What is "Hard Drive Safety Delete"?
"Hard Drive Safety Delete" is a tech-support scam promoted via a deceptive, untrustworthy website. The main purpose of these scam pages is to trick people into calling scammers who then try to extort money by offering purchase of dubious software or use of paid technical services.
Websites of this type cannot be trusted. They are often opened by potentially unwanted applications (PUAs) installed on the system. In addition to redirects, PUAs feed users with ads and gather browsing-related data.
This scam website is presented as an "Official Windows Alert", however, neither Microsoft nor the Windows Operating System has anything do to with it. The web page states that someone is trying to steal the visitor's banking, credit card details, and various logins. To prevent data and financial loss, it encourages people to contact scammers via the "+1-855-285-7640" number.
This page also runs a fake virus scan and states that a "Hard Drive safety delete" will be started in five minutes. This scam also turns into full-screen mode, within which it displays an additional security warning stating that "ERROR # 268d3x8938(3)" has occurred and should not be ignored. It also states that ignoring it (closing the web page) will disable access to the computer.
It goes on to state that the computer is infected with pornographic spyware and 'riskware' and that these infections allowed someone to steal the user's Facebook and email account logins, credit card details, and photos. We strongly recommend that you ignore this scam, since the problems mentioned are false.
The full-screen window can be closed with a mouse click or simply by pressing the Esc key. Ignore this tech-support scam and do not trust any other similar scams in future. They are designed by scammers who attempt to extort money from innocent people.
As mentioned, these scam pages are opened by PUAs, which cause unwanted redirects, open untrustworthy pages, and serve users with pop-up ads, coupons, banners, surveys, and so on. Being forced to see this material is annoying and clicking the ads might lead to unwanted downloads and installations. If clicked, some deceptive ads download and install unwanted apps.
Additionally, many PUAs gather data including IP addresses, entered search queries, URLs of visited websites, geolocations, and so on. They might also record personal details. PUA developers share the information with other parties who misuse it to generate revenue.
This can lead to privacy/browsing safety issues or even identity theft. All PUAs should be removed from browsers and operating systems immediately.
|Name||"Hard Drive Safety Delete" virus|
|Threat Type||Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud.|
|Fake Claim||The fake error claims that the system is supposedly infected and that the user's personal data (account credentials, stored photos, etc.) is at risk.|
|Tech Support Scammer Phone Number||+1-855-285-7640|
|Detection Names (error1907-xxx-ms[.]tk)
||Emsisoft (Phishing), Fortinet (Phishing), Kaspersky (Phishing), Netcraft (Malicious) Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)|
|Serving IP Address (error1907-xxx-ms[.]tk)
|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.
The "Hard Drive Safety Delete" scam that shares many similarities with others of this type including, for example, "Virus Support Alert", "Windows Is Not Activated", and "Activate Your Windows Now". These are just some examples and there are many more. Typically, scammers use them to trick people into making contact so that they can try to sell unnecessary software and services.
All PUAs that open these websites are very similar. Most are presented as harmless, useful, and legitimate apps, however, once installed, they cause problems rather than delivering the features promised, tools, or other promoted benefits.
How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?
People often download and install unwanted apps unintentionally. They cause unwanted downloads/installations by clicking dubious advertisements or by downloading and installing software without checking the options. In many cases, developers successfully trick people into downloading and installing PUAs using a deceptive marketing method called "bundling".
They bundle (include) unwanted apps into set-ups of software that people wish to download and install intentionally. They hide the information in settings such as "Custom", "Advanced" and so on. When users download or install their software (especially free software) without checking/changing settings, they often cause additional, unwanted downloads and installations.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?
Be cautious when browsing the web and downloading software. Software should not be downloaded from unofficial/untrustworthy websites, using Peer-to-Peer networks such as torrents, eMule or third party downloaders. This should be achieved using official, trustworthy sources (websites) and direct download links.
Check all available "Custom", "Advanced" and other similar options of software setups during the download or installation procedure and deselect additionally-included potentially unwanted apps. Intrusive ads often redirect users to untrustworthy websites (for example, pornography, adult dating, gambling etc.).
Do not click them. Some ads cause unwanted downloads and installations. If these redirects occur often or ads appear on any opened website, check for unwanted/suspicious add-ons, plug-ins or extensions installed on the browser and remove them. Unwanted, suspicious programs installed on the operating system should also be uninstalled.
If your computer is already infected with PUAs, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate them.
Screenshot of the "Hard Drive Safety Delete" scam opened in full-screen mode:
Text presented in "Hard Drive Safety Delete" scam:
Someone is Trying to Steal Your Banking Details, Credit Card Details & Other Logins. Please Call Microsoft at +1-855-285-7640 Immediately To Prevent Data Loss. Hard Drive safety delete in starting in 5:00
** Microsoft Warning Alert **
ERROR # 268d3x8938(3)
Please call us immediately at: (Toll Free)
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 Pornographic Spyware and risk ware. The following information is being stolen...
1. Facebook logins
2. Credit Card Details
3. Email Account Logins
4. Photos stored on this computer
Please call us within the next 5 minutes to prevent your computer from being disabled or from any information loss.
The appearance of "Hard Drive Safety Delete" 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 "Hard Drive Safety Delete" virus?
- How to identify a pop-up scam?
- How do pop-up scams work?
- How to remove fake pop-ups?
- How to prevent fake pop-ups?
- What to do if you fell for a pop-up scam?
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:
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.