"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.
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.
|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||18.104.22.168|
|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.
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:
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:
The appearance of "Activation Security Warning" pop-up scam (GIF):
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:
- What is "Activation Security Warning"?
- 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 7 users:
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:
Click Start, choose Settings and click Control Panel. Locate and click Add or Remove Programs.
Windows 10 and Windows 8 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.
Mac 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 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.
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 activation security warning tech support scam, 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 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, 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 activation security warning tech support scam, 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 activation security warning tech support scam from your computer, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.
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