What is the "Covid19 Warning Alert"?
"Covid19 Warning Alert" is a scam promoted on deceptive websites. The scheme claims that users must contact tech support, as their devices have been infected with malware and COVID-19 (which is an infectious disease, not a computer virus). Note that all of the information provided by "Covid19 Warning Alert" is false.
Typically, these deceptive sites are accessed via redirects caused by intrusive advertisements or Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUAs) already infiltrated into the system.
When a web page running "Covid19 Warning Alert" is accessed, visitors are presented with a pop-up window. This warns users not to ignore the "critical alert", since, if the page is closed, users' computers and families will be infected/linked with the Coronavirus (though the pop-up does not elaborate on how this is possible).
The device has apparently already been compromised by spyware and other viruses, including COVID-19. The targeted information is listed as: email account and Facebook log-in credentials, credit card details, files stored on the device (e.g. photographs, documents, etc.).
To prevent further damage, the computer may be blocked. Users are instructed to call "free" technical support helpline to retain access and remove the malware. The text presented in the background page is very similar to the fake alert displayed in the pop-up window. It is stated that if users ignore the warnings, they will be infected with the Coronavirus.
Allegedly, this alert has been verified by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the World Health Organization (WHO). The message then closely mimics the pop-up, however, the background page claims that if the pop-up is closed, other users are somehow infected.
Similarly, this fraudulent warning keeps urging users to call the provided telephone number. Despite the fake helplines being presented as "free" in such scams, this is rarely the case. Scammers use these schemes to trick people into revealing personal/sensitive information, paying bogus "fees" and/or allowing access to their computers.
The latter can be achieved through remote access software, however, the actions performed through these programs can vary drastically. The initial access may be used to infect the device with malicious software such as Remote Access Trojans (RATs) to ensure indefinite access and control, and also ransomware, cryptominers, and other malware.
From successfully compromised systems or the users themselves, scammers can extract private data (e.g. names, addresses, emails, banking account and/or credit card details, etc.). The "services" of scammers are not free and users are often required to pay for them.
Furthermore, victims can be continually targeted, especially if trust and/or rapport has been successfully established by the scammers. To summarize, trusting the "Covid19 Warning Alert" can result in system infections, significant financial loss, serious privacy issues and even identity theft. In some cases, scam websites may prevent users from closing them.
To close such a page, the browser process must be ended via Windows Task Manager. Additionally, the next time the browser is opened, it is important to remember not to restore the previous browsing session, as this will reopen the deceptive website.
As mentioned in the introduction, PUAs can force-open various harmful sites, however, these applications can have additional capabilities. Adware-types can deliver intrusive advertisements (e.g. pop-ups, banners, coupons, etc.). Other types called browser hijackers can modify browser settings to promote fake search engines.
Furthermore, most PUAs (regardless of type) can track data. They monitor browsing activity (URLs visited, pages viewed, search queries typed, etc.) and collect personal information derived from it (IP addresses, geolocations and other details). The gathered data is shared with and/or sold to third parties (potentially, cyber criminals).
To ensure device integrity and user privacy, all suspicious apps and browser extensions/plug-ins must be eliminated without delay.
|Name||Covid19 Warning Alert tech support scam|
|Threat Type||Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud.|
|Fake Claim||Scam claims users' devices are infected with viruses and may be blocked.|
|Tech Support Scammer Phone Number||+1-888-651-2369|
|Detection Names (covid-alert.epizy[.]com)||Sophos AV (Suspicious), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)|
|Serving 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 Combo Cleaner.
"Windows Alert & Warning", "System Activation KEY Has Expired" and "Killer's IP Address" are some examples of similar tech support scams. The web is full of deceptive websites that make varied claims, ranging from warnings of infected devices to offering "unbelievable" prizes.
Despite how good these scams may sound, they have just one purpose: to generate revenue at users' expense. Therefore, you are strongly advised to exercise caution when browsing.
How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?
Some PUAs have "official" download pages, which are often promoted by scam websites, however, these applications are more commonly downloaded/installed with other products. This deceptive marketing technique of packing regular programs with unwanted or malicious additions is called "bundling".
Rushing download/installation processes (e.g. ignoring terms, using presets, etc.) increases the risk of unintentionally allowing dubious and/or bundled software into systems. Intrusive advertisements proliferate PUAs as well. When clicked, they can execute scripts to make stealthy downloads/installations.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications
You are strongly advised to research all products before download/installation. Use only official and verified download channels. Untrusted sources such as unofficial and free file-hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks (BitTorrent, eMule, Gnutella, etc.) and other third party downloaders can offer bundled content.
When downloading/installing, read the terms, explore all possible options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings and opt-out of supplementary apps, tools, features, and so on. Intrusive ads may seem normal and harmless, however, they can redirect to dubious web pages (e.g. gambling, pornography, adult-dating, etc.).
If you encounter advertisements and/or redirects of this kind, inspect the system and remove all suspect applications and browser extensions/plug-ins immediately. If your computer is already infected with PUAs, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate them.
Screenshot of the displayed pop-up window:
Text presented in "Covid19 Warning Alert" scam:
** Covid18 Warning Alert **
ERROR # 0x03JWO2FCORONAVIRUS34
Please call us immediately at:
+1-888-651-2369 (Windows and nCov-19 Toll Free)
Do not ignore this critical alert or risk be infected.
if you close this page, your computer access will be with coronavirus, linke your family. And disabled to prevent further damage to our network. Your computer has alerted us that it has been infected with a Pornographic Spyware and virus and covid19. The following information is being stolen and hacked:
2.Credit Card Details
3.Email Account Logins
4.Photos and documents stored on this computer
5.Your Familiy's serials
Please call us within the next 5 minutes to prevent your computer from being disabled from any information loss.
Windows Toll Free: +1-888-651-2369
Error Logged at: Wed Aug 5 2020 20:06pmSun Mar 1 2020 11:59am
Windows Diagnostics IP Address: 22.214.171.124
Call Support +1-888-651-2369
ERROR # 0x03JWO2FCORONAVIRUS34
Please call us immediately at:
+1-888-651-2369 (Toll Free)+1-888-651-2369
Do not ignore this critical alert or you will be infected with
coronavirus. This is proofed by FBI and WHO
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
Pornographic Spyware and coronavirus and. The following
information is being stolen:
2.Credit Card details
3.Email Account Logins
4.Photos and documents stored on this computer
Please don't close this popup, if you don't wanna infecting users.
process over the phone to protect your identity. Please call us
within the next 5 minutes to prevent your computer from being
disabled or from any information loss.
Call Windows Support
+1-888-651-2369 (Toll FREE)
Instant automatic malware removal:
Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Combo Cleaner is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
- What is "Covid19 Warning Alert"?
- 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 11 users:
Right-click on the Start icon, select Apps and Features. In the opened window search for the application you want to uninstall, after locating it, click on the three vertical dots and select Uninstall.
Windows 10 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.
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.
macOS (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 covid19 warning alert 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 covid19 warning alert 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 covid19 warning alert 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 covid19 warning alert 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 covid19 warning alert tech support scam from your computer, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.
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