ERROR 268D3 POP-UP Scam

Also Known As: "ERROR 268D3" virus
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Medium

ERROR 268D3 removal instructions

What is ERROR 268D3?

"ERROR 268D3" is a fake error message delivered by various deceptive websites. Research results show that visitors usually come to these sites inadvertently - they're redirected by potentially unwanted applications (PUAs) or either intrusive advertisements delivered by other rogue sites. Be aware that vast majority of potentially unwanted applications infiltrate the system without consent. If causing redirects wasn't enough, PUAs also deliver intrusive advertisements, as well as record various sensitive data.

ERROR 268D3 scam

As usually, the fake error states that the system is damaged (infected, not activated, spreading viruses, and so forth). Users are encouraged to immediately resolve these issues by contacting tech support (via telephone number ["+1-855-913-7111"] provided) and following given instructions. However, be aware that all this is a mere scam - your computer is completely safe and virus free. Cyber criminals simply attempt to generate revenue by tricking users into calling and paying for tech support that is not needed. For this reason, "ERROR 268D3" message should be ignored. This error can be easily removed by simply closing the web browser. However, bear in mind that some rogue sites employ scripts that prevent users from closing browsing tabs/windows. In such case users should terminate the browser using Task Manager. After re-running the browser, users shouldn't restore previous session, otherwise they'll end up visiting the malicious sites again.

As mentioned above, potentially unwanted applications deliver various types of intrusive advertisements. These ads are delivered using various tools that enable placement of third party graphical content. For this reason, ads often overlay visited websites' content, thereby significantly diminishing web browsing experience. What's more important is that these ads might lead to malicious websites and/or execute scripts that download and install potentially unwanted applications/malware. Therefore, even a single accidental click might result in a high-risk computer infection. Another important issue is data tracking. Potentially unwanted applications are designed to record various data about user's web browsing habits. IP addresses, website URLs visited, pages viewed, search queries, and other recorded information typically includes personal details. Moreover, developers share it with third parties (potentially, cyber criminals). These persons generate revenue by misusing received information, which is why information tracking might lead to serious privacy issues or even identity theft. All potentially unwanted applications should be eliminated as soon as possible.

Threat Summary:
Name "ERROR 268D3" 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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"ERROR 268D3" is very similar to Windows Support Alert, Found 4 Virus, Windows Operating System Alert, and many other fake errors. All of them claim that the system is damaged in one way or another (infected, missing files, or something like that). Nevertheless, these claims are merely attempts to trick gullible users into purchasing unnecessary software or paying for services that are not needed. Potentially unwanted applications are also very similar in-between. By offering a huge variety of "useful features", potentially unwanted applications create the impression of legitimacy. However, since their true and only purpose is to generate revenue for the developers, potentially unwanted applications cause unwanted redirects and gather sensitive information, thereby posing direct threat to user's privacy and web browsing safety.

How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?

Some PUAs have official download websites. However, most infiltrate the system without user's consent. That's because developers proliferate PUAs by using intrusive advertisements and a deceptive marketing method called "bundling" (stealth installation of third party apps along with the regular ones). What developers do is hide "bundled" applications behind "Custom/Advanced" settings (or other sections) of download/installation processes. The problem is that users often recklessly rush these procedures and skip most of the steps. If that wasn't enough, users click on various advertisements and skip most of the steps By doing so, users merely expose the system to risk of various infections and put their very own privacy into threat.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

In order to prevent this situation users must be very cautious when browsing the Internet, as well as downloading/installing software. Always bear in mind that intrusive advertisements typically look completely appropriate. Once clicked, however, ads expose themselves by redirecting to unreliable websites (gambling, adult dating, pornography, and so forth. Thus, if you encounter such redirects you should immediately remove all suspicious applications and browser plug-ins. Moreover, be sure to carefully analyze each window of download/installation dialogs and opt-out all additionally included programs. It is advised to download programs only from official sources (using direct download links), because third party downloaders/installers often "bundle" rogue software. If your computer is already infected with PUAs, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate them.

Text presented in "ERROR 268D3" pop-up:

VIRUS ALERT FROM MICROSOFT
This computer is BLOCKED | ERROR 268D3
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 microsoft helpline to reactivate your computer.
Microsoft Security Tellfree: +1-855-913-7111
Enter Windows registration key to unblock.

The appearance of "ERROR 268D3" pop-up (GIF):

ERROR 268D3 scam gif

Another variant of "ERROR 268D3" pop-up scam:

ERROR 268D3 POP-UP Scam (2020-10-27)

Text presented within:

Windows Firewall Protection

Microsoft

Trojan Spyware Alert - Error Code: #0x268d3
Access to this PC has been blocked for security reasons.
Contact Windows Support: +1-844-292-4957

Trojan Detected - Trojan Spyware

Apps: Ads.financetrack(1).exe

Run Anyway
Back to Safety

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Quick menu:

Removal of potentially unwanted applications:

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.

ERROR 268D3 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 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:

Internet Explorer logoRemove malicious add-ons from Internet Explorer:

Removing rogue extensions 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 rogue extensions from Internet Explorer step 2

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the "error 268d3" 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 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 "error 268d3" 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 "error 268d3" 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 "error 268d3" 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 "error 268d3" 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
Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

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

QR Code
ERROR 268D3 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 "ERROR 268D3" virus on your mobile device.
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