Avoid getting scammed by sites displaying fake McAfee virus alerts

Also Known As: McAfee - Your PC is infected with 5 viruses! pop-up
Damage level: Medium

What is "McAfee - Your PC is infected with 5 viruses!"?

"McAfee - Your PC is infected with 5 viruses!" is an online scam. It claims that users' devices have been infected due to an outdated McAfee subscription. Usually, the goal of such scams is to trick them into installing or purchasing unreliable, nonoperational, harmful, or even malicious software.

It must be emphasized that this scheme is not associated with the McAfee anti-virus or McAfee Corp. Deceptive sites are typically entered inadvertently; most users access them via mistyped URLs or redirects caused by rogue webpages, intrusive ads, or installed PUAs (Potentially Unwanted Applications).

McAfee - Your PC is infected with 5 viruses! scam

"McAfee - Your PC is infected with 5 viruses!" scam overview

The scam claims that users' devices are infected with five viruses. This false warning urges them to renew their McAfee subscription to remove the malware and protect the systems from further infections. It has to be stressed that all these claims are untrue and only intended to lure victims into paying for bogus subscriptions or installing untrustworthy applications.

Scams like "McAfee - Your PC is infected with 5 viruses!" typically aim to push users into downloading/installing or purchasing fake anti-virus tools, adware, browser hijackers, or other PUAs. Despite their legitimate appearance, these apps seldom work as advertised. Instead, PUAs can force-open webpages, run intrusive ad campaigns, modify browsers, and collect private data.

Since the scheme in question mentions subscription, it could try to make victims pay for fake services. In addition to experiencing direct monetary loss, users can inadvertently expose their personally identifiable information and financial data (e.g., credit card details, etc.).

It is noteworthy that in rare cases, scams of this kind have been observed proliferating malware (e.g., ransomware, trojans, cryptominers, etc.).

To summarize, trusting "McAfee - Your PC is infected with 5 viruses!" can result in system infections, severe privacy issues, financial losses, and identity theft.

Threat Summary:
Name McAfee - Your PC is infected with 5 viruses! pop-up
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Scam claims that five viruses have infiltrated users' devices, and urge them to renew their McAfee subscriptions.
Disguise Scam is disguised as a virus alert from McAfee.
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Detection Names (webprotectionprogram[.]com) N/A (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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Online scams in general

"Important Defender update available", "Pornographics Security Warning", "Microsoft Windows Virus Alert", and "Windows_Firewall_Protection_Alert" are some examples fake virus warnings displayed by rogue websites.

The Internet is rife with such deceptive content. Common scam models are fake virus and error warnings, outdated/missing software alerts, as well as hoax lotteries, prize raffles, and cryptocurrency giveaways. Regardless of what these scams promise, their sole purpose is to profit at user expense.

How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?

PUAs are spread using the "bundling" technique - packing regular programs with unwanted/malicious supplements. By rushing through download/installation processes - users risk allowing bundled content into their devices. Furthermore, once clicked on, intrusive adverts can execute scripts to download/install PUAs stealthily. Some of these have "official" download pages as well.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

It is advised to research software and download only from official/verified sources. Untrustworthy download channels, e.g., unofficial and free file-hosting sites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, etc. - commonly offer bundled programs/media.

When downloading/installing, it is important to read terms, study options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings, and opt-out from all supplements. It is crucial to exercise caution when browsing to avoid online scams and other dubious content. Intrusive ads look genuine yet redirect to highly questionable websites (e.g., gambling, adult-dating, pornography, etc.).

Should users encounter such advertisements and/or redirects, they must inspect their devices and immediately remove all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins detected. 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 "McAfee - Your PC is infected with 5 viruses!" pop-up:



Your PC is infected with 5 viruses!




Your McAfee Subscription Has Expired!


Renew now to keep your pc protected.


If your PC is unprotected, it is at risk for viruses and other malware.



The appearance of "McAfee - Your PC is infected with 5 viruses!" pop-up scam (GIF):

Appearance of McAfee - Your PC is infected with 5 viruses! scam

Another variant of "McAfee - Your PC is infected with 5 viruses!" pop-up scam:

McAfee - Your PC is infected with 5 viruses! pop-up scam (2021-12-15)

Text presented within:

McAfee® Total Protection

Your PC is infected with 5 viruses!

Scan results: TROJAN Zeus2021, spyware, adware detected.

- TROJAN found on this PC will most likely copy and delete all data from hard drives.

- Spyware will attempt to collect logins, passwords and banking details.

- Adware usually replaces search results with false and scammy websites.

It is highly recommended to use an antivirus immediately!


Unprotected PCs are 93% more vulnerable to suffer malware.

Yet another example of "McAfee - Your PC is infected with 5 viruses!" pop-up scam:

McAfee - Your PC is infected with 5 viruses! pop-up scam (2021-12-16)

Text presented within:

McAfee® Total Protection

Your PC is infected with 5 viruses!


Your McAfee subscription has expired!

Renew now to keep your PC protected.

Viruses found on this PC most likely track internet activity to collect banking details and login credentials. Unprotected PCs are 93% more vulnerable to suffer from malware.


Yet another example of this pop-up scam:

McAfee - Your PC is infected with 5 viruses! pop-up scam (2022-01-12)

Text presented within:


Your PC is infected with 5 viruses!


Your McAfee Subscription Has Expired!

Renew now to keep your pc protected.

If your PC is unprotected, it is at risk for viruses and other malware.


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:

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.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is a pop-up scam?

Pop-up scams are messages designed to trick users into performing various actions, e.g., downloading/installing or purchasing (likely unreliable or malicious) software, disclosing private information, making monetary transactions, calling fake helplines, etc.

What is the purpose of a pop-up scam?

Pop-up scams are designed to generate revenue for their creators. Cyber criminals can profit through funds received via trickery/ illegal activities or by selling sensitive data, promoting questionable applications, spreading malware, and so on.

Why do I encounter fake pop-ups?

Pop-up scams are promoted on rogue sites, which are seldom accessed intentionally. Visitors may enter them via mistyped URLs or redirects caused by browser notifications/ intrusive ads, other suspect webpages, or harmful software installed onto their devices.

Will Combo Cleaner protect me from pop-up scams?

Combo Cleaner can scan visited websites and detect rogue/malicious ones (including those endorsing pop-up scams). Should a site be suspicious - you will be warned immediately. Additionally, Combo Cleaner will restrict further access to such websites.

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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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