Avoid getting scammed by sites displaying "Pornography Warning Error"
Written by Tomas Meskauskas on (updated)
What is the "Pornography Warning Error" scam?
"Pornography Warning Error" is a technical support scam. It has been observed being promoted via the Amazon AWS service. Scams of this type are elaborate and start by presenting users with fake alerts designed to trick them into calling bogus helplines, which can then lead to monetary losses, malware infections, and other severe issues.
Sites that promote such schemes are typically 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 (Potentially Unwanted Applications).
"Pornography Warning Error" overview
When a website running the "Pornography Warning Error" scam is accessed, it displays multiple pop-up windows. The entire scheme is disguised as a virus alert from Microsoft. It claims that users' devices have been blocked due to malware infections. The scam then urges users to call the provided helpline.
Tech support scammers aim to gain remote access to victims' devices (typically under the guise of qualified technicians, support, etc.). These cyber criminals can spin wild tales about threats present on users' machines and request exorbitant fees for their "services".
Scammers can also damage the device by uninstalling legitimate security tools, installing or forcing victims to purchase fake anti-viruses, and they can even infiltrate malware (e.g., trojans, ransomware, etc.) into accessed systems.
Criminals also target sensitive data, e.g., personally identifiable information, usernames/passwords of various accounts, banking details, credit card numbers, etc. Victims can be tricked into disclosing this data, typing it out (while the scammers claim an inability to see it), entering it into phishing websites/files, or the information can be acquired through data-stealing malware.
Any payment that the cyber criminals request can be difficult/impossible to trace. For example, due to them being made in digital currencies (e.g., cryptocurrencies, gift cards, pre-paid vouchers, etc.) or in cash that is hidden in packages and shipped. Furthermore, successfully scammed victims are often targeted continuously.
In summary, trusting technical support scams can lead to system infections, serious privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.
Should it be impossible to close a scam page, the Windows Task Manager must be used to end the browser's process. When the browser is opened again, the previous browsing session must not be restored - otherwise, the deceptive website will be reopened as well.
|Name||Pornography Warning Error pop-up|
|Threat Type||Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud|
|Fake Claim||Scam claims users' devices are infected and have been blocked as a result.|
|Disguise||Scam is disguised as an error/virus alert from Microsoft.|
|Tech Support Scammer Phone Number||+1 929 390 7557, 0800-724-3119|
|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.
Technical support scam examples
"Child Pornography Access Detected", "Firewall Error: #ST43400X", "Critical Framework Error", "Pornographic Spyware Alert", and "Microsoft Windows Virus Alert" are some examples of tech support scams.
The Internet is rife with various schemes, and they use different models (e.g., virus warnings, outdated/missing software alerts, lotteries, raffles, giveaways, etc.).
As mentioned in the introduction, deceptive websites are usually accessed unintentionally through mistyped URLs, redirects caused by rogue webpages or deceptive ads/ browser notifications. PUAs (Potentially Unwanted Applications) installed onto a system can manipulate browsers into force-opening untrustworthy and malicious sites.
How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?
PUAs can have "official" download pages. Intrusive advertisements proliferate PUAs as well. Upon being clicked, the ads can execute scripts to make downloads/installations without user permission.
These applications are most commonly downloaded/installed together with other software. This false marketing technique of packing regular programs with unwanted/malicious additions - is called "bundling". Rushed downloads/installations increase the risk of allowing bundled content into the device.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?
It is highly recommended to research software and download from official and verified sources. Untrustworthy download channels, e.g., unofficial and freeware websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, and other third-party downloaders - often offer bundled content.
When downloading/installing, it is advised to read terms, study possible options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings, and opt-out of all supplements. Intrusive adverts look innocuous yet redirect to unreliable/questionable sites (e.g., gambling, pornography, adult-dating, etc.).
If such ads/redirects are encountered, the system must be checked 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 the "Pornography Warning Error" scam's pop-up window:
Pornography-warning- error-code: # 0x268d3(x8)
Access to this PC has been blocked for Security reason.
Now You have to contact Windows-Support: +1 929 390 7557
Threat Detected - Pornography Spyware
[Hotline] [Back To Safety]
The appearance of "Pornography Warning Error" pop-up scam (GIF):
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 Pornography Warning Error 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 messages designed to entice/scare users into performing specific actions (e.g., allowing cyber criminals remote access to their devices, disclosing private data, making bogus payments, installing dubious/malicious software, etc.).
What is the purpose of a pop-up scam?
The end-goal of all scams is to generate revenue at victims' expense. Scammers can achieve this by obtaining money through deception, selling or abusing sensitive information, promoting various (likely unreliable/harmful) applications, proliferating malware, and so on.
Why do I encounter fake pop-ups?
Pop-up scams are run on rogue websites that are seldom entered intentionally. Most visitors to such sites access them via mistyped URLs or redirects caused by webpages using rogue advertising networks, deceptive browser notifications/ intrusive advertisements, or untrustworthy software installed onto their systems.
I have allowed cyber criminals to remotely access my computer, what should I do?
First, you have to disconnect your device from the Internet. Afterwards, uninstall the remote access software the cyber criminals used. Lastly, you have to scan the system with an anti-virus program and if threats are detected - immediately remove them.
I have provided my personal information when tricked by a pop-up scam, what should I do?
If you've disclosed account credentials - change the passwords of all potentially compromised accounts and contact their official support. And if the provided information is of a different personal nature (e.g., ID card details, credit card numbers, etc.) - contact the relevant authorities without delay.
Will Combo Cleaner protect me from pop-up scams and the malware they proliferate?
Combo Cleaner is capable of scanning visited websites and detecting scam and malicious ones. Furthermore, it can block access to such websites. Combo Cleaner can also scan devices and eliminate most of the known malware infections. It must be emphasized that performing a complete system scan is crucial since high-end malicious software typically hides deep within systems.
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