“Microsoft Warning Alert” is a fake pop-up error message claiming that the computer is infected. This error is displayed by a malicious website that users visit inadvertently – they are redirected by potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) that infiltrate the system during installation of regular apps (“bundling” method). As well as causing redirects, PUPs deliver intrusive advertisements and continually record various user/system information.
This error message states that malicious content has been detected and, therefore, personal information (logins, passwords, banking details, etc.) is at risk. It is also stated that the malware must be eliminated immediately by contacting ‘certified technicians’ via the telephone number (“0-800-046-5729“) provided. Victims are then supposedly guided through the removal process. Be aware, however, that this error message is a scam. Criminals attempt to trick victims into calling and paying for services that are not required. Therefore, never attempt to call the aforementioned telephone number. You can remove this error simply by closing the web browser. Note that the malicious website displays a full screen pop-up when attempts are made to close the browser – this can only be closed via Windows Task Manager. PUPs employ a “virtual layer” to generate coupon, banner, pop-up, and other similar ads. “The virtual layer” enables placement of third party graphical content on any site. The displayed ads often conceal underlying content of visited websites. Furthermore, some lead to malicious websites. Therefore, clicking them can result in further computer infections. Another downside is information tracking – PUPs gather Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, Internet service providers (ISPs), geo-locations, URLs visited, pages viewed, search queries, mouse/keyboard activity, and other similar data that might be personally identifiable. This information is shared with third parties who misuse personal details to generate revenue. Thus, data tracking can result in serious privacy issues or even identity theft. All potentially unwanted programs must be uninstalled immediately.
“Microsoft Warning Alert” shares many similarities with Microsoft Has Detected A Porn Virus, Warning Internet Security Breached, Your Computer Has Been Infected With Virus, and many other fake error messages. All state that the system is infected or damaged in other similar ways, however, this information is false and should not be trusted. The only purpose of this software is to generate revenue for the developers. In fact, PUPs all have an identical purpose – by offering various ‘useful functions’, they attempt to give the impression of legitimacy. Rather than providing any significant value for regular users, potentially unwanted programs cause unwanted redirects, display intrusive advertisements, and gather personal information.
How did adware install on my computer?
As mentioned above, PUPs are distributed using a deceptive marketing method called “bundling” – stealth installation of third party applications with regular software. Developers hide bundled programs within the “Custom” or “Advanced” settings of the download/installation processes. Unsuspecting users often rush these procedures and skip most steps, often leading to inadvertent installation of PUPs.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?
There are two simple steps you should take to prevent this situation. Firstly, never rush when downloading and installing software. Select the “Custom/Advanced” settings and closely analyze each step. Secondly, cancel all additionally-included applications and decline offers to download/install them. The key to computer safety is caution.
If you see any of the following pop-ups on your browser immediately shut off your computer and call Virutec Computer Repair at 772-834-0007