Avoid getting scammed by "Your Windows 10 is infected with viruses" websites
Written by Tomas Meskauskas on (updated)
What is the "Your Windows 10 is infected with viruses" pop-up?
During a routine inspection of rogue websites, our researchers discovered the masterofkeeps[.]xyz website, which in turn resulted in us learning of the "Your Windows 10 is infected with viruses" scam. This scheme makes false claims about visitors' devices being infected in order to gain and subsequently abuse users' trust. Typically, such scams are used to endorse untrustworthy/harmful software and/or obtain funds through fraud.
It must be emphasized that while "Your Windows 10 is infected with viruses" employs the names of genuine products/companies, it is in no way associated with either the Microsoft Corporation or McAfee Corp.
"Your Windows 10 is infected with viruses" scam overview
Deceptive content is promoted on various rogue sites. We encountered "Your Windows 10 is infected with viruses" on the masterofkeeps[.]xyz website, yet it is likely hosted by countless others.
This scam consists of multiple pop-up windows. The top-most pop-up graphically mimics Windows 10 system messages. It states that the device has been damaged by "viruses and other malicious applications". The user is encouraged to repair the damage, and it is evident that this process is to be initiated by pressing the "Renew License" button. This window also warns against closing the website.
The other pop-ups are disguised as the interface, system scan, and threat alerts displayed by the McAfee anti-virus. An interesting detail is that the fake interface mimics that of Norton anti-virus rather than McAfee.
As mentioned in the introduction, all of these claims are false. Furthermore, no site can detect threats present on a visitor's device; hence, any that claim such - are scams.
Most commonly, schemes of this kind are used to endorse fake anti-virus tools, browser hijackers, adware, and various PUAs (Potentially Unwanted Applications). This content can be presented as or bundled with a legitimate product (e.g., McAfee, Norton, etc.).
Sometimes, such scams can redirect to the official download webpages of genuine software - however, this promotion is done without the developers' approval. Scammers often use deceptive/questionable means to push content, thus abusing the affiliate programs to acquire illegitimate commissions.
Alternatively, these scams may request users to make payments, e.g., activate software, register an account, subscribe to a service, etc. Cyber criminals may ask victims to pay through payment gateways that operate as phishing websites or in difficult/impossible to trace methods (e.g., cash hidden in packages, cryptocurrencies, gift cards, etc.).
To summarize, by trusting the "Your Windows 10 is infected with viruses" scam, users can experience system infections, severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.
|Name||Your Windows 10 is infected with viruses pop-up|
|Threat Type||Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud|
|Fake Claim||Windows 10 is infected.|
|Disguise||Windows 10 system alert and McAfee anti-virus system scan and threat reports.|
|Related Domains||masterofkeeps[.]xyz, bikemolktwo[.]xyz, safepc[.]xyz, defender-scan[.]xyz, systemsecuritys[.]com, safemacpc[.]xyz, reserve-availability[.]cfd, situationalawareness[.]sbs, cleaningupdate[.]xyz, systemopc[.]xyz, defensivereaction[.]cfd, updatepcmc[.]xyz, severalsituations[.]click, cleantraf[.]xyz, q3rrassa[.]click, slinponga[.]xyz, estimatorone[.]xyz, gazpachuisthree[.]xyz, takeekatthree[.]xyz, dozefive[.]xyz, cimen[.]click, defendpcpro[.]xyz, carefully-to-remind[.]xyz, protection-availability[.]xyz, protect2023[.]xyz, erbi90s[.]click, safecaretech[.]online|
|Detection Names (masterofkeeps[.]xyz)
|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.
Similar scam examples
"Install the extension for Chrome to protect your privacy", "McAfee - Your PC might be vulnerable", and "Your McAfee Subscription Has Expired" are just a few examples of scams similar to "Your Windows 10 is infected with viruses". The Internet is rife with deceptive and malicious content. Due to how widespread scams are online, we strongly advise exercising caution when browsing.
How did I open a scam website?
Scams are often promoted by spam browser notifications and intrusive advertisements. Deceptive webpages can also be accessed through mistyped URLs. Sites that use rogue advertising networks commonly cause redirects to scam pages the moment they are entered or when buttons, links, ads, or other hosted content is clicked. Adware endorses online scams as well. This software can display adverts promoting such websites or force-open them.
How to avoid visiting scam websites?
We advise against visiting sites offering illegal or questionable services (e.g., Torrenting, pirated content streaming/viewing, etc.) since they typically use rogue advertising networks, which often push scams.
Spam browser notifications are also used to promote deceptive content. Therefore, do not press "Allow", "Allow Notifications", or similar options presented by questionable sites. Instead, we recommend ignoring or denying notification delivery requests (i.e., clicking "Block", "Block Notifications", etc.).
Furthermore, to avoid installing adware (which is known to endorse online scams), it is important to download only from official/verified channels. When installing, we advise reading terms, studying possible options, using the "Custom/Advanced" settings, and opting-out of all additions - to prevent allowing bundled adware into the system.
If your computer is already infected, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate all threats.
Text presented in "Your Windows 10 is infected with viruses" scam pop-up:
Your Windows 10 is infected with Viruses and other malicious applications. Viruses must be removed and system damage repaired.
It is necessary to run the Virus removal procedure immediately, please proceed.
**If you leave this site your computer will remain damaged and vulnerable**
Screenshot of "Your Windows 10 is infected with viruses" scam's background page:
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 Your Windows 10 is infected with 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?
Pop-up scams are essentially messages designed to trick users into performing specific actions, e.g., paying bogus fees, downloading files, purchasing (likely unreliable or harmful) software, disclosing private data, and so on.
What is the purpose of a pop-up scam?
Most scams have the sole goal of generating revenue at their victims' expense. Cyber criminals can profit by obtaining funds through deception, promoting software, abusing or selling sensitive information, proliferating malware, and so forth.
Why do I encounter fake pop-ups?
Pop-up scams are hosted by various rogue webpages, which are rarely entered intentionally. Most users enter them through mistyped URLs or redirects caused by spam browser notifications, intrusive ads, websites using rogue advertising networks, or installed advertising-supported software (adware).
Will Combo Cleaner protect me from pop-up scams?
Combo Cleaner can scan visited websites and detect rogue, deceptive, and malicious ones. Therefore, you will be immediately warned, and access to such sites will be restricted.
▼ Show Discussion