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Do not trust this fake "Windows Security Alert" pop-up

Also Known As: "Windows firewall has blocked some features of this program" tech support scam
Damage level: Medium

What is the "Windows firewall has blocked some features of this program" scam?

"Windows firewall has blocked some features of this program" is a deceptive pop-up window displayed by untrusted websites. It is disguised as a genuine Windows error message. The purpose of this scam is to trick people into calling a bogus technical support helpline.

Trusting this fake alert can lead to financial loss, serious privacy issues, system infections and other serious problems. Few visitors access sites promoting scams such as this intentionally - most are redirected to them by intrusive ads or Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUAs). These rogue apps do not need express user permission to be installed onto the system.

Windows firewall has blocked some features of this program scam

This fake pop-up window is presented as a "Windows Security Alert" informing users that Windows Firewall has supposedly disabled certain features of a program. Specifically, this program has been blocked from accepting incoming network connections.

Should this piece of software be unblocked, it will likewise be unblocked on all public networks that users connect to. The pop-up also shows the alleged name, publisher and location of this program. Additionally, it contains buttons to either keep blocking the nonexistent program or to unblock it.

The fake alert urges users to call a "tech support" helpline. "Windows firewall has blocked some features of this program" is not a legitimate alert and all of the information presented within it is false. Typically, the telephone numbers provided by such scams are expensive, and the scammers behind them generate profit by tricking people into staying on the line for as long as possible.

These criminals might attempt to gain access and control over users' devices by claiming to offer remote technical support services. They can infect the system with Trojans, ransomware and other malware. In some cases, scammers also try to extort users' personal information such as names, addresses, emails, banking accounts and credit card details.

To summarize, trusting the "Windows firewall has blocked some features of this program" scam poses a danger to device and user safety.

As well as force-opening deceptive/scam pages, PUAs can cause redirects to sale-oriented/promotional, rogue, compromised and malicious websites, however, these applications can have other/additional capabilities. Adware-types can deliver pop-ups, banners, coupons, surveys and other intrusive advertisements.

They diminish the browsing experience and when clicked redirect to similarly dangerous sites, and some can stealthily download/install rogue software. Other types of PUAs, classified as browser hijackers, modify browsers to promote fake search engines, and they can limit/deny access to the browser settings.

Rogue web searchers are usually unable to provide unique results, and so they redirect to Yahoo, Bing, Google and other genuine sites. Most PUAs can track data. They can monitor browsing activity (browsing and search engine histories) and gather personal information extracted from it (IP addresses, geolocations and other details).

The collected data is often shared with third parties seeking to misuse it for profit - potentially, by putting it to criminal use. To protect device integrity and user safety, remove all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins immediately upon detection.

Threat Summary:
Name "Windows firewall has blocked some features of this program" tech support scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud.
Fake Claim Scam claims Windows Firewall has blocked a malicious program.
Tech Support Scammer Phone Number +1-800-374-1493, +1-877-790-0180
Related Domains chasxlogs34[.]xyz, errorcode-a7[.]gq
Detection Names (chasxlogs34[.]xyz)
Fortinet (Phishing), Netcraft (Malicious), Forcepoint ThreatSeeker (Suspicious), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal).
Serving IP Address (chasxlogs34[.]xyz) 166.62.10.188
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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"WIN.DLL011150 Error", "Your Windows 10 is infected with 5 viruses!" and "Attention 22 threats found" are some examples of other technical support scams. The web is full of various schemes that make likewise varied claims.

The purpose might be to encourage users into: calling fake tech support/service lines; allowing unauthorized access to their devices; downloading/installing and/or purchasing nonoperational, untrusted and malicious software; making monetary transactions (e.g. fake shipping, registration, subscription and other payments); revealing personal and sensitive information, and so on.

Regardless of what these scams claim, request or demand, their purpose is identical: to generate revenue for the scammers/cyber criminals behind them.

How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?

Some PUAs have "official" promotional/download web pages, which are often promoted by scam sites. These applications are often downloaded/installed with other software. This deceptive marketing technique of pre-packing normal products with unwanted or malicious additions is called "bundling".

By rushing through download/installation processes (e.g. ignoring terms, skipping steps, etc.), many users risk inadvertently allowing bundled content into their devices. Intrusive ads can infiltrate these apps into systems as well. When clicked, they can execute scripts to make stealthy downloads/installations.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications

You are advised to research all products before download/installation and/or purchase. All downloads must be done from official and verified sources. Unofficial and free file-hosting websites, P2P sharing networks (BitTorrent, Gnutella, eMule, etc.) and other third party downloaders can offer deceptive and bundled content and are, therefore, untrusted.

When downloading/installing, it is important to read the terms, explore all available options, use the "Custom" or "Advanced" settings and opt-out of additional apps, tools, features, and so on. Exercise caution when browsing. Intrusive advertisements may seem legitimate, however, they can redirect to dubious pages (e.g. gambling, pornography, adult-dating, etc.).

If you encounter these ads/redirects, check the system and remove all suspect applications and browser extensions/plug-ins without delay. 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 firewall has blocked some features of this program" pop-up:

Windows Security Alert

 

Windows Firewall has blocked some features of this program

 

Windows Firewall has blocked this program from accepting incoming network connections. If you unblock this program, it will be unblocked on all public networks that you connect to. What are the risks of unblocking a program?

 

Name: FileLocator Remote Search Agent (Client)
Publisher: Mythicsoft Ltd
Path: C:\users\dmv\appdata\local\temp\flc6757.tmp.install\flr_clier
Network location: Public network
What are network locations?
Call helpline +1-800-374-1493

 

[Keep blocking] [Unblock]

The appearance of "Windows firewall has blocked some features of this program" pop-up scam (GIF):

Appearance of Windows firewall has blocked some features of this program scam

Another example of "Windows firewall has blocked some features of this program" pop-up scam:

Windows firewall has blocked some features of this program pop-up scam (2020-09-07)

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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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