How to spot pop-up scams like "Your version of Windows is out of date"

Also Known As: Your version of Windows is out of date scam
Damage level: Medium

What is "Your version of Windows is out of date"?

While investigating suspicious websites and their associated advertisements, we came across a site with a deceptive pop-up message falsely indicating that Windows operating system is outdated. These types of pages are often created with malicious intentions, aiming to extract personal information, solicit money, or promote potentially harmful software.

Your version of Windows is out of date scam

"Your version of Windows is out of date" in detail

The message states that the user's version of Windows is outdated and implies that browsing internet sites is unsafe. It further claims that the network connection will be lost if immediate action is not taken. The message urges the user to perform an urgent system update by clicking on the provided link ("Update Windows" button).

Another message on this site claims that a critical error has been found related to the license key for Ultra_VPN. It notifies the user that the Ultra_VPN license will expire in a specified amount of time and warns that the internet connection will be blocked for security reasons. The message then offers the user the option to renew a license key with an 80% discount.

This deceptive page redirects users to a legitimate page with an affiliate's ID in the URL. It appears that this pop-up scam is orchestrated by affiliates who intend to earn illegitimate commissions. It is worth noting that the app being promoted, UltraVPN, is a legitimate application but is not associated with this scam.

Another important detail about similar scams is that scammers behind them may try to lure unsuspecting visitors into providing remote access to their computers. In such cases, scammers may try to steal sensitive information and (or) money, infect computers with malware, or perform other malicious actions.

A couple of examples of scams used to trick users into installing remote administration tools are the UltraViewer scam and the TeamViewer scam.

Threat Summary:
Name Your version of Windows is out of date scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Your version of Windows is out of date
Disguise Legitimate notification from Windows
Related Domain kunpabillocy[.]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.
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Similar scams in general

These scams often utilize deceptive tactics to catch users' attention and create a sense of urgency or fear, such as displaying alarming messages about system errors, security threats, or expiring licenses. They typically attempt to trick users into taking immediate action, such as clicking on a link, downloading software, or providing personal information.

Pop-up scams frequently exploit popular brands, services, or software to appear more legitimate and gain the trust of unsuspecting users. They aim to deceive users for financial gain, either through direct payments or by redirecting users to affiliate links that generate commissions for scammers.

Examples of similar scams are "Your Account Is Successfully Debited", "Threats Detected:Stuxnet", and "Windows Key Code Is Not Valid And Seems Pirated".

How did I open a scam website

Users can come across scam pages through different avenues. A common approach involves encountering malicious advertisements or pop-ups that redirect users to fraudulent websites featuring scam messages. These ads and pop-ups can surface on legitimate websites or stem from adware installed on the user's device.

Another method involves receiving phishing emails containing links to counterfeit technical support or similar pages. These emails may disguise themselves as genuine sources, such as reputable tech companies or online retailers, and employ social engineering techniques to persuade users to click the provided links.

How to avoid visiting scam pages?

Exercise caution when interacting with unfamiliar links, downloads, and programs. Avoid clicking on pop-up ads, and use caution when closing them to avoid accidental clicks. Installing reliable antivirus software and keeping it up to date can also help detect and block malicious websites.

Disabling notification permissions for suspicious websites and removing any advertising-supported apps from your computer is also important. Be wary of unexpected emails that contain suspicious links or attachments. When downloading software, it is recommended to do so from official websites and trusted stores.

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 version of Windows is out of date" pop-up scam (GIF):

Appearance of Your version of Windows is out of date scam

Text in the first message:

Your version of Windows is out of date.
Browsing internet sites is not safe.
Network connection will be lost.
Urgent system update is required!
Update Windows
Click to update

Screenshot of the second message:

Your version of Windows is out of date pop-up scam second message

Text in this message:

Critical error found!
You need to update your license key for Ultra_VPN

Ultra_VPN license will be expired in: 00: 12: 14

License expiration date: 29.05.2023.

Due security reasons your internet connection will be blocked.

Would you like to renew your license key with 80% discount?

Instant automatic malware removal: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced IT 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?

A pop-up scam refers to a deceptive technique used by cybercriminals to trick users into taking certain actions.

What is the purpose of a pop-up scam?

The intention behind pop-up scams is to deceive and exploit users by either extracting personal information, promoting fraudulent products or services, or infecting their devices with malware.

Why do I encounter fake pop-ups?

Pop-up scams are typically distributed through malicious websites, although users usually do not intentionally visit these sites. Instead, they are often redirected to them by malicious applications or when visiting websites that utilize questionable advertising networks.

Will Combo Cleaner protect me from pop-up scams?

Combo Cleaner can perform scans on all the websites you visit, effectively detecting and identifying malicious ones. This includes websites that are designed to deliver pop-up scams. If such a site is detected, Combo Cleaner will promptly issue a warning and restrict access to protect you from potential harm.

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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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