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How to spot scams like "Your Computer Might Be Infected With Critical Viruses"

Also Known As: Your Computer Might Be Infected With Critical Viruses scam
Damage level: Medium

What kind of scam is "Your Computer Might Be Infected With Critical Viruses"?

After analyzing the page, we concluded that it is a scam website operated by individuals who aim to collect illegitimate commissions from purchases made via their page. This page uses a scare tactic to trick visitors into purchasing antivirus software. It is highly advisable to ignore websites of this kind (even when they promote legitimate software).

Your Computer Might Be Infected With Critical Viruses scam

"Your Computer Might Be Infected With Critical Viruses" scam in detail

This page displays a fake safety warning claiming that you may have visited compromised websites and offering to scan a computer for threats. Clicking the "Start Quick Scan Now" button starts a fake system scanner which shows a list of fake detected threats. Then this page shows a fake message stating that your computer may be infected with "critical viruses".

The purpose of this page is to trick users into purchasing the McAfee McAfee Total Protection subscription. McAfee Total Protection is a legitimate software product owned by McAfee company. This company has nothing to do with pages using deceptive techniques to trick visitors into purchasing its products.

It is worth mentioning that this scam website can also redirect to other shady pages. One of them is allowtocontinue[.]com - a website designed to trick visitors into agreeing to receive notifications. Allowtocontinue[.]com uses a clickbait technique to trick visitors into clicking the "Allow" button. This and similar websites should never be allowed to display notifications.

Threat Summary:
Name Your Computer Might Be Infected With Critical Viruses scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim A computer may be infected
Disguise Legitimate McAfee website
Related Domain
privacy-optimize[.]com 
Detection Names 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.
▼ Download Combo Cleaner
To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Combo Cleaner. 7 days free trial available. Combo Cleaner is owned and operated by Rcs Lt, the parent company of PCRisk.com read more.

Online scams in general

Typically, websites like this one promote legitimate antivirus software products. Most of them display deceptive content (show fake alerts) to trick visitors into purchasing software subscriptions. It is very uncommon for such pages to be visited intentionally.

Examples of similar pages are "Keep Your PC Updated With Norton!", "Your Antivirus Has Expired", and "Your Antivirus Protection Has Expired".

How did I open a scam website

In most cases, websites running pop-up scams are opened via pages that use rogue advertising networks, shady advertisements, and notifications displayed by untrustworthy websites. In other cases, they are opened by installed adware or through links promoted using search engine poisoning techniques.

How to avoid visiting scam pages?

Do not allow shady websites to show notifications or click advertisements appearing on such pages. Download applications and files from legitimate sources (such as official pages and platforms). Do not install adware or other questionable software and remove already installed one.

Always check downloaders/installers for unwanted apps before downloading/installing programs (unwanted apps usually are mentioned in "Custom", "Advanced", or similar settings). If your computer is already infected with unwanted apps, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate them.

The appearance of "Your Computer Might Be Infected With Critical Viruses" pop-up scam (GIF):

Appearance of Your Computer Might Be Infected With Critical Viruses scam

Text in the initial pop-up window:

Safety warning!
You might recently browsed to comprimised websites that are may be infected with viruses.
You might recently browsed to comprimised websites with streaming and/or adult content.
Therefore, your computer might be under attack.
To delete potential viruses, you must run an antivirus scan immediately.
Start Quick Scan Now

Text in the second pop-up window:

Quick Scan Results
Your Computer might be infected with critical viruses!
Warning! Action might be required!
Your Computer might be infected with viruses, damaging your system.
Please start your McAfee Total Protection to eliminate potential threats.
Start McAfee Total Protection

Text in the third pop-up window:

McAfee Total Protection
Your system is being checked. Do not close this window!
Selecting infected areas and files...
Selected areas and files are quarantined...
Checking system permissions...
Checking system status...
Checking McAfee Subscription...

Text in the last pop-up window appearing on this page:

McAfee Total Protection
Warning! Your computer is not protected!
The following viruses, malwares and problems were found:
Win32/Rbot
Win32/Adware.SystemSecurity.AL
Win32/Sirefef.A
Win32/Spatet.A
HTML/Iframe.B.Gen
Identity Protection:
Disabled
McAfee WebAdvisor:
Your Antivirus Protection has expired on
May 13, 2022
Renew Now To Eliminate Viruses and Malwares From Your Computer
Warning: If your computer is unprotected, it is at a high risk for viruses and other malware.
55% Discount!
Is Available for: -
[Renew Now]

Another variant of "Your Computer Might Be Infected With Critical Viruses" pop-up scam:

Your Computer Might Be Infected With Critical Viruses POP-UP Scam (2022-05-31)

Text presented within:

Quick Scan Results

Your Computer might be infected with potential critical viruses!

Warning! Action required!

Your Computer is infected with (5) viruses, damaging your system.

Your personal data, banking information and other sensitive information is a risk!

Please start you McAfee Total Protection to eliminate all threats.

Start McAfee Tolal Protection

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:
▼ DOWNLOAD Combo Cleaner By downloading any software listed on this website you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Combo Cleaner. 7 days free trial available. Combo Cleaner is owned and operated by Rcs Lt, the parent company of PCRisk.com read more.

Quick menu:

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:

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?

It is a deceptive message (for example, a fake virus or error alert) designed to trick visitors into performing certain actions.

What is the purpose of a pop-up scam?

In most cases, these scams are used to extract sensitive information, collect illegitimate commissions, distribute malware, or obtain remote access to computers.

Why do I encounter fake pop-ups?

These pop-ups are displayed on shady websites. Those websites get opened via untrustworthy notifications (displayed by other shady pages), deceptive ads, websites that use rogue advertising networks, installed shady apps, etc.

Will Combo Cleaner protect me from pop-up scams?

Combo Cleaner will scan visited websites and detect untrustworthy ones (including websites running pop-up scams). It will warn you immediately and restrict access to those pages.

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About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

PCrisk security portal is brought by a company RCS LT. Joined forces of security researchers help educate computer users about the latest online security threats. More information about the company RCS LT.

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Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

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