Remove apps that open pages offering fake Adobe Flash Player updates

Also Known As: Fake Flash Player update pop-up
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Medium

"Fake flash player update" removal instructions

What is "Fake flash player update"?

There is a great number of websites that are designed to deceive visitors into using a fake Adobe Flash Player installer that supposed to update currently installed version. These fake installers usually are designed to install browser hijackers, adware and other potentially unwanted applications (PUAs). In some cases they are designed to infect operating system with some ransomware, Trojan, or other high-risk malware. Typically, these fake Adobe Flash Player installers are promoted on various untrustworthy pages that have nothing to do neither with the official Adobe Flash Player version or its download page. Crooks who promote such scams target Mac users as well.

Fake flash player update scam

At the time of the research a deceptive page which promotes a fake Adobe Flash Player installer suggested that the installed version of Adobe Flash Player might be out of date and recommended to update it. It is common that such pages claim that installed version is out of date and will not work unless it is updated. Either way, fake Adobe Flash Player installers do not update the actual Adobe Flash Player. Usually they install some PUA like a browser hijacker or adware-type app. Typically, browser hijackers are designed to promote some fake search engine by changing certain browser's settings and gather various information. In most cases they collect browsing-related data, however, sometimes apps of this type can be designed to record personal information. Quite often their developers misuse gathered data to generate revenue by selling it to third parties (potentially cyber criminals) who misuse it in other ways. Adware is a type of software that serves various intrusive advertisements. For example, coupons, banners, surveys, pop-ups. Usually those ads are designed either to open untrustworthy pages or download, install unwanted apps by executing certain scripts. It is worthwhile to mention that adware-type apps may be designed to operate as information tracking tools too. As we mentioned in the introduction, fake Adobe Flash Player installers can be designed to install some ransomware, Trojan or other malicious software as well. Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts victim's files so they could bot be decrypted without tools that can be provided only by cyber criminals who designed that program. Such software can cause both data and financial loss. Trojans are malicious program that often are designed to spread (install) other software of this kind, including ransomware. Therefore, unofficial, deceptive pages that offer to update Adobe Flash Player cannot be trusted.

Threat Summary:
Name Fake Flash Player update pop-up
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim This deceptive page suggests that Adobe Flash Player may be out of date.
Detection Names (adobe_flash_player_1840612795.exe) Avast (FileRepMalware [PUP]), AVG (FileRepMalware [PUP]), ESET-NOD32 (Win32/InstallCore.AYH Potentially Unwanted), Microsoft (Trojan:Win32/Wacatac.B!ml), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
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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It is common that people do not visit deceptive pages suggesting that Adobe Flash Player might be or is out of date on purpose. Usually such pages get opened through clicked deceptive advertisements, other untrustworthy sites or by installed potentially unwanted applications (PUAs). If a browser opens shady pages by itself regularly, then it is very likely that some PUA is already installed on it.

How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?

Quite often unwanted apps get downloaded and/or installed through setups of other software. To be more precise, when they are included in various download and installation setups as additional offers that usually can be found in their setups such as "Custom", "Advanced", "Manual". When people download and/or install programs without changing those settings they allow for PUAs to be downloaded and/or installed as well. This distribution method of PUAs is known as "bundling". Also, unwanted downloads and installations can be caused by clicking deceptive advertisements that cause them by running certain scripts.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

Various third party downloaders, installers, Peer-to-Peer networks (e.g, torrent clients, eMule), unofficial pages, and other similar download, installation tools, channels are often used to distribute various PUAs. Therefore, software (and files) should be downloaded only from official websites and through direct links. Also, downloads and installations should not be completed without checking "Advanced", "Custom" and other settings. It is common that such settings mention offers to download and/or install additional, unwanted software. Furthermore, it is not safe to click advertisements that are displayed on various questionable websites. When clicked, those ads either open untrustworthy websites or cause unwanted downloads, installations. If there are any unwanted, suspicious extensions, add-ons, plug-ins installed on a browser, then they should be uninstalled right away. Software of this kind that is installed on the operating system should be removed too. If your computer is already infected with PUAs, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate them.

The appearance of a deceptive page offering to update Adobe Flash Player with a fake installer: (GIF):

Appearance of Fake flash player update scam

Screenshots of a fake Adobe Flash Player installer:

fake adobe flash player installer fake adobe flash player installer fake adobe flash player installer

Instant automatic malware removal: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Malwarebytes 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:

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.

PUAs 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 fake flash player update pop-up, 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 fake flash player update pop-up, 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 fake flash player update pop-up 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 fake flash player update pop-up, 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 fake flash player update pop-up from your computer, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.

Post a comment:
If you have additional information on fake flash player update pop-up or it's removal please share your knowledge in the comments section below.

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
Fake Flash Player update pop-up 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 Fake Flash Player update pop-up on your mobile device.
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