Fake Virus Alert - Intended to Intimidate and Confuse You

Security Warning: Hackers have composed a fake virus alert that looks an awful lot like a real error message coming from Microsoft Windows and Apple iOS operating systems. This is an attempt to extort a payment out of you to remove a "virus". Here's the kicker: these are the people that infected you with this "virus".

Pictured below is the fake virus alert that is intended to scare you into calling a toll free phone number to remove a virus that infected your computer. To add even more  authenticity to the mix, a text to speech program is used to read the contents of the web page out loud to you.Fake Virus Alert

Although the screen shots displayed are specific to Microsoft Windows computers, there are also other variations for Macs and other operating systems too.

Let's Take a Closer Look at this Fake Virus Alert

The image pictured below of light text on a blue background is very similar to what us nerds have come to call a Blue Screen of Death. Appropriately named because when you see it, your Windows computer has just crashed.Fake error message

Can You Tell What's Wrong with that Picture?

If you can't, you're not alone. It is a very convincing forgery, designed to prey on the innocent and unsuspecting.

The real give away that this is a fake virus alert is the fact that your web browser is displaying an operating system error message.

In reality, Microsoft Windows (and all other operating systems), are completely separate pieces of software from the web browsers you use to surf the internet. For this reason your web browser will never display operating system error messages to you.

A Message Box is Displayed to Further Intimidate You

Immediately upon the loading of this web page, you are presented a custom tailored message that is intended to further scare you into believing your computer is infected with a virus.

The message itself displays your IP address, the name of your web browser, the type of operating system you're using, and a sequence of numbers which is supposed to represent a computer id.Fake Virus Alert Warning Message

Displaying this information is just an attempt to persuade you that you really do have a virus. Not only that, they're trying to convince you that this is a legitimate virus removal service.

This is Not a Legitimate Message from Microsoft

Nor is it a legitimate virus removal service.

Neither Microsoft nor Apple will provide you with a phone number to call when your computer's been infected with a virus. This is an attempt to get you to do any or all of the following:

  • Hand over sensitive information
  • Pay money to have them remove the virus
  • Download and install more malicious software

What Should You Do If You Encounter This Phishing Attempt?

I think the following should be fairly obvious, but to be certain, I will emphasize:

  • Do not call the phone number displayed
  • Do not give out your credit card details

Despite the messages stating otherwise, I can assure you it is perfectly safe to:

  • Open new web browser windows
  • Close the browser
  • Turn off or restart your computer

Have Questions or Comments?

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