Malware/Scareware: Malicious software that is intended to damage or disable computers and computer systems. Sometimes scare tactics are used by the perpetrators to solicit funds from victims (Internet Fraud). This is exactly what I experienced this weekend and I like to pass on things I experience in life because if it happens to me there are usually a whole lot of others who are experiencing it now or will in the future. This particular incident may be old news to some..but it sure was new to me.
Friday morning I received a phone call from my mom and she was in a tizzy..you see she was working on her computer and up pops a message box stating in bold letters Windows Security Microsoft Edge. The rest of the intrusive message stated there is suspicious activity at your IP address and a possible virus could be on the computer. It went on to state she will need to call the toll-free number for further information. STOP: DON’T CALL!
Not only had she had this mysterious message pop up on her screen she wasn’t able to close the pop up message and it had locked her browser – basically hijacking it and making is useless.
In the meantime until I could get home to actually see what was going on I had her send me the above photo so I could see exactly what we were dealing with. I did a little research and this is what I found out: This is a browser hijack scam..pure and simple. Think about it.. Neither Microsoft nor any other company sends emails, pop ups, or phone calls of any kind advising the public that there may be a critical problem on our computers.
Apparently this is just another scam in the long list of cyber scams out there. These warning alerts are designed to scare us and get us rattled into thinking that our computers are infected so that we will call the number listed in the fake security alert. Once we call the number the scammer AKA “support tech” will try to convince us that it was detected that our computer has a problem and that we should purchase a support contract to fix it. They will ask permission to grant them access to scan the hard drive to find the virus. This scam is a way to get credit card info and money. They are playing off of our fears.
Instead of cold calling now the scammers have managed to get the scam on our browsers and from what I’m reading one way this is happening is through free downloads from a website we visit. Make sure your free downloads are from reputable sites.
I went to You Tube to find out more about this and there are several videos I watched on this topic. We followed one of them and was able to get rid of the hijacked browser with a step by step instruction that was easy to follow. I’m leaving a link to one of the videos I watched just in case it happens to you or someone you know. This video is step by step on how to get your browser back.
Here is a video I found on You Tube: You Tube Video
After we got rid of the window and as a precautionary move I ran the virus scan and also the malware cleaner and luckily both came up clean.
They are a clever bunch these cyber criminals but with educating ourselves of these scams it will help to prepare us if it does happen to one of us.