Do not download dubious apps from "Free up some memory" scam sites

Also Known As: "Free up some memory urgently" pop-up
Damage level: Medium

What is the "Free up some memory urgently" scam?

"Free up some memory urgently" is a scam run on deceptive websites. It promote the Kalox APP browser hijacker, however, the scheme might also promote different browser hijackers, adware and other Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUAs). This scam could potentially also promote malware (e.g. ransomware, Trojans, etc.).

Like the name suggests, the scheme claims that users' devices are overloaded and states that they must immediately free up memory.

Note that no web page can detect issues or threats present in systems - any that make such claims are scams. Typically, users access these websites unintentionally - they are redirected to them by intrusive advertisements or PUAs already infiltrated into the device.

Free up some memory urgently scam

When a website running "Free up some memory urgently" scam is accessed, a pop-up window is displayed. It states that the computer memory has reached its limit and urges users to create some space by freeing up memory. They are instructed to click the "Free memory" button and follow the steps provided.

The small print in the pop-up states that, by clicking the aforementioned button, users agree with the scam's terms. At the time of research, once the button is clicked, users are presented with the Kalox APP browser hijacker. Following the scheme's narrative, this software will supposedly free up system memory.

Browser hijackers operate by reassigning the homepage, default search engine and new tab/window URLs to the addresses of fake search engines. Therefore, each new browser tab/window opened and each search query typed into the URL bar redirects to the promoted address.

Rogue search engines are usually unable to provide unique results, and so they redirect to Google, Yahoo, Bing and other legitimate sites. Even if fake search engines can provide results, they tend to be inaccurate and/or promote untrusted and malicious sites.

In the case of Kalox APP, it promotes s3redirect.com and gooogle.page - bogus search engines. Additionally, browser hijackers can restrict/deny access to browser settings and reset any permitted changes made. Furthermore, most PUAs (browser hijackers included) can track data - they monitor browsing activity and gather sensitive details extracted from it.

Information of interest includes URLs visited, pages viewed, search queries typed, IP addresses, geolocations, personally identifiable details and other data. Furthermore, the gathered information is often shared with third parties (potentially, cyber criminals).

To summarize, the presence of data-tracking software on browsers/systems can result in financial loss, serious privacy issues and even identity theft. Therefore, do not trust "Free up some memory urgently" or download products promoted using these dubious techniques.

If a browser is force-opening websites such as those promoting "Free up some memory urgently" scheme, it is most likely due to PUAs already installed on the system. These applications can cause redirects to untrusted/rogue, sale-oriented, deceptive/scam, compromised and malicious websites.

Another type (browser hijacker) modifies browsers to promote bogus search engines. Adware-type apps run intrusive ad campaigns (i.e. deliver pop-ups, banners, coupons and other ads).

When clicked, these advertisements redirect to various harmful sites and some can even stealthily download/install rogue software (e.g. PUAs). Most PUAs can monitor users' browsing habits and collect private information. To ensure device integrity and user safety, remove all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins without delay.

Threat Summary:
Name "Free up some memory urgently" pop-up
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud.
Fake Claim Scam claims that the device's memory is overloaded.
Distributed Unwanted Apps Kalox APP
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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"A virus has been detected on your computer", "VIRUS ALERT FROM Windows" and "Windows firewall has blocked some features of this program" are some examples of scams making bogus claims relating to devices. There are many scam models, which attempt to trick users in different ways.

For example, users may be encouraged to: download/install and/or purchase nonoperational, untrusted or malicious software; reveal personal information (e.g. names, addresses, telephone numbers, emails, banking account and/or credit card details, etc.); make bogus payments (e.g. for "services rendered", registration, subscription, shipping, etc.); call fraudulent and expensive tech support lines, and so on.

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

How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?

Some PUAs have "official" download web pages, which are commonly promoted by deceptive/scam sites. These apps are often downloaded/installed with other products. "Bundling" is the term used to describe this deceptive marketing method of packing normal software with unwanted or malicious additions.

Rushing downloads/installations (e.g. ignoring terms, skipping steps, etc.) increases the risk of inadvertent installation of bundled content. Intrusive ads proliferate this software as well. Once clicked, they can execute scripts designed to download/install PUAs without users' consent.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications

All products should be researched before download/installation or purchase. Download from official and verified sources. Untrusted download channels such as unofficial and free file-hosting sites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks and other third party downloaders can offer dubious and bundled content.

When downloading/installing, read the terms, explore all possible options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings and opt-out of supplementary applications, tools, features, etc. Intrusive ads may seem legitimate and harmless, however, they can redirect to dubious websites (e.g. gambling, pornography, adult-dating and others).

If you encounter these advertisements/redirects, inspect the system and immediately remove all suspect applications and 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 "Free up some memory urgently" pop-up:



Free up some memory urgently, your computer is overloaded!


Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/83.0.4103.116 Safari/537.36


Click "Free memory" button and follow the instructions.


By clicking "Free memory" you agree with the terms
Free memory

The appearance of "Free up some memory urgently" pop-up scam (GIF):

Appearance of Free up some memory urgently scam

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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.

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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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