What is "McAfee Total Protection has expired"?
While inspecting sites that use rogue advertising networks, our research team encountered a webpage promoting the "McAfee Total Protection has expired" scam. We have found two variants of this scheme, which claim that the visitor's McAfee anti-virus subscription has expired and urge them to renew it.
"McAfee Total Protection has expired" scam overview
The two "McAfee Total Protection has expired" versions that we analyzed are nearly identical text-wise, but their graphical designs differ.
While at the time of research, these webpages redirected to the official McAfee website, that might not be the case in the future. Furthermore, this promotion is not associated with the actual McAfee Corp. These deceptive endorsements are employed by scammers who abuse the affiliate programs of genuine products to acquire illegitimate commissions.
Both variants state that the McAfee anti-virus has expired, and this proclamation would be made regardless of whether the visitor has ever had this security software.
The statement that devices become susceptible to various threats without active anti-virus software installed - is true. However, that does not negate the use of deception and questionable tactics throughout these messages.
These scams also offer discounts; one promises 70% off for a 1-year subscription, while the other - 50% for an unspecified length of time. It is doubtful whether any discount is available; this is likely merely a technique to entice users. What is more, both versions contain countdown clocks (a staple of scams) to increase the sense of urgency and push users into making hasty decisions.
As previously mentioned, when we inspected "McAfee Total Protection has expired" it did lead us to McAfee's genuine website. However, scams of this type usually push fake anti-viruses, adware, browser hijackers, and various PUAs (in rare cases, even trojans, ransomware, and other malware). There are no guarantees that "McAfee Total Protection has expired" will not be used to promote harmful/malicious software.
To summarize, through scams claiming that the device is infected or at risk, users can experience system infections, severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.
|Name||McAfee Total Protection has expired pop-up|
|Threat Type||Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud|
|Fake Claim||McAfee anti-virus subscription has expired.|
|Related Domains||lowbench[.]info, webredirector[.]store, totalavprotector[.]shop, worktimemc1[.]club, wasabisys[.]com, cartus[.]click, solidprotectionspc[.]com, worktimemc2[.]club, dollardefendor[.]store, bluepoolmc1[.]club, bluepoolmc2[.]club, survey-today[.]xyz, pattogrente[.]com, mightysecure[.]store, limitedpromomc1[.]club, limitedpromomc2[.]club, startcompletelyswiftthefile[.]vip, pandabears[.]store, photocopymc1[.]club, photocopymc2[.]club, integratedprotectionsystems[.]store, kenus[.]info, torpedeu[.]site, lowenergybattery[.]shop. slantedblockguard[.]store, kxcdn[.]com, flunk[.]site|
|Detection Names (lowbench[.]info)
|Serving IP Address (lowbench[.]info)
|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
We have analyzed thousands of online scams; "Your Antivirus Has Expired", "Windows Firewall Protection - Your PC is infected with 5 viruses!", and "McAfee Total Protection - Your PC might be infected with viruses!" are just a few examples of those similar to "McAfee Total Protection has expired".
It is far more common for scams to use the names of legitimate products, companies, organizations, and similar - for nefarious purposes rather than to endorse genuine content.
The Internet is rife with misleading, deceptive, and malicious material. Therefore, we highly recommend exercising caution when browsing.
How did I open a scam website?
Websites that run scams are rarely accessed intentionally. They can be force-opened when a site that uses rogue advertising networks is accessed or when users click on content (e.g., buttons, links, ads, etc.) hosted on such pages. Spam browser notifications and intrusive advertisements are known to promote scams as well.
Adware can cause browsers to randomly open deceptive sites or display adverts that endorse them. Misspelling a website's address (URL) can also result in a redirect (or redirection chain) landing on a scam webpage.
How to avoid visiting scam websites?
Deceptive sites are primarily entered via pages using rogue advertising networks, browser notification spam, intrusive ads, mistyped URLs, and installed adware.
Therefore, we advise against using websites that offer pirated content or other suspect services (e.g., Torrenting, illegal streaming and downloading, etc.) since they typically use rogue advertising networks.
To avoid receiving unwanted browser notifications, do not click "Allow", "Allow Notifications", or similar options presented by suspicious webpages. Instead, ignore or deny notification delivery requests (i.e., select "Block", "Block Notifications", etc.). Additionally, be careful when typing URLs.
We also recommend downloading only from official/verified sources and treating installation processes with caution (e.g., read terms, use "Custom/Advanced" settings, opt-out of all additions, etc.).
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 the "McAfee Total Protection has expired" scam:
Your computer is not protected!
Your subscription of McAfee Total Protection has expired on April 4, 2022.
After the expiry date has passed your computer will become susceptible to many different virus threats.
Your PC is unprotected and exposed to viruses and other malwares.
You are eligible for discount: 50% OFF
Offer will expire in: 2 mins 09 secs
The appearance of "McAfee Total Protection has expired" pop-up scam (GIF):
Screenshot of "McAfee Total Protection has expired" scam's alternative version:
Text presented in this variant:
YOU MCAFEE SUBSCRIPTION HAS EXPIRED!
Your McAfee® Total Protection subscription has expired on April 1, 2022.
After this date your computer will become susceptible to viruses and malware.
You are eligible for discount: up to 70% 1yr. renewal discount
Offer will expire in: 2 mins 48 secs
Yet another example of "McAfee Total Protection Has Expired" pop-up scam:
Text presented within:
Your McAfee subscription has expired
Your subscription of McAfee Total Protection for Windows has expired on April 7, 2022 .
After the expiry date has passed a virus may infect your computer, malicious malware might be installed, or your identity may be stolen.
Your PC is unprotected, it is exposed to viruses and other malware ...
Discount (April 11, 2022):
You are eligible for UP TO 70% OFF
Yet another example of "McAfee Total Protection Has Expired" pop-up scam:
Another example of "McAfee Total Protection Has Expired" pop-up scam:
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. 4 mins 21 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 Total Protection has expired 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 trick users into performing specific actions, e.g., downloading/installing software, revealing private information, making monetary transactions, calling fake support lines, etc.
What is the purpose of a pop-up scam?
The purpose of nearly all scams is to generate revenue at victims' expense. Scammers can profit by receiving commission for software promotion, obtaining funds through deception (e.g., fake fees, purchases, etc.), abusing or selling personal data, distributing malware, and so forth.
Why do I encounter fake pop-ups?
Pop-up scams are promoted on deceptive webpages, which most access inadvertently. Users primarily enter these pages via redirects caused by mistyped URLs, websites using rogue advertising networks, spam browser notifications, intrusive advertisements, or installed adware.
Will Combo Cleaner protect me from pop-up scams?
Combo Cleaner is capable of scanning visited websites and alerting you if they are detected as rogue, deceptive, or malicious. Additionally, Combo Cleaner can restrict all further access to such sites.