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How to avoid sneaky 'Media Player' malware

How to avoid sneaky 'Media Player' malware

This morning, I stumbled across a piece of malware that I hadn't seen before, and it was so good it nearly got me! You really need to pay attention to this new wave of convincing malware, because it could land you in a lot of trouble.

This little popup took over my browser tab without me clicking on anything. It says that it's for your "Media Player" and it looks really convincing, but let me point out a few things you should look for.

First, when something pops up on your screen without you clicking, take your hands away from the mouse and keyboard. You need to analyze this intruder before accidentally accepting or downloading some malicious software.

In this case, the first thing I looked for was where this program came from. I couldn't find a company name, which was an immediate red flag. In fact, you can see in the background behind the popup box the script says "[Company_Name], Ltd."

Red flag number two, the "Terms of Service" link isn't a link at all. Usually when you hover your mouse over a link, you should see the link address in the bottom corner of your browser.

In this case, there was no link address, it was just a picture of a link designed to fool a casual observer.

Red flag number three, the language was very persuasive and not corporate-sounding at all. By that I mean that if you read it out loud, it sounds like someone persuading you to update your software instead of informing you that it's time to update like usual software update popups.

There is also a concerning note underneath the "Terms of Service." This note reads "Your antivirus software must allow you to install software." You should not have to disable your antivirus or other security software to update legitimate programs.

Red flag number four, there is no "No Thanks" or "Not Now" or "Cancel" button. The only options are "Upgrade" and "Save File." If this were a real update popup, it would have the option to opt-out of the update.

The images of the malware popup are below, click to see a larger image.

popup malware3

popup malware4

If you encounter this kind of malware or something similar, you should first close the tab of your browser and then shut down the browser completely. Then you should make sure your anti-virus and your other security software is running a sweep to catch anything that may have gotten onto your computer.

If there is anything, your anti-virus should detect it and help you remove it before it does any damage to your machine. You can find more tips on security here and sign up for my Security Alert newsletters here.


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