What is "McAfee - Your PC might be vulnerable"?
"McAfee - Your PC might be vulnerable" is a scam run on various rogue sites. While it is used to endorse the genuine McAfee anti-virus software, this promotion is not created by McAfee Corp. (the developers of McAfee anti-virus) but affiliates seeking to obtain illegitimate commissions.
It is noteworthy that scammers often use the name of genuine content for nefarious purposes (e.g., to promote fake software, proliferate malware, etc.); therefore, it is crucial to always download directly from legitimate sources.
"McAfee - Your PC might be vulnerable" overview
Unlike most scams of this type, "McAfee - Your PC might be vulnerable" does not make any wild claims about users' devices being infected and/or having suffered serious damage. However, the lack of such deception does not make these pages trustworthy. While this scam does promote the real McAfee anti-virus - it is done merely to obtain illegitimate commissions from unsuspecting users.
It is noteworthy that no website can detect issues or threats present on visitors' devices; hence, any making such claims - are scams. Furthermore, schemes of this kind are commonly used to endorse fake anti-viruses, adware, browser hijackers, and other PUAs (Potentially Unwanted Applications). In some of these scams have been observed being used to spread malware (e.g., trojans, ransomware, etc.).
|Name||McAfee - Your PC might be vulnerable pop-up|
|Threat Type||Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud|
|Disguise||Scam page is disguised as the legitimate McAfee anti-virus website.|
|Related Domains||checkthesafety[.]com, romornath[.]com|
|Detection Names (checkthesafety[.]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.
Online scams in general
"Your McAfee Subscription Has Expired", "McAfee - Your PC is infected with 5 viruses!", "Avira Free Security - Your PC is infected with 5 viruses!", and "fake Microsoft Edge Update" are some examples of similarly themed scams. The Internet is rife with a wide variety of schemes, ranging from fake virus alerts to bogus cryptocurrency giveaways
Scam sites are usually accessed inadvertently. Most users enter them via mistyped URLs or redirects caused by webpages using rogue advertising networks, deceptive browser notifications/ intrusive advertisements, or installed PUAs.
How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?
PUAs can have "official" promotional/download sites. However, they are most often downloaded/installed together with other programs. This marketing technique of packing regular software with unwanted/malicious additions - is called "bundling".
Intrusive adverts are known to proliferate PUAs as well. When clicked, the ads can execute scripts to make stealthy downloads/installations.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?
It is recommended to research software and download it only from official/verified channels. Untrustworthy ones such as unofficial and freeware websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, or other third-party sources - commonly offer bundled and harmful content.
When downloading/installing, it is advised to read terms, explore available options, use the "Custom" or "Advanced" settings, and opt-out of all supplements. It is just as important to exercise caution when browsing. Intrusive advertisements look legitimate yet redirect to dubious sites (e.g., gambling, pornography, adult-dating, etc.).
If ads/redirects of this kind are encountered, the system must be inspected and all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins detected - removed without delay. 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 "McAfee - Your PC might be vulnerable" pop-up:
Your PC might be vulnerable to viruses and other threats!
McAfee Total Protection protects your family from viruses, spyware, malware, botnets and more.
If your computer isn't protected by McAfee's advanced threat prevention, you might be at risk.
Protect your computer and your family from ever-evolving threats targeting computers...
You are eligible for discount → 50% OFF
The appearance of "McAfee - Your PC might be vulnerable" pop-up scam (GIF):
An example of another similar scam - "Your McAfee Total Protection may be at risk of expiration!":
Text presented within:
Your McAfee Total Protection may be at risk of expiration!
Renew now to stay protected for your PC.
If your PC is Unprotected, it is at risk for viruses and other malware.
60% off Discount Available. 2 mins 32 secs
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 McAfee - Your PC might be vulnerable 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?
Pop-up scams are essentially misleading/deceptive messages intended to trick users into performing specific actions (e.g., downloading/installing content, disclosing information, transferring money, etc.).
What is the purpose of a pop-up scam?
The end-goal of all scams is to generate revenue. Pop-up schemes can achieve this by earning illegitimate commissions for content promotion (e.g., "McAfee - Your PC might be vulnerable"), abusing or selling private information, obtaining money through deception, proliferating malware, and so on.
Why do I encounter fake pop-ups?
Websites that promote pop-up scams are typically accessed inadvertently. Users can enter these sites through mistyped URLs or redirects caused by other untrustworthy webpages. Deceptive browser notifications and intrusive advertisements can lead to such websites as well. Additionally, browsers can force-open scam pages due to harmful software infiltrated into the system.
Will Combo Cleaner protect me from pop-up scams?
Combo Cleaner is capable of scanning visited websites and issuing alerts if they are detected as deceptive or malicious. Sites designed to run pop-up scams are included in these categories. Furthermore, Combo Cleaner can restrict access to such websites.