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Avoid getting scammed by sites claiming "Your Device Has Been Compromised"

Also Known As: Your Device Has Been Compromised pop-up
Damage level: Medium

What is the "Your Device Has Been Compromised" scam?

"Your Device Has Been Compromised" is an online scam targeting Android device users. This scheme makes false claims about malware infections to trick users into downloading/installing or purchasing (likely untrustworthy or harmful) software.

Typically, scams of this type promote fake anti-viruses, adware, browser hijackers, and other PUAs (Potentially Unwanted Applications). It is noteworthy that such deceptive websites often push their browser notifications as well.

Scam sites are primarily accessed via mistyped URLs or redirects caused by rogue webpages, browser notifications/ intrusive ads, or installed PUAs.

Your Device Has Been Compromised scam

"Your Device Has Been Compromised" scam overview

The scam claims that thirteen viruses have been detected on users' devices. The fake infections and malicious advertisements have supposedly caused 62% damage to the Google Chrome browser. The imaginary threats can also leak users' social media account credentials, message logs, photos, passwords, and other vulnerable data. The scheme instructs users to press "Allow error alerts" and install the recommended application.

It must be emphasized that no website can detect threats/issues present on visitors' systems; these fake statements are used for a variety of nefarious purposes.

Most scams like "Your Device Has Been Compromised" endorse untrustworthy software. For example, they can promote advertising-supported or browser-hijacking PUAs. Some unwanted apps may require payment to activate their nonexistent functionalities; fake anti-virus tools are a prime example. Furthermore, most PUAs collect private data and sell it to third-parties.

Additionally, schemes of this type frequently lure users into allowing their browser notifications, which enable the sites to run intrusive ad campaigns (removal steps can be found below). These advertisements promote dubious/malicious webpages, and some can stealthily download/install software (e.g., PUAs).

To summarize, by trusting the "Your Device Has Been Compromised" scam, users can experience system infections, severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.

Threat Summary:
Name Your Device Has Been Compromised pop-up
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Scam claims are users' Android devices have been infected with malware.
Disguise Scam is disguised as an alert from Google Security.
Distributed Unwanted Apps Various dubious applications
Related Domains push-defenders[.]com
Detection Names (push-defenders[.]com) N/A (VirusTotal)
Symptoms Fake error messages, fake system warnings, pop-up errors, hoax computer scan, slow device performance, system settings are modified without user's permission, questionable applications appear, data and battery usage is increased significantly, browsers redirect to questionable websites, intrusive advertisements are delivered.
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, decreased device performance, battery is drained quickly, decreased Internet speed, huge data losses, stolen identity (malicious apps might abuse communication apps).
Malware Removal (Android) To eliminate malware infections our security researchers recommend scanning your Android device with legitimate anti-malware software. We recommend Avast, Bitdefender, ESET or Malwarebytes.

Android-specific scam examples

"Cleaner Update", "Cleanup required right now!", and "Your chrome Device may be too old" are a few examples of similar Android-targeting scams. The Internet is rife with misleading, deceptive, and even malicious content. This means that there are thousands of dangerous websites on the Internet; therefore, it is highly recommended to exercise caution when browsing.

How did "Your Device Has Been Compromised" promoting software infiltrate my device?

Some PUAs can have "official" promotional/download pages. These applications are spread through intrusive ads as well. Once clicked on, the adverts can make downloads/installations without user consent. PUAs are also distributed using the "bundling" marketing technique - packing regular programs with unwanted/malicious additions. Rushed download/installation processes increase the risk of allowing bundled content into the system.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

It is strongly advised to research software and download it from official and trustworthy channels. Dubious sources, e.g., unofficial and free file-hosting sites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, etc. - often offer bundled and harmful content.

When downloading/installing, it is recommended to read terms, study possible options, and use the "Custom/Advanced" settings to opt-out of all additions. Intrusive adverts appear innocuous yet redirect to questionable websites (e.g., gambling, pornography, adult-dating, etc.).

In case of encounters with ads and/or redirects of this kind, the system must be checked and all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins detected - immediately removed.

Text presented in the "Your Device Has Been Compromised" scam:

Pop-up:

 

YOUR DEVICE HAS BEEN COMPROMISED!
Immediate Action is Required!


OK

 

------------

 

Background page:

 

Google Security
Wednesday
15 December 2021
WARNING! Your Chrome is severely damaged by 13 Malware!


