Sample web browser exploit alert window

Many of our clients report seeing web browser alert scam windows like this one.

Recently, many of our clients have reported seeing popup alerts while in their web browser. Hackers have found ways to force your browser to display these windows, and the alerts might appear to come from Apple, Microsoft, Adobe, or other recognizable computer corporations. In reality, the window is a scam, and this article will tell you how to avoid being scammed.

What all these scams have in common is that they say viruses or spyware has been found on your computer, and they tell you to call a toll free number for help removing it.

Even if your computer actually has viruses or spyware, it has nothing to do with this window…nobody has scanned your computer for viruses. It’s just a fake window trying to scare you into calling the toll free number and pay an exorbitant fee to “fix” this non-existent problem. Don’t call.

If you call, the “support agent” first gets you to give them remote access to your computer…which usually involves implanting a tiny piece of remote access software that allows them to connect. Then they’ll quote somewhere between $99 and $299 for the virus removal service. Of course there’s really no service to perform…there’s nothing wrong with your computer.

However, once you’ve given them remote access, they can control your computer and access all your files…their secondary goal after scamming you for cash. Some clients have even reported that the “support agent” doesn’t take credit cards, so they require your bank account and routing number to charge you…which also gives them everything they need to clean out your bank account.

This is an easy problem for you to fix without any help.

What you should do

1. Click Force Quit… in the Apple menu.

force-quit-window

2. Select your web browser in the window, then click the Force Quit button at the lower right corner of the window.

3. Hold down the Shift key while reopening your browser. Your browser will go to its normal home page. Problem solved, and it didn’t cost a dime!