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How to remove apps that open MS-Windows Support Alert and similar scam sites

Also Known As: MS-Windows Support Alert technical support scam
Damage level: Medium

Removal guide for apps that open MS-Windows Support Alert scam

What is MS-Windows Support Alert scam?

In most cases, technical support scam pages such as this are designed to appear as official Microsoft websites. Generally, they display fake notifications, virus alerts stating that there is a problem with the computer (e.g., infected with malware) and needs to be resolved immediately. The main purpose of these scams is to trick unsuspecting users into calling the provided number and paying for bogus services and software, or to gain remote access to their computers. In any case, never trust these scam websites and ignore the information they provide.

MS-Windows Support Alert scam

There are two variants of this technical support scam, displaying identical virus alert notifications. The only differences are the provided number, which users must supposedly call, and the color design. This website attempts to trick visitors into believing that it has detected spyware on their computers and that this might damage data and be used to track financial activities. Visitors are encouraged to remove detected malicious software with the help of technicians by calling the +1-888-630-3830 or +61-1800-875-294 number. Typically, when scammers are contacted, they attempt to trick users into paying for their services or software, or they demand permission to access their computers. If this is allowed, scammers could install malware on the operating system, steal sensitive information (such as credit card details, login credentials) or use the access for other malicious purposes. If your browser opens this type of website, it is very likely that there is a potentially unwanted application (PUA) installed on the browser or operating system. Note, this web page downloads various files to stop the browser from responding so that users are unable to close it. In such cases, you should close the browser/scam web page through Task Manager (note: this web page should never be reopened when the browser is relaunched after being closed via Task Manager).

PUAs can open untrusted, deceptive pages, gather data, and serve advertisements. Commonly, PUAs target IP addresses, websites of visited pages, entered search queries, geolocations, etc. They can also collect private, sensitive details. The developers sell the data to third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) or misuse it to generate revenue in another ways. PUAs serve coupons, banners, surveys, pop-ups and other forms of advertisements. Commonly, these open untrusted websites or even cause download/installation of unwanted applications by running certain scripts.

Threat Summary:
Name MS-Windows Support Alert technical support scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud.
Fake Claim Windows system is infected with spyware.
Tech Support Scammer Phone Numbers +1-888-630-3830, +61-1800-875-294
Related Domains shieldportectionmessage[.]tk, hypersophisticated[.]club
Detection Names (shieldportectionmessage[.]tk) Google Safebrowsing (Phishing), Forcepoint ThreatSeeker (Suspicious), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal).
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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"Important Security Alert!", "TROJAN Error Code 0xdc2dgewc", and "Windows Defender - Security Warning" are examples of other similar scam websites. As mentioned, most of these sites are disguised as official Microsoft web pages, however, this company has nothing to do with any of these scams. Note that users often download and install PUAs that promote untrusted pages (including technical support scams) inadvertently.

How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?

PUAs are often downloaded/installed together with other products. This deceptive marketing technique of pre-packing regular software with unwanted or malicious additions is called "bundling". By rushing through download/installation of software (e.g. ignoring terms, skipping steps and sections, using "Quick/Express" settings, etc.) many users risk unintentionally allowing bundled content into their devices. Intrusive advertisements proliferate PUAs as well. When clicked, the ads can execute scripts to download/install these applications without users' permission. Some PUAs have "official" download web pages from which they can be downloaded.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

Download software and files from official websites and via direct links. It is not safe to use torrent clients, eMule (or other Peer-to-Peer networks), third party downloaders, unofficial websites or other sources of this kind. Avoid third party installers. Check "Advanced", "Custom" and other settings, and decline offers to download or install unwanted software. Do not click ads that are displayed on dubious websites, since they can open other untrusted websites or even cause unwanted downloads and installations. Remove any unwanted, suspicious applications (extensions, add-ons, and plug-ins) that are installed on the browser. The same should be applied to programs of this kind that are installed on the operating system. If your computer is already infected with PUAs, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate them.

Appearance of "MS-Windows Support Alert" pop-up scam (GIF):

MS-Windows Support Alert pop-up scam appearance

Text in the main pop-up window:

Windows Security

Microsoft Edge

The server is asking for your user name and password.
That server also reports: "Suspicious movement distinguished on
you IP address because of a spyware introduced in you PC. Call
us for any help. Your information is at a Serious risk. There is a
Computer framework record missing because of some Harmful
malware infection Debug Malware error (code 0x80093acf). Call
Immediately to correct the issue. Please do not Open web browser
or make any changes for your Security Issue to avoid data loss &
Corrupt system files & drivers, Call immediately to save Hard disk
failure & Data loss. This Harmful malware is affecting your online
information & can Track Financial Activity Contact Certified
Technicians. Call Helpline @ +1-888-630-3830 for any help".

Text in the pop-up in the backrground:

VIRUS ALERT FROM MS-Windows
This computer is BLOCKED
Do not close this window and restart your computer
Your computer's registration key is Blocked.
Why we blocked your computer?
The window's registration key is illegal.
This window is using pirated software.
This window is sending virus over the internet.
This window is hacked or used from undefined location.
We block this computer for your security.
Contact MS-Windows  helpline to reactivate your computer.
MS-Windows  Security Tollfree:
+1-888-630-3830

Text on the website:

MS-Windows Support Alert

Your System Detected Some Unusual Activity.

It might harm your computer data and track your financial activities.

Please report this activity to  +1-888-630-3830

Screenshot of the second variant of MS-Windows Support Alert scam page:

ms-windows support alert scam another variant

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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:

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 ms-windows support alert technical 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 ms-windows support alert technical 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 ms-windows support alert technical 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.

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 ms-windows support alert technical 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

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 ms-windows support alert technical support scam from your computer, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.

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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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Removal Instructions in other languages
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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