Do not trust "Surfshark - Your PC Is Infected With 5 Viruses!" scam websites
Written by Tomas Meskauskas on (updated)
What is "Surfshark - Your PC Is Infected With 5 Viruses!"?
While inspecting rogue webpages, our researchers discovered the "Surfshark - Your PC Is Infected With 5 Viruses!" scam. It states that Surfshark has detected viruses on users' devices. It must be emphasized that all these claims are fake, and this scam is in no way associated with the actual Surfshark VPN (Virtual Private Network) service.
"Surfshark - Your PC Is Infected With 5 Viruses!" scam overview
When we encountered the "Surfshark - Your PC Is Infected With 5 Viruses!" scam, we found that it shares similarities with "You've visited illegal infected website", "McAfee - Your PC is infected with 5 viruses!", "Norton Security - Your PC is infected with 5 viruses!", and countless other scams.
This scheme consists of a fake program interface - which is used across the aforementioned scams - is actually based on one belonging to a version of the Norton anti-virus.
This "Surfshark" scam performs a "system scan" that "detects" nonexistent threats. It claims that the computer is infected with five viruses, which threaten the security of users' personal data, banking details, and other sensitive information. The scheme urges to start the "Surfshark Antivirus" to eliminate the imaginary threats.
As mentioned in the introduction, all these claims are false, and this deceptive content is not associated with the real Surfshark VPN. Furthermore, it must be stressed that no website can find threats/issues on visitors' devices - hence, any that claim such are scams.
Typically, this scam model is used to promote untrustworthy and harmful software, e.g., fake anti-virus tools, adware, browser hijackers, and various PUAs (Potentially Unwanted Applications). We have even noted instances of this model being employed to spread trojans, ransomware, cryptocurrency miners, and other malware.
It is noteworthy that cyber criminals may use scams of this kind to obtain illegitimate commissions for the promotion of genuine products. Even if that is the case, i.e., scheme redirects to the official website of a legitimate application/service - there are no guarantees that it will continue to be the case.
What is more, fraudulent sites can closely mimic the design of genuine ones. Therefore, we strongly advise downloading only from official and verified sources.
It is pertinent to mention that webpages that promote scams often push browser notification spam, which endorses likewise harmful content.
To summarize, by trusting scams like "Surfshark - Your PC Is Infected With 5 Viruses!" - users can experience system infections, severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.
|Name||"Surfshark - Your PC Is Infected With 5 Viruses!" pop-up|
|Threat Type||Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud|
|Fake Claim||Visitor's device is infected with five viruses.|
|Detection Names (stronger-protection[.]com)||Netcraft (Malicious), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)|
|Serving IP Address (stronger-protection[.]com)||18.104.22.168|
|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
The Internet is rife with deceptive and malicious content. We have analyzed thousands of scams promoted on the Web; "Avira - Your System Was Corrupted", "Norton Security - Your PC Might Be Infected With Viruses!", "Windows Firewall Has Detected That Your Windows Is Damaged And Irrelevant", and "Your Browsing History Will Be Posted On Facebook" are just a few examples of ones thematically similar to "Surfshark - Your PC Is Infected With 5 Viruses!".
Scams can make a wide variety of claims and use different disguises. However, their sole goal is to generate revenue at victims' expense. Hence, we highly recommend being vigilant when browsing.
How did I open a scam website?
Scam websites are rarely accessed intentionally. They are often entered via redirects caused by pages that use rogue advertising networks, either immediately upon access or when hosted content is clicked (e.g., buttons, text input fields, links, etc.). Spam browser notifications and intrusive ads promote online scams as well.
Misspelling a website's URL can also result in a redirect (or a redirection chain leading) to a deceptive site. Adware promotes this content by displaying misleading adverts or by force-opening scam webpages.
How to avoid visiting scam websites?
Deceptive websites are most commonly accessed via redirects caused by webpages using rogue advertising networks, mistyped URLs, spam browser notifications, intrusive ads, or installed adware.
Therefore, we advise against using sites that offer pirated content or other suspect services (e.g., Torrenting, illegal streaming/downloading, etc.) - since they are typically monetized through rogue advertising networks. It is essential to pay attention to URLs and type them with care.
To avoid receiving undesirable notifications, do not permit questionable pages to deliver them (i.e., do not click "Allow", "Allow Notifications", etc.). Instead, ignore or deny notification delivery requests (i.e., select "Block", "Block Notifications", etc.).
To prevent unreliable/harmful content from infiltrating the device, we recommend downloading only from official/verified channels and approaching installation with caution (e.g., by reading terms, using the "Custom/Advanced" settings, and opting-out of all additions).
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 "Surfshark - Your PC Is Infected With 5 Viruses!" pop-up:
Your PC is infected with 5 viruses!
Your PC is infected by (5) viruses, that can damage your system
Your personal data , banking information and other sensitive info is at risk!
Please, start your Surfshark Antivirus to eliminate all threats.
Scan ID: 165b64ec871a986b29
The appearance of "Surfshark - Your PC Is Infected With 5 Viruses!" 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 "Surfshark - Your PC Is Infected With 5 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?
Essentially, pop-up scams are messages intended to trick users into performing specific actions. Victims can be enticed/scared into calling fake support lines, revealing private data, making monetary transactions, downloading/installing software, purchasing products/services, etc.
What is the purpose of a pop-up scam?
Pop-up scams are used to generate revenue. The scammers can profit by abusing or selling sensitive information, promoting software/products/services, obtaining funds through deception, proliferating malware, and so on.
Why do I encounter fake pop-ups?
Pop-up scams are run on rogue webpages, which are usually accessed inadvertently. Most users enter them via redirects caused by pages using rogue advertising networks, misspelled URLs, spam browser notifications, intrusive ads, or installed adware.
Will Combo Cleaner protect me from pop-up scams?
Combo Cleaner is designed to scan every single website you visit, and it can detect malicious ones (including those that promote scams). Hence, should you enter such a page - you will be warned immediately, and further access to it will be blocked.
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