Window's Security Certificate Is Expired POP-UP Scam

Also Known As: "Windows Security Certificate Is Expired" virus
Damage level: Medium

What is Window's Security Certificate Is Expired?

"Window's Security Certificate Is Expired" is another fake error message similar to POSSIBLE_VIRUS_DETECTION, Windows Support Alert, ERROR 268D3, and many others. It is delivered by various deceptive websites.

Users visit these sites inadvertently - they are redirected by intrusive advertisements (delivered by other rogue websites) or potentially unwanted applications (PUAs). Research shows that potentially unwanted applications infiltrate systems without permission and, as well as causing redirects, deliver intrusive ads and gather data.

Window's Security Certificate Is Expired scam

This error message states that the operating system is vulnerable to infections and that "unusual" activity has been detected. Therefore, users' personal details (logins/passwords, banking information, etc.) are at risk.

Users are encouraged to immediately resolve these so-called 'issues' by calling Windows support (via the "+1-888-411-1165" telephone number) and follow further instructions. Bear in mind, however, that the "Window's Security Certificate Is Expired" error is fake and Windows Operating System developers (Microsoft) are not responsible for it.

Cyber criminals generate revenue by claiming to be 'certified technicians' and charging victims for tech support. The "Window's Security Certificate Is Expired" error should be ignored and you should never attempt to call the aforementioned telephone number.

The error can be removed simply by closing the visited site, however, note that some rogue sites employ scripts that disable closing of browsing tabs/windows. In these cases, close the browser using Task Manager or simply restart the computer. After rerunning the browser do not restore the previous session, otherwise the malicious sites are reopened.

Potentially unwanted applications deliver coupon, banner, pop-up, and other similar advertisements. To achieve this, developers employ tools that enable placement of third party graphical content on any site. Therefore, intrusive advertisements often conceal underlying content, thereby significantly diminishing the browsing experience.

In addition, ads can lead to dubious websites and execute scripts that download and install malware. Therefore, even a single accidental click might result in high-risk computer infections. Potentially unwanted applications are also known to record information relating to browsing activity.

Collected data (IP addresses, websites visited, pages viewed, search queries, etc.) usually includes personal details that developers share with third parties. These people generate revenue by misusing private data.

Therefore, the presence of data-tracking apps can lead to serious privacy issues or even identity theft. All potentially unwanted applications must be uninstalled immediately.

Threat Summary:
Name "Windows Security Certificate Is Expired" 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 "Window's Security Certificate Is Expired". All claim that the system is damaged (e.g., infected, missing files, fake or similar), however, fake error messages are designed only to extort money from gullible users. Potentially unwanted applications also share many similarities.

By offering "useful functionality", they attempt to give the impression of legitimacy and trick users to install, however, rather than enabling the functions promised and giving any real value, they pose a direct threat to your privacy and web browsing safety. The only purpose of these rogue apps is to generate revenue for the developers.

How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?

Potentially unwanted applications are typically distributed using the aforementioned intrusive advertisements and a deceptive marketing method called "bundling". Developers hide "bundled" apps within "Custom/Advanced" settings (or other sections) of the download/installation processes.

Furthermore, many users often rush these procedures and skip steps. This behavior often leads to inadvertent installation of potentially unwanted applications. Users expose their systems to risk of various infections and compromise their privacy.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

To prevent this situation, be very cautious when browsing the Internet and downloading/installing software. Remember that developers invest many resources into intrusive ad design, thus making them seem genuine. In fact, most of these ads lead to untrustworthy sites, such as gambling, adult dating, pornography, and so on.

If you encounter them, eliminate all dubious applications and browser plug-ins. Furthermore, carefully analyze each window of the download/installation dialogs using the "Custom" or "Advanced" settings. During the process, opt-out of all additionally-included applications and decline offers to download/install them.

Software should be downloaded from official sources only, using direct download links. Third party downloaders/installers often include rogue software, and thus such tools should never be used. The main reasons for computer infections are poor knowledge and careless behavior.

The key to safety is caution. If your computer is already infected with PUAs, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate them.

Text presented in "Window's Security Certificate Is Expired" pop-up:

The Window's Security Certificate is Expired. This may cause Security breach on the machine. Windows has detected unusual activity on your Computer Network. Your information present on the machine might be at risk. Back up your files immediately to prevent information loss, or contact windows support at +1-888-411-1165
The following information might be at risk:
Financial information
Back account Logins
Credit Card Information
Other Login information
Stored Files on this computer

Instant automatic malware removal: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced IT 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:

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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