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Avoid getting scammed by sites displaying a "Windows_Firewall_Protection_Alert"

Also Known As: Windows_Firewall_Protection_Alert tech support scam
Damage level: Medium

What is "Windows_Firewall_Protection_Alert"?

"Windows_Firewall_Protection_Alert" is a technical support scam promoted on various rogue websites. It makes fake claims about users' devices being infected with malware and urges them to contact Microsoft's support. It must be emphasized that this scam is in no way associated with the Microsoft Corporation, and all of its claims are false.

Scams are designed to generate revenue at victims' expense; tech support scams do so in various ways - mostly incorporating calls to fraudulent helplines and remote access to victims' devices. Furthermore, it must be stressed that no site can detect issues/threats present on visitors' computers; hence, all that make such statements - are scams.

Windows_Firewall_Protection_Alert scam

"Windows_Firewall_Protection_Alert" scam overview

When a website running this is accessed, it presents visitors with various pop-ups. They are disguised as system scans and virus alerts.

The scheme describes the malware infection (e.g., "Pornographic_Spyware Alert", etc.) and lists the threats it poses. The background page is disguised as the official Microsoft support page. This scam aims to trick users into calling fake helplines and entangle them in technobabble-laced deceit.

Typically, tech support scammers request remote access to their victims' devices (via genuine remote software). Once access is established, the cyber criminals can cause a wide variety of problems. For example, scammers can remove legitimate anti-virus tools, install (purchasable) fake anti-viruses, infiltrate malware (trojans, ransomware, etc.), exfiltrate private data, and so on.

Regardless of how the criminals operate after the connection is initiated, the fees for their "services" are exorbitant. Under the guise of "Microsoft technicians", the criminals can demand payment for fake malware removal, product installation/activation, subscription, service termination, etc. What is more, successfully scammed victims are usually targeted repeatedly.

To summarize, by trusting the "Windows_Firewall_Protection_Alert" scheme, users can experience multiple system infections, severe privacy issues, significant financial losses, and identity theft.

Threat Summary:
Name Windows_Firewall_Protection_Alert tech support scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Scam claims that users devices have been infected.
Disguise Scam is disguised as an alert from Microsoft.
Tech Support Scammer Phone Number +1-888-489-8832
Related Domains swangin[.]xyz
Detection Names (swangin[.]xyz) Combo Cleaner (Phishing), Fortinet (Phishing), G-Data (Malware), Kaspersky (Malware), 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)

To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
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To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Combo Cleaner. 7 days free trial available. Combo Cleaner is owned and operated by Rcs Lt, the parent company of PCRisk.com read more.

Online scams in general

"Access to this pc has been blocked for security reasons", "Code 0x03A10 (0E10)", "Firewall Spyware Alert", and "Microsoft Security Essentials Alert" are some examples of technical support scams.

The Internet is rife with misleading, deceptive, and even malicious material. There are thousands of various schemes on the Web. Popular scam models include: warnings that the device is infected, alerts that essential software is outdated/missing, fake giveaways and raffles, etc. Due to how widespread scams are, it is strongly recommended to exercise caution when browsing.

How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?

Scam sites are typically accessed inadvertently; most users enter them via mistyped URLs or redirects caused by rogue webpages, intrusive ads, or PUAs (Potentially Unwanted Applications) already installed onto their devices.

Unwanted software typically infiltrates systems without explicit user consent. PUAs are spread using the "bundling" technique - packing regular programs with unwanted/malicious supplements. Intrusive advertisements proliferate PUAs as well. Once clicked on, the ads can execute scripts to make stealthy downloads/installations. Some PUAs also have "official" promotional/download webpages.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

It is recommended to research software and download it from official/verified channels. Untrustworthy sources, e.g., unofficial and freeware sites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, etc. - often offer bundled/harmful content.

When downloading/installing, it is advised to read terms, study possible options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings, and opt-out from all additions. It is just as important to exercise caution when browsing. Intrusive ads appear innocuous, yet they redirect to dubious websites (e.g., gambling, adult-dating, pornography, etc.).

In case of encounters with such adverts and/or redirects, the system must be inspected and all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins detected - immediately removed from it. 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_Protection_Alert" scam:

Windows_Firewall_Protection_Alert !
Microsoft
Pornographic_Spyware Alert - Error Code: #0x268d3(00x7)
Access to this PC has been blocked for security reasons.
Contact Microsoft Support: +1-888-489-8832

 

Threat_Detected - Pornographic_Spyware
App: Ads.financetrack(1).exe
[Quick Support] [Go Back Safety]

The appearance of "Windows_Firewall_Protection_Alert" pop-up scam (GIF):

Appearance of Windows_Firewall_Protection_Alert scam

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:
▼ DOWNLOAD Combo Cleaner By downloading any software listed on this website you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Combo Cleaner. 7 days free trial available. Combo Cleaner is owned and operated by Rcs Lt, the parent company of PCRisk.com read more.

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 windows_firewall_protection_alert 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 plugins 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 windows_firewall_protection_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, 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 windows_firewall_protection_alert 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.

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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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is a pop-up scam?

Pop-up scams are deceptive messages designed to trick users into performing specific actions (e.g., disclosing sensitive information, downloading files, installing fake or malicious software, making monetary transactions, etc.). "Windows_Firewall_Protection_Alert" is a technical support scam. Schemes of this type tend to involve: calling fraudulent helplines, allowing cyber criminals remote access to devices, installing dubious/malicious programs, disclosing private data (e.g., personally identifiable details, banking account log-in credentials, credit card numbers, etc.), purchasing illegitimate products (e.g., fake anti-viruses), paying bogus fees, and so on.

What is the purpose of a pop-up scam?

Pop-up scams are created to generate revenue for their designers. How this is achieved - differs. Scams like "Windows_Firewall_Protection_Alert" usually profit by tricking victims into making fake payments, selling disclosed information, and infecting devices with malware.

Why do I encounter fake pop-ups?

Pop-up scams are promoted on rogue websites. These sites are typically accessed inadvertently via mistyped URLs, or redirects caused by questionable pages or deceptive browser notifications/ intrusive advertisements. Scam websites can also be force-opened by harmful apps already installed onto the system.

I have allowed cyber criminals to remotely access my computer, what should I do?

If your device has been remotely accessed - disconnect it from the Internet, uninstall any remote access programs you've installed per scammer request (e.g., AnyDesk, TeamViewer, etc.), and perform a full system scan. If a system infection is detected - use an anti-virus to immediately remove the malware.

I have provided my personal information when tricked by a pop-up scam, what should I do?

If you have disclosed account credentials - change the passwords of all potentially exposed accounts and contact their official support without delay. If you have provided different personal information (e.g., ID card details, credit card numbers, etc.) - immediately contact the relevant authorities.

Will Combo Cleaner protect me from pop-up scams and the malware they proliferate?

Combo Cleaner can scan visited sites detect deceptive/scam and malicious ones. Additionally, it can block all further access to such websites. Combo Cleaner is also capable of scanning devices and eliminating nearly all known malware infections. Note that performing a full system scan is crucial, as sophisticated malicious software tends to hide deep within the system.

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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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