I received a request from a third party web site where I earn supplemental income answering computer and technology related questions. Here is their request:
“I just had something very strange that happened when I was on Google white pages. It was a large red screen that also was speaking saying it was Microsoft windows and it was an alert stating my information on my computer had been compromised and to call the # on the screen”
This individual was using a laptop with Windows 10 operating system installed. Let me cut to the chase. These types of alerts are scams.
I would never call any number advertised. These false positives actually can install adware, malware, spyware, and or a virus onto your computer. Here was my response:
This is most likely a scam. There are quite a few scammers trying to get money from people. However, you may have been infected with malware, spyware, etc.
You could perform a system restore back to before you received this message. Also, you could perform a full virus scan. You could scan for malware and spyware with my preferred anti spyware program.
This is a free download. Finally, make sure that your firewall is turned on. You can get infected with spyware just by browsing the Internet.
This individual requested that I remotely connect to their computer and perform some system scans. First, I noticed that there were two anti-virus running. You NEVER need more than one anti-virus software installed on your computer.
As a matter of fact two or more anti-virus software can actually slow down your computer to a crawl. These programs will conflict with each other. I removed Viper security, with the permission of this client.
They now only had Mcafee Internet security installed. I made sure any updates were downloaded and installed for Mcafee. Also, I ran a quick virus scan.
My preferred malware/spyware removal found two pieces of software that I removed. Also, it found over 700 tracking cookies. Mcafee did NOT find any viruses.
I verified that indeed the Mcafee firewall was turned on. Also, whenever I remotely connect to a client computer, I generally use my preferred PC optimization tool. Also, to save time, I run many scans at the same time.
This PC optimization tool found around 1500 registry items. Often times, whenever I run this tool, I notice an immediate difference in the over all responsiveness of a Microsoft Windows operating system. Also, I went into task manager and looked to see if there was high central processing unit, random access memory, and or hard drive utilization.
Another thing I check for is making certain there are no problems with hardware devices. A quick gaze at Device Manager did NOT reveal any problems. Finally, I normally check Microsoft Windows 10 updates.
These are nothing short of a disaster, but I check them anyways to see if any of them are failing. Believe it or not, adware, malware, spyware, and virus can cause problems with device drivers and even Microsoft Windows updates. I did try performing a system file check, but it was taking too long to run.
Overall, I think this computer may have been affected with just two adware/malware/spyware programs. Many of these Microsoft system security alert messages are just phony pop up messages seducing you into calling the telephone number advertised. Then the perpetrator will ask for your credit card information.
Worse of all is that they will request access to your computer and then intentionally infect your computer. I never take these messages seriously. I would never waste time calling any phone number advertised.
However, as a computer technician, I will run a spyware scan, just to make certain. In closing, you could install an advertisement or pop up blocker on your web browser. This individual was using Google Chrome web browser when they received this alert.
I was going to install an advertisement blocker for them, but to my chagrin Ad Block Plus was already installed. Nothing to me is perfect in the technology sector. I am NOT surprised that one of these fake alerts was able to bypass an ad blocker.