads typically seem legitimate, since developers invest many resources into their design, but most redirect to malicious websites (surveys, gambling, adult dating, and so on). If you encounter these advertisements, immediately eliminate all suspicious applications and browser plug-ins.

In addition, carefully analyze each step of the download/installation dialogs using the "Custom" or "Advanced" settings. Opt-out of additionally-included applications and decline offers to download/install them. We recommend that you avoid using third party downloaders/installers, since they are often monetized by promoting ("bundling") PUPs.

Download applications from official sources only, using direct download links. If your computer is already infected with PUPs, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate them.

Text presented in "Microsoft Alert Your Data Is At Risk" pop-up:

Microsoft Alert
Someone is Trying to Steal Your Banking Details, Credit Card Details & Other Logins. Please Call Microsoft At 1-866-218-1999 Immediately To Prevent Data loss. Hard Drive safety delete in starting in 4:30 Your data is at high risk. To immediately rectify issue and prevent data loss 1-866-218-1999
PLASE DO NOT SHUT DOWN OR RESTART YOUR COMPUTER, DOING THAT MAY LEAD TO DATA LOSS AND FAILURE OF OPERATING SYSTEM, HENCE NON BOOTABLE SITUATION RESULTING COMPLETE DATA LOSS. CONTACT ADMINISTRATOR DEPARTMENT TO RESOLVE THE ISSUE ON TOLL FREE @ 1-866-218-1999. Suspicious activity detected on your IP address due to harmful virus installed in your computer. Call Toll Free now @ 1-866-218-1999 for any assistance. Your data is at a serious risk. There is a system file missing due to some harmful virus. Debug malware error, system failure. Please do not open internet browser for your security issue to avoid data corruption on your operating system. Please contact technicians at Tollfree Helpline at @ 1-866-128-1999 Warning: Your user name and password will be sent using basic authentication on a connection that isn't secure.

The appearance of "Microsoft Alert Your Data Is At Risk" pop-up (GIF):

Microsoft Alert Your Data Is At Risk scam 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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How to identify a pop-up scam?

Pop-up windows with various fake messages are a common type of lures cybercriminals use. They collect sensitive personal data, trick Internet users into calling fake tech support numbers, subscribe to useless online services, invest in shady cryptocurrency schemes, etc.

While in the majority of cases these pop-ups don't infect users' devices with malware, they can cause direct monetary loss or could result in identity theft.

Cybercriminals strive to create their rogue pop-up windows to look trustworthy, however, scams typically have the following characteristics:

  • Spelling mistakes and non-professional images - Closely inspect the information displayed in a pop-up. Spelling mistakes and unprofessional images could be a sign of a scam.
  • Sense of urgency - Countdown timer with a couple of minutes on it, asking you to enter your personal information or subscribe to some online service.
  • Statements that you won something - If you haven't participated in a lottery, online competition, etc., and you see a pop-up window stating that you won.
  • Computer or mobile device scan - A pop-up window that scans your device and informs of detected issues - is undoubtedly a scam; webpages cannot perform such actions.
  • Exclusivity - Pop-up windows stating that only you are given secret access to a financial scheme that can quickly make you rich.

Example of a pop-up scam:

Example of a pop-up scam

How do pop-up scams work?

Cybercriminals and deceptive marketers usually use various advertising networks, search engine poisoning techniques, and shady websites to generate traffic to their pop-ups. Users land on their online lures after clicking on fake download buttons, using a torrent website, or simply clicking on an Internet search engine result.

Based on users' location and device information, they are presented with a scam pop-up. Lures presented in such pop-ups range from get-rich-quick schemes to fake virus scans.

How to remove fake pop-ups?

In most cases, pop-up scams do not infect users' devices with malware. If you encountered a scam pop-up, simply closing it should be enough. In some cases scam, pop-ups may be hard to close; in such cases - close your Internet browser and restart it.

In extremely rare cases, you might need to reset your Internet browser. For this, use our instructions explaining how to reset Internet browser settings.

How to prevent fake pop-ups?

To prevent seeing pop-up scams, you should visit only reputable websites. Torrent, Crack, free online movie streaming, YouTube video download, and other websites of similar reputation commonly redirect Internet users to pop-up scams.

To minimize the risk of encountering pop-up scams, you should keep your Internet browsers up-to-date and use reputable anti-malware application. For this purpose, we recommend Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows.

What to do if you fell for a pop-up scam?

This depends on the type of scam that you fell for. Most commonly, pop-up scams try to trick users into sending money, giving away personal information, or giving access to one's device.

  • If you sent money to scammers: You should contact your financial institution and explain that you were scammed. If informed promptly, there's a chance to get your money back.
  • If you gave away your personal information: You should change your passwords and enable two-factor authentication in all online services that you use. Visit Federal Trade Commission to report identity theft and get personalized recovery steps.
  • If you let scammers connect to your device: You should scan your computer with reputable anti-malware (we recommend Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows) - cyber criminals could have planted trojans, keyloggers, and other malware, don't use your computer until removing possible threats.
  • Help other Internet users: report Internet scams to Federal Trade Commission.

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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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