I recently purchased a new computer, it is a windows computer. I had the computer company set it up for me. All of a sudden I am getting these ads that are popping up that say that my computer is infected with viruses. I purchased a virus protection plan when I bought the computer how can this happen. The ad said that I need to click on a link immediately to download software that will fix the computer. I really don't remember the name of the virus protection that I originally purchased. Do I need to download the software? I don't want my new computer to be ruined.
Jim R.- Massachusetts
Thank you for your email. It sounds like you may have encountered some software know as Scareware. Scareware is a form of malware which uses something called social engineering to cause shock, anxiety or the perception of a threat in order to manipulate you into buying unneeded and unwanted software. This is what you usually see.....All of a sudden a pop-up advertisement appears with text like this: "Your computer may be infected with harmful spyware programs.Immediate removal may be required. To scan, click 'Yes' below." This sounds like what you may be seeing.
This is a scam, and in order to make their warnings seem even scarier, many of these scareware pop-ups will pretend to start scanning your computer for viruses, displaying a list of the dozens or hundreds of viruses they claim to be uncovering. However, scareware programs aren’t really scanning your computer. The results they’re showing are fake.
What these scammers really want is to steal your credit card information or to install malware on your computer that will expose personal information.
This is what you need to do:
If the ad pops up on your screen again, with dire warnings that your computer is infected,........Never click on its "download" button.
Always close the ad. Just be careful: Some scareware is difficult to close and is designed to trick you into accidentally starting a download.
It even better to close your browser rather than the individual pop-up ad. If the pop-up ad won’t let you close the browser on your PC, try Ctrl-Alt-Delete to shut things down (if you’re a Mac user, try Command-Option-Esc to open the Force Quit applications window). If you can’t close your browser, do a hard shutdown of your computer.
Never provide credit card information or other personal information.
Never download anything from a company whose name you don’t recognize. Many scareware scammers will use names that sound like the names of legitimate antivirus programs.
If you want to keep these shareware ad from popping up:
1. Keep your browser updated
2. Keep pop-up blockers turned on
3. Install a legitimate antivirus program on your devices
4. If a pop-up does show up, resist the urge to click
Never click on any links or “download” buttons on pop-ups. If you are legitimately worried that your computer is infected, do an internet search on the company behind the pop-up you’ve received. You’ll quickly discover whether that company is offering rogue security software.
If t you think that you might have clicked on link that you shouldn't have, I would suggest that you take your new computer back to the company where you purchased the device and have them take a look. You want to make sure that there is not any rogue malware that might be trying to get your personal information.
If you would like to learn more check out my resources on CyberSafeSenior.com
Six ways to stop HTD's (Podcast)
Have You Ever Been Held for Ransom? (Podcast)
Spear-Phishing: Are You a Target? How not to take the bait (YouTube Video)