We have detected that your Chrome is (62%) DAMAGED by Tor.Jack Malware. Malicious and Aggressive Ads have injected this on your device.
Immediate Action is required to Remove and Prevent it from spreading that will leak sensitive data from your device. It includes your Social Media Accounts, Messages, Images, Passwords, and Important Data.


Here is how you can solve this easily in just a few seconds.


Step 1: Click the button below, "Allow error alerts," then subscribe to recommended spam protection app on the next page.


Step 2: Run the powerful Google Play-approved application to clear your phone from SPAM ads and block potential Malware with a few taps.

 

Clean my Device

 

Detected By: Google

Appearance of the "Your Device Has Been Compromised" pop-up scam (GIF):

Your Device Has Been Compromised scam appearance (GIF)

Quick menu:

Delete browsing history from the Chrome web browser:

Deleting web browsing history from Chrome in Android operating system (step 1)

Tap the "Menu" button (three dots on the right-upper corner of the screen) and select "History" in the opened dropdown menu.

Deleting web browsing history from Chrome in Android operating system (step 2)

Tap "Clear browsing data", select "ADVANCED" tab, choose the time range and data types you want to delete and tap "Clear data".

[Back to Table of Contents]

Disable browser notifications in the Chrome web browser:

Disabling browser notifications in the Chrome browser in Android operating system (step 1)

Tap the "Menu" button (three dots on the right-upper corner of the screen) and select "Settings" in the opened dropdown menu.

Disabling browser notifications in the Chrome browser in Android operating system (step 2)

Scroll down until you see "Site settings" option and tap it. Scroll down until you see "Notifications" option and tap it.

Disabling browser notifications in the Chrome browser in Android operating system (step 3)

Find the websites that deliver browser notifications, tap on them and click "Clear & reset". This will remove permissions granted for these websites to deliver notifications. However, once you visit the same site again, it may ask for a permission again. You can choose whether to give these permissions or not (if you choose to decline the website will go to "Blocked" section and will no longer ask you for the permission).

[Back to Table of Contents]

Reset the Chrome web browser:

Resetting Chrome browser to default in Android operating system (step 1)

Go to "Settings", scroll down until you see "Apps" and tap it.

Resetting Chrome browser to default in Android operating system (step 2)

Scroll down until you find "Chrome" application, select it and tap "Storage" option.

Resetting Chrome browser to default in Android operating system (step 3)

Tap "MANAGE STORAGE", then "CLEAR ALL DATA" and confirm the action by taping "OK". Note that resetting the browser will eliminate all data stored within. This means that all saved logins/passwords, browsing history, non-default settings and other data will be deleted. You will also have to re-login into all websites as well.

[Back to Table of Contents]

Delete browsing history from the Firefox web browser:

Delete browsing history from the Firefox in the Android operating system (step 1)

Tap the "Menu" button (three dots on the right-upper corner of the screen) and select "History" in the opened dropdown menu.

Delete browsing history from the Firefox in the Android operating system (step 2)

Scroll down until you see "Clear private data" and tap it. Select data types you want to remove and tap "CLEAR DATA".

[Back to Table of Contents]

Disable browser notifications in the Firefox web browser:

Disable browser notifications in the Firefox web browser in the Android operating system (step 1)

Visit the website that is delivering browser notifications, tap the icon displayed on the left of URL bar (the icon will not necessarily be a "Lock") and select "Edit Site Settings".

Disable browser notifications in the Firefox web browser in the Android operating system (step 2)

In the opened pop-up opt-in the "Notifications" option and tap "CLEAR".

[Back to Table of Contents]

Reset the Firefox web browser:

Resetting Firefox browser in the Android operating system (step 1)

Go to "Settings", scroll down until you see "Apps" and tap it.

Resetting Firefox browser in the Android operating system (step 2)

Scroll down until you find "Firefox" application, select it and tap "Storage" option.

Resetting Firefox browser in the Android operating system (step 3)

Tap "CLEAR DATA" and confirm the action by taping "DELETE". Note that resetting the browser will eliminate all data stored within. This means that all saved logins/passwords, browsing history, non-default settings and other data will be deleted. You will also have to re-login into all websites as well.

[Back to Table of Contents]

Uninstall potentially unwanted and/or malicious applications:

Removing unwanted/malicious applications from the Android operating system (step 1)

Go to "Settings", scroll down until you see "Apps" and tap it.

Removing unwanted/malicious applications from the Android operating system (step 2)

Scroll down until you see a potentially unwanted and/or malicious application, select it and tap "Uninstall". If, for some reason, you are unable to remove the selected app (e.g., you are prompted with an error message), you should try using the "Safe Mode".

