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Archive for the ‘fake security software’ Category

HOW TO: Report the Microsoft phone scam

September 18th, 2014 No comments

If someone calls you from Microsoft technical support and offers to help you fix your computer, mobile phone, or tablet, this is a scam designed to install malicious software on your computer, steal your personal information, or both.

Do not trust unsolicited calls. Do not provide any personal information.

You can report this scam to the following authorities:

Whenever you receive a phone call or see a pop-up window on your PC and feel uncertain whether it is from someone at Microsoft, don’t take the risk. Reