How to recognize scams stating that a computer is infected with viruses
Written by Tomas Meskauskas on (updated)
What is Avira Free Security - Your PC is infected with 5 viruses! pop-up scam?
It is a deceptive virus notification displayed by an untrustworthy website. The purpose of this page is to trick users into believing that their computers are infected and installing Avira antivirus (legitimate security software). Scammers (affiliates) behind it seek to collect illegitimate commissions.
Avira Free Security - Your PC is infected with 5 viruses! pop-up scam in detail
A fake virus notification displayed by this deceptive website claims that a computer is infected with five viruses, and the Avira antivirus subscription has expired. According to it, those viruses most likely track browsing activity and collect banking details, login credentials. Scammers monetize such scams by collecting commissions from purchased subscriptions.
|Name||Avira Free Security - Your PC is infected with 5 viruses! pop-up|
|Threat Type||Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud|
|Fake Claim||A computer is infected with five viruses/Avira subscription has expired|
|Disguise||Legitimate notification from Avira|
|Related Domain||www-safety[.]com, m-afee[.]com, threatdetect[.]org, solderz[.]xyz, odeka[.]online|
|Detection Names (www-safety[.]com)||Avira (Phishing), CRDF (Malicious), Emsisoft (Phishing), Forcepoint ThreatSeeker (Malicious), Netcraft (Malicious), 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.
More about pop-up scams
Most scams of this type use scare tactics to promote legitimate or untrustworthy software, extract sensitive information, obtain remote access to a computer. They claim that a device is damaged, infected and encourage users to solve it as soon as possible. Also, these pages usually are disguised as legitimate websites.
More examples of similar scams are "Child Pornography Access Detected", "You've Visited Illegal Infected Website", "Norton Security - Your Pc Is Infected With 5 Viruses!". Typically, they are promoted through shady websites. In some cases, they are promoted using potentially unwanted applications (PUAs), for example, adware.
How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?
Typically, users install PUAs through installers for other programs, fake installers, shady advertisements. PUAs get installed together with other programs when users leave "Custom", "Advanced", "Manual", or other settings available installers unchanged.
Advertisements cause unwanted downloads or installations when designed to execute certain scripts. Fake installers used to distribute PUAs are promoted mainly on deceptive pages.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?
Do not forget to check downloaders and installers with ticked checkboxes or settings like "Custom", "Advanced" for optional downloads or installations and deselect them. It should be done before downloading and installing software. Also, do not use questionable sources to download programs and files. Use official websites and direct links.
One more way to avoid unexpected downloads, installations is not to click on advertisements that shady pages have on them. If your computer is already infected with PUAs, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate them.
The appearance of "Avira Free Security - Your PC is infected with 5 viruses!" pop-up scam (GIF):
Text in a fake notification:
Avira Free Security
Your PC is infected with 5 viruses!
IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUIRED!
Your Avira Free Security 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.
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:
- What is Avira Free Security - Your PC is infected with 5 viruses! pop-up?
- How to identify a pop-up scam?
- How do pop-up scams work?
- How to remove fake pop-ups?
- How to prevent fake pop-ups?
- What to do if you fell for a pop-up scam?
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:
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?
A pop-up scam is a fake virus (or another) notification used to trick users into performing certain actions (for example, paying money for software/services, calling the provided number, installing software).
What is the purpose of a pop-up scam?
Usually, scammers use such scams to trick users into installing malware (or other unwanted software), providing personal information, providing remote access to computers.
Why do I encounter fake pop-ups?
These fake notifications usually appear on malicious websites that users open unintentionally. One of the most popular ways to promote pages displaying pop-up scams is to use pages using questionable advertising networks.
Will Combo Cleaner protect me from pop-up scams?
Combo Cleaner can scan every website and detect whether it is malicious. Pages delivering pop-up scams also fall under this category. Therefore, Combo Cleaner will warn about malicious pages and restrict access to them.
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