Avoid downloading fake updates promoted by installflash-upgrade.com

Also Known As: installflash-upgrade.com pop-up
Damage level: Medium

What is installflash-upgrade[.]com?

InstallFlash-upgrade[.]com is a deceptive website running a fake Flash Player updater scam. Once accessed, the web page claims that visitors' Flash software might be outdated and recommends bogus updates.

Note that fake software updaters are typically used to infiltrate untrusted (e.g. Potentially Unwanted Applications - PUAs) and even malicious content (e.g. trojans, ransomware, etc.) into devices.

Sites such as installFlash-upgrade[.]com are rarely accessed intentionally - most users are redirected to them by intrusive advertisements and/or PUAs already installed on the system.

installflash-upgrade[.]com scam

Visitors to installFlash-upgrade[.]com first see several pop-up windows. The initial pop-up states that Flash Player might be out of date and asks them to update it to continue. The window in the background goes into more detail concerning Flash Player - i.e., that it is a plug-in, which encodes and/or decodes (i.e., plays) audio files in high quality.

There is no further information given. The pop-up repeats that Flash might be outdated and advises users to install the latest updates. If the "OK/Update" button is clicked, the fake updater is downloaded and the page displays installation instructions.

Trusting this scam will not update Flash Player - instead, users will unintentionally allow dubious and/or malicious content onto their systems. This in turn can cause serious issues. Due to risks posed by bogus updaters, use only functions/tools provided by official developers to update your software.

As well as force-opening deceptive/scam pages, PUAs cause redirects to sale-oriented, untrusted/rogue, compromised and malicious websites, however, these apps can have varied dangerous capabilities. They can deliver intrusive ads (e.g. pop-ups, banners, coupons, surveys, etc.).

Other types can modify browsers, and limit/deny access to settings to promote fake search engines. Furthermore, most PUAs can track data. They record browsing activities (URLs visited, search queries typed, etc.) and collect users' personal information (IP addresses, geolocations and other details).

This private data is then shared with third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) intent on misusing it for financial gain. To summarize, PUAs can cause various browser/system infiltration and infections, lead to serious privacy issues and even identity theft. To ensure device and user safety, remove all suspect applications and browser extensions/plug-ins without delay.

Threat Summary:
Name installflash-upgrade.com pop-up
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud.
Fake Claim Scam claims visitors' Flash Player might be outdated.
Distributed Unwanted Apps Scam promotes fake Flash Player updates.
Detection Names Fortinet (Malware), CRDF (Malicious), Sophos AV (Malicious), Kaspersky (Malware), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
Serving IP Address
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)

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Deceptive web pages are common and use social engineering and scare tactics to encourage users into performing specific actions. False claims that software is outdated is just one of many scam models.

Others include fake warnings regarding system being infected (e.g. "Activation Warning Alert", "Microsoft Protected Your Computer", etc.), "amazing" prize giveaways (e.g. "YOU ARE THE CHOSEN!", "International promotion of postal services", etc.), "incredible" offers (e.g. "Get the new iPhone 11 Pro", "Randomly selected to test the new iPhone", etc.), and so on.

These are used to trick people into the following: downloading/installing and/or purchasing nonoperational, untrusted or malicious content; calling expensive and fake technical support lines; revealing personal information (e.g. details relating to users' identities, finances, etc.); making monetary transactions, and others.

How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?

The use of fake updaters is just one way that PUAs can infiltrate devices. They also proliferate through download/installation set-ups of other software. This deceptive marketing tactic of pre-packing regular programs with unwanted or malicious applications is called "bundling".

Rushing download and installation processes increases the risk of unintentionally allowing bundled content onto systems. Certain PUAs have "official" download web pages, which are commonly promoted by deceptive/scam sites. When intrusive ads are clicked, they can execute scripts designed to download/install PUAs without users' permission.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications

All products should be researched prior to download/installation and/or purchase. Use only official and verified download sources. Avoid P2P sharing networks (BitTorrent, Gnutella, eMule, etc.), free file-hosting websites or other third party downloaders, since these channels are untrusted.

Treat download and installation processes with caution. Read the terms, explore all available options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings and opt-out of additional apps, tools, features and so on.

Intrusive advertisements may seem normal and harmless, however, they can cause redirects to dubious pages (e.g. adult-dating, pornography, gambling and others). If you experience ads/redirects of this kind, check the system and immediately remove all dubious applications and/or browser extensions/plug-ins.

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 the pop-up windows displayed by installflash-upgrade[.]com:

Initial pop-up:

Your Flash Player might be out of date. Please install update to continue.



Background pop-up:


Latest version of Flash Player might be recommended to encode and/or decode (Play) audio files in high quality. -
Click here to update for latest version.

Software update

Flash Player might be out of date

It's recommended to download an updated version of Flash Player.
OK Update

Screenshot of the installation instructions provided by installflash-upgrade[.]com:

installflash-upgrade[.]com scam fake flash updates installation instructions

Text presented in this page:

Step one

Step two
Click "Yes" when it appears

The appearance of installflash-upgrade[.]com pop-up (GIF):

installflash-upgrade[.]com scam gif

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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