Do not trust the Activation Security Warning scam

Also Known As: Activation Security Warning tech support scam
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Medium

"Activation Security Warning" removal instructions

What is "Activation Security Warning"?

Like most tech support scams, this one attempts to trick people into believing that their computers are infected with viruses and calling the provided number. Typically, criminals behind these scams try to deceive unsuspecting users into paying for 'tech support services' they do not need and/or granting remote access to their computers. In any case, you should ignore these scams and never contact the scammers behind them. Note that people do not often visit these scam pages intentionally - in most cases, they are opened through other sites of this kind, dubious ads, or potentially unwanted apps (PUAs) installed on the system/browser.

Activation Security Warning scam

This scam website is disguised as an official Microsoft Support web page claiming that it has detected an error named "# 0xC004FC03", "Pornographic Spyware", and a virus. It also notifies visitors that their Facebook and email account logins, credit card details, photos and documents are being stolen. To prevent the computer from being disabled and suffering possible further damage (such as data loss), visitors must supposedly call the "+1-844-514-8111" number within five minutes. Note that this scam page is accompanied by a loud audio message stating that the computer is infected and encouraging visitors to take immediate action. When scammers are contacted by phone, they ask users to grant remote access to their computers and then claim to run a diagnostic test, virus scan, etc. Essentially, they seek to deceive people into paying to fix a problem that does not exist (e.g., removal of a virus or an error). The scammers might use the remote access to download and install malicious software such as Trojans, ransomware or other high-risk malware. This enables them to generate revenue in various ways. Commonly, scammers behind these scams claim to be technicians from a well-known company such as Microsoft. Neither Microsoft nor other legitimate companies have anything to do with these scams.

Threat Summary:
Name Activation Security Warning tech support scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud.
Fake Claim This tech support scam claims that the user's computer is infected with viruses.
Tech Support Scammer Phone Number +1-844-514-8111
Related IP Address 3.133.1.242
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 Malwarebytes.
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More examples of similar scams include "ZoneAlarm Global Virus Alert", "Your Windows 10 Is Infected With 5 Viruses!" and "WARNING! 36 infections found!!!". Browsers open these pages due to potentially unwanted apps that are installed on the browsers and/or operating systems. Note that apps of this type often serve ads and gather information. PUAs can serve coupons, pop-up ads, surveys, banners and other intrusive advertisements. When clicked, these can open dubious web pages. In some cases, they can be designed to run scripts to download and install unwanted software. Most PUAs collect browsing data such as geolocations, entered search queries, addresses of visited websites, IP addresses, etc. In some cases, they record personal, sensitive data. The information is sold to third parties (even cyber criminals) who misuse it in various ways. Remove all PUAs from browsers and computers immediately.

How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?

PUAs are commonly included into the download/installation set-ups of other software. This distribution method is known as "bundling". Developers use it to trick people into downloading and installing PUAs together with other, regular software. Generally, information about additionally-included apps can be found in "Custom"," Advanced" or other setup settings. Many users fail to check and change these settings when they download and install their software. Leaving them unchanged allows PUAs to be downloaded and installed. Clicking deceptive ads can cause them to execute scripts designed to download and install potentially unwanted applications.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications

All software should be downloaded from official pages and through direct links. Peer-to-Peer networks (e.g., torrent clients, eMule), unofficial websites, third party downloaders, installers, and other channels, tools of this kind should not be used to download or install any programs or files - they are often used to distribute unwanted, malicious programs. Check "Advanced", "Custom" and other settings of the download/installation setup and decline offers to download or install additionally-included, potentially unwanted apps. Do not click intrusive ads that appear on dubious web pages, since they tend to open untrusted websites and can download and install unwanted software. Remove all unwanted, suspicious extensions, plug-ins and add-ons installed on the browser, and software of this kind installed on the operating system. If your computer is already infected with PUAs, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate them.

Text presented in "Activation Security Warning" pop-up and background page:

Activation Security Warning:

 

** Microsoft Warning Alert **
ERROR # 0xC004FC03

 

Please call us immediately at + 1-844-514-8111 (Microsoft 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  virus. The following information is being stolen:

 

1.Facebook Logins
2. Credit Card Details
3. Email  Account Logins
4.Photos  and documents stored on this computer

 

Please call us within the next 5 minutes to prevent your computer from being disabled or from any information loss.

 

Microsoft Toll Free: +1-844-514-8111

 

Prevent this page from creating  additional dialogues.

Leave this Page

Screenshot of the background page:

activation security warning scam background page 

The appearance of "Activation Security Warning" pop-up scam (GIF):

Appearance of Activation Security Warning scam

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:
▼ DOWNLOAD Malwarebytes By downloading any software listed on this website you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Malwarebytes. 14 days free trial available.

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 activation security warning tech support scam, 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 activation security warning tech support scam, 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 plug-ins 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 activation security warning tech support scam 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 activation security warning tech support scam, 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 activation security warning tech support scam from your computer, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.

Post a comment:
If you have additional information on activation security warning tech support scam 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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Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

QR Code
Activation Security Warning tech support scam 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 Activation Security Warning tech support scam on your mobile device.
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