There's nothing more frustrating than continuous pop-up ads when you're surfing online.
We all understand that ads are necessary. They help pay the bills and keep us from having to pay for access to certain websites. But what if some of those pop-up ads are malicious?
That's exactly what's happening now. A sneaky tech support scam is making the rounds that you need to know about and it could cost you big time.
Fake tech support message tricking tons of people
Researchers at Malwarebytes recently discovered a devious tech support scam that targets Google Chrome users. What's happening is, malicious ads aka malvertising, have been sending people who click on them to malicious websites.
(Note: What is malvertising? It's when hackers put malicious code into a digital ad and submit it to an ad network.)
If you click on an ad that has this particular malicious code, you'll be directed to a malicious site that rapidly downloads thousands of files. The overload of downloads will cause your Chrome browser to become unresponsive and basically locks up, you won't even be able to close the browser by clicking the X in the upper right corner.
A fraudulent tech support message will then appear. It has a fake Microsoft phone number that you're supposed to call to fix the problem.
Warning! Do NOT call this number...it's a scam.
If you call the number you will be connected to the scammers and they will ask for your credit card information to rip you off. Most likely the scammers will also ask for remote access to your computer, which would allow them to install malicious programs and steal sensitive data from you.
The following image is an example of what the scam looks like:
Image: Example of fake tech support scam. (Source: Malwarebytes)
Since this scam is being delivered through malicious ads, the best way to avoid it is by having strong security software and an ad-blocker on your gadget. It's possible that the fraudsters behind this attack could change the way it's delivered in the future. Most likely through phishing emails that contain links leading to the malicious sites.
Keep reading to learn how to get rid of the fake tech support message just in case this happens to you.
How to get rid of a fraudulent tech-support pop-up message
If you see this fake tech-support message pop-up on your computer, you now know not to fall for the scam and call the phone number. However, people are having trouble getting the warning message off their gadget. Once the message appears it won't close.
It's actually a simple process to close one of these messages. Here is what you need to do:
- Click on the Windows search box in the lower-left corner.
- Search for Task Manager.
- Open Task Manager.
- Right-click on the browser you have open listed under the Processes tab and click End - If you have multiple tabs open, repeat this step for each tab.
Also, here are some suggestions from police on how to protect yourself against tech support scams:
- Don't call numbers from pop-up messages.
- Never allow remote access to your computer.
- Never divulge passwords or PIN codes.
- Microsoft or someone on their behalf will never call you.
Have a question about tech support scams or anything related to technology? Kim has your answer! Click here to send Kim a question, she may use it and answer it on her radio show.
The Kim Komando Show is broadcast on over 450 stations. Click here to find the show time in your area.
Want to secure your Google account? Here are Google's most useful security settings
Companies like Google are constantly upgrading the security of their platforms. After all, the last thing most of us need is to discover that some cybercriminal has gained access to our emails. Aside from setting up security gateways like advanced passwords and two-factor authentication, Google provides users with several other security options, some of which you may have never heard of.