[Back to Table of Contents]

Boot the Android device in "Safe Mode":

The "Safe Mode" in Android operating system temporarily disables all third-party applications from running. Using this mode is a good way to diagnose and solve various issues (e.g., remove malicious applications that prevent users you from doing so when the device is running "normally").

Booting Android device in Safe Mode

Push the "Power" button and hold it until you see the "Power off" screen. Tap the "Power off" icon and hold it. After a few seconds the "Safe Mode" option will appear and you'll be able run it by restarting the device.

[Back to Table of Contents]

Check the battery usage of various applications:

Checking the battery usage of various applications in the Android operating system (step 1)

Go to "Settings", scroll down until you see "Device maintenance" and tap it.

Checking the battery usage of various applications in the Android operating system (step 2)

Tap "Battery" and check the usage of each application. Legitimate/genuine applications are designed to use as low energy as possible in order to provide the best user experience and to save power. Therefore, high battery usage may indicate that the application is malicious.

[Back to Table of Contents]

Check the data usage of various applications:

Checking data usage of various applications in the Android operating system (step 1)

Go to "Settings", scroll down until you see "Connections" and tap it.

Checking data usage of various applications in the Android operating system (step 2)

Scroll down until you see "Data usage" and select this option. As with battery, legitimate/genuine applications are designed to minimize data usage as much as possible. This means that huge data usage may indicate presence of malicious application. Note that some malicious applications might be designed to operate when the device is connected to wireless network only. For this reason, you should check both Mobile and Wi-Fi data usage.

Checking data usage of various applications in the Android operating system (step 3)

If you find an application that uses a lot of data even though you never use it, then we strongly advise you to uninstall it as soon as possible.

[Back to Table of Contents]

Install the latest software updates:

Keeping the software up-to-date is a good practice when it comes to device safety. The device manufacturers are continually releasing various security patches and Android updates in order to fix errors and bugs that can be abused by cyber criminals. An outdated system is way more vulnerable, which is why you should always be sure that your device's software is up-to-date.

Installing software updates in the Android operating system (step 1)

Go to "Settings", scroll down until you see "Software update" and tap it.

Installing software updates in the Android operating system (step 2)

Tap "Download updates manually" and check if there are any updates available. If so, install them immediately. We also recommend to enable the "Download updates automatically" option - it will enable the system to notify you once an update is released and/or install it automatically.

[Back to Table of Contents]

Reset the system to its default state:

Performing a "Factory Reset" is a good way to remove all unwanted applications, restore system's settings to default and clean the device in general. However, you must keep in mind that all data within the device will be deleted, including photos, video/audio files, phone numbers (stored within the device, not the SIM card), SMS messages, and so forth. In other words, the device will be restored to its primal state.

You can also restore the basic system settings and/or simply network settings as well.

Resetting the Android operating system to its default (step 1)

Go to "Settings", scroll down until you see "About phone" and tap it.

Resetting the Android operating system to its default (step 2)

Scroll down until you see "Reset" and tap it. Now choose the action you want to perform:
"Reset settings" - restore all system settings to default;
"Reset network settings" - restore all network-related settings to default;
"Factory data reset" - reset the entire system and completely delete all stored data;

[Back to Table of Contents]

Disable applications that have administrator privileges:

If a malicious application gets administrator-level privileges it can seriously damage the system. To keep the device as safe as possible you should always check what apps have such privileges and disable the ones that shouldn't.

Disabling Android applications that have administrator privileges (step 1)

Go to "Settings", scroll down until you see "Lock screen and security" and tap it.

Disabling Android applications that have administrator privileges (step 2)

Scroll down until you see "Other security settings", tap it and then tap "Device admin apps".

Disabling Android applications that have administrator privileges (step 3)

Identify applications that should not have administrator privileges, tap them and then tap "DEACTIVATE".

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is a pop-up scam?

Pop-up scams are messages designed to trick users into performing specific actions. For example, they can entice or scam victims into calling fake helplines, downloading files, installing unreliable or malicious software, making monetary transactions, disclosing private data, etc.

What is the purpose of a pop-up scam?

Pop-up scams usually aim to generate revenue at users' expense. Scanners can profit through deceptively obtained funds, abuse or sale of private information, software promotion, malware proliferation, and so on.

Why do I encounter fake pop-ups?

Pop-up scams are run on various deceptive websites. These sites are rarely accessed intentionally. Most users enter them via mistyped URLs or redirects caused by rogue pages, browser notifications/ intrusive ads, or installed harmful software.

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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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