What is "Windows Online Protection has detected spyware"?
"Windows Online Protection has detected spyware" is a scam designed to trick people into installing a fake antivirus tool called Live Protection Suite.
This program is promoted by displaying fake virus detections on a deceptive website. In summary, this scam website informs visitors that it has detected viruses (spyware, trojans, etc.) on computers and encourages them to remove the issues by installing Live Protection Suite. Do not trust this scam web page or the program that is promoted through it.
Initially, the site opens a pop-up window stating that the user's computer is infected with viruses, which might cause data loss, system crashes, and other problems.
People are invited to scan their computers with the Live Protection Suite, which is disguised as a certified antivirus tool created by Microsoft. If the "OK" button is clicked, the web page starts a fake scanning process that detects over one hundred trojans.
It displays the "Windows Security Alert" pop-up window stating that Windows Online Protection has detected spyware and is ready to remove it. It encourages users to remove the infection by clicking the "Remove all" button. If clicked, it downloads a setup file of the Live Protection Suite fake antivirus program.
This program displays fake system warnings (pop-ups), opens untrustworthy websites in the browser, and so on. In this way, it often tricks people into paying for the so-called 'full version'. Programs that are promoted through deceptive websites cannot be trusted and should not be downloaded or installed. Close this, and any similar scam web pages immediately.
Generally, people do not visit these pages intentionally - they are opened by installed potentially unwanted apps (PUAs) on the system. In addition to unwanted redirects, PUAs serve users with ads such as coupons, banners, surveys, pop-ups, and so on. These intrusive ads usually conceal underlying content of any visited website.
Furthermore, if clicked, they open potentially malicious websites or trigger installation/download of other unwanted apps (some of these ads also run scripts that perform this function).
PUAs also record user-system information including IP addresses, entered search queries, geolocations, URLs of visited websites, and other data of this kind. Some of this data might also include personal details.
|Name||"Windows Online Protection has detected spyware" virus|
|Threat Type||Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud|
|Fake Claim||Fake virus alert/scan suggests that a computer is infected with spyware, trojans and other viruses, and encourages users to download a fake antivirus suite|
|Distributed Unwanted Apps||Live Protection Suite|
|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.
Other similar scams include "Your Windows Computer Could Be Infected With Viruses!", "Windows hard disk is at high risk", and "Microsoft detected malicious virus and blocked your computer". Typically, scammers use them to trick people into installing unwanted software or to extort money by encouraging them to purchase unnecessary software or services.
PUAs that open these sites are usually advertised as 'useful' and 'legitimate', however, they provide none of the promoted features, tools, and so on. On the contrary, they simply open dubious websites, gather information, and display ads.
How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?
Most PUAs are distributed through a deceptive marketing method called "bundling", which is used to trick users into downloading and installing PUAs with other software. To achieve this, developers hide information regarding these unwanted apps in "Custom", "Advanced" and other similar settings of the installation/download set-ups.
Furthermore, many users skip steps without checking the settings, thereby allowing unwanted apps to be downloaded/installed with some other, regular software. In other cases, PUAs are installed when people click intrusive ads that cause unwanted downloads/installations.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?
Download software from official/trustworthy sources (websites) and using download direct links. Do not download using third party downloaders, torrent clients, eMule (or other Peer-to-Peer networks), untrustworthy pages, and so on.
Install (or download) software carefully, check each download/installation step, and dismiss offers to download/install unwanted apps that are presented in "Custom", "Advanced" and other similar settings or options of the download/installation set-ups.
Avoid clicking intrusive advertisements, since they can redirect to untrustworthy websites relating to gambling, adult dating, pornography, and so on. If a browser causes redirects to dubious pages, or various ads appear whilst browsing the web, check for unwanted entries installed on the browser (extensions, plug-ins, pop-ups) and remove them.
Also apply this to programs installed on the operating system. 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 "Windows Online Protection has detected spyware" pop-up:
ATTENTION: If your computer is infected with viruses, you could suffer data loss, erratic PC behaviour, PC freezes and crashes.
Detect and remove harmful trojans and viruses before they damage your computer! Live Protection Suite for Windows will perform a FREE and quick scan of your computer for viruses, spyware and adware. Do you want to install Live Protection Suite certified Microsoft Windows antivirus now to remove all viruses and protect your PC for FREE (Recommended)
Screenshot of the fake virus scanner and pop-up that encourages users to download Windows Online Protection:
Text in the pop-up:
To help protect your computer, Windows Online Protection has detected spyware and is ready to remove it. Spyware is software which is loaded onto your computer without your knowledge, or possible without the full functionality being made clear to your. It can, among other things, slow your Internet connection down and make frustrating changes to your browser.
Screenshot of the Live Protection Suite:
The appearance of "Windows Online Protection has detected spyware" 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 "Windows Online Protection has detected spyware"?
- 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 applications:
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 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:
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 "windows online protection has detected spyware" 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 and remove them.
If you continue to have problems with removal of the "windows online protection has detected spyware" 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 on "Extensions", in the opened window, remove all recently-installed suspicious browser plug-ins.
Computer users who have problems with "windows online protection has detected spyware" 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 "windows online protection has detected spyware" 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.
If you are experiencing problems while trying to remove "windows online protection has detected spyware" virus from your computer, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.
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