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Avoid being scammed by sites displaying "ERROR # 0xuaO-0x156m(3)"

Also Known As: ERROR # 0xuaO-0x156m(3) tech support scam
Damage level: Medium

What is the "ERROR # 0xuaO-0x156m(3)" scam?

"ERROR # 0xuaO-0x156m(3)" is a technical support scam. At the time of research, this scheme was promoted via the azurewebsites[.]net - Microsoft Azure website-hosting platform. In general, online scams are promoted on various deceptive web pages.

The gist of tech support scams is claiming that users' devices are infected and/or at risk, and urging them to call fake helplines - they then abuse victims' trust. These schemes are often disguised as important messages, warnings or alerts from legitimate companies/service providers.

The "ERROR # 0xuaO-0x156m(3)" scam is no exception to this and is presented as a warning from Microsoft. In fact, this scheme is in no way associated with the Microsoft Corporation. In many cases, users access deceptive sites via mistyped URLs, redirects caused by intrusive advertisements or by Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUAs) already installed on their devices.

This software does not need express permission to infiltrate systems, and hence users may be unaware of its presence.

ERROR # 0xuaO-0x156m(3) scam

The "ERROR # 0xuaO-0x156m(3)" scam urges visitors not to ignore this critical warning. Supposedly, if they close the message, access to their devices will be disabled. This course of action will be taken to prevent further damage to the machine, as it has allegedly been infected with "Pornographic Spyware and riskware".

To further alarm users, the scheme claims that the photographs stored on their computers, email and Facebook account log-in credentials (usernames and passwords), and credit card details are currently being stolen.

To stop this alleged process, the scam informs users that they must call the toll-free "Windows helpline" and have "expert engineers" aid them with the malware removal process. The goal of technical support scams is extracting sensitive/personal information from victims and gaining access to their devices.

How scammers achieve their goals often varies. Once they have access to the machines, they can instruct users about how to remove the bogus threats and provide a variety of false information.

They can offer fake anti-virus tools or fraudulent license keys for free programs but, most importantly, scammers can infect the devices with malware (e.g. Trojans, ransomware, cryptominers, etc.).

The most common choice in malicious software stealthily infiltrated into systems are RATs (Remote Access Trojans), which are used to establish potentially indefinite remote access and control over the device. How scammers obtain private data likewise varies.

They can ask victims to simply provide the information or trick them into believing that it is being submitted privately, via phishing websites or dubious payment gateways (that record entered data), typed onto text editing programs (under the pretence that the scammers cannot see it), and so on.

The main source of revenue for tech support scams are the fees scammers ask victims to pay - these costs tend to be extraordinarily high. Furthermore, the requested currencies (e.g. cryptocurrencies, pre-paid vouchers, gift-cards, etc.) and/or payment methods tend to be difficult/impossible to trace.

Furthermore, successfully scammed victims are often targeted repeatedly. To summarize, by trusting "ERROR # 0xuaO-0x156m(3)" or other scams, users can experience system infections, severe privacy issues, significant financial losses and even identity theft.

Deceptive websites can prevent visitors from exiting them by disabling their ability to close the pages. In such cases, Windows Task Manager must be used to end the browser process. Upon reopening the browser, it is important not to restore the previous browsing session, as failing to do so will reopen the scam web page.

PUAs are one of the main causes of rogue redirects to deceptive and otherwise bogus websites, however, these applications can have different functionalities and these capabilities can be in varied combinations. Adware-type PUAs run intrusive advertisement campaigns.

I.e., they deliver various intrusive ads. Once clicked, the delivered ads redirect to untrustworthy and malicious sites, and some can even stealthily download/install software. Browser hijackers are another type of PUA, which make modifications to browser settings and restrict/deny access to them to promote fake search engines.

The promoted web searchers are seldom able to provide search results, and so they tend to redirect to Google, Yahoo, Bing and other legitimate search engines. Most PUAs can track data. They can record browsing activity (URLs visited, webpages viewed, search queries typed, etc.) and collect personal information extracted from it (IP addresses, geolocations and other details).

The gathered data is then monetized by sharing with and/or selling to third parties (potentially, cyber criminals). To ensure device integrity and user safety, all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins must be removed without delay.

Threat Summary:
Name ERROR # 0xuaO-0x156m(3) tech support scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud.
Fake Claim Scam claims users' devices are infected and access to them might be blocked.
Disguise Warning from Microsoft.
Tech Support Scammer Phone Number +1-844-279-2314
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.
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"Windows Error Code: WIN.DLL0151930", "MS-Windows Support Alert", "Important Security Alert!" and "TROJAN Error Code 0xdc2dgewc" are some examples of other tech support scams. The internet is rife with various schemes.

Popular scam models include warnings that the device is infected, alerts that an essential piece of software is outdated, fake prize giveaways and raffles, "amazing" deals, and so on. The sole purpose of these online scams is to generate profit for the scammers/cyber criminals behind them. You are strongly advised to exercise caution when browsing.

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

You are advised to research all software before download/installation. Use only official and verified download channels. Unofficial and free file-hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks (BitTorrent, Gnutella, eMule), and other third party downloaders commonly offer harmful and bundled content, and are therefore untrusted and should be avoided.

When downloading/installing, read the terms, study all possible options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings and opt-out of additional apps, tools, features, and so on. Intrusive advertisements typically seem legitimate, however, they can redirect to dubious and malicious sites (e.g. gambling, pornography, adult-dating, and many others).

If you encounter ads or redirects of this kind, inspect the system and remove all dubious 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.

Text presented in "ERROR # 0xuaO-0x156m(3)" scam:

** Microsoft Important Warning **
ERROR # 0xuaO-0x156m(3)
Please call us immediately at:
+1-844-279-2314 (Toll Free)
Do not ignore this critical warning message.
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 riskware. The following information is being stolen...

 

1.Facebook Logins
2.Credit Card Details
3.Email Account Logins
4.Photos stored on this computer

 

You must contact us immediately so that our expert engineers can walk you through the removal process over the phone to protect your identity and from any kind of identity theft or information loss.
Call Windows : +1-844-279-2314 (Toll Free)

The appearance of "ERROR # 0xuaO-0x156m(3)" pop-up scam (GIF):

Appearance of ERROR # 0xuaO-0x156m(3) scam GIF

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:
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Quick menu:

Removal of potentially unwanted applications:

Windows 11 users:

Accessing Apps and Features in Windows 11

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:

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.

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.

macOS (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 error # 0xuao-0x156m(3) tech 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 error # 0xuao-0x156m(3) 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, 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 error # 0xuao-0x156m(3) tech 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 error # 0xuao-0x156m(3) 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.

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.

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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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ERROR # 0xuaO-0x156m(3) tech support scam QR code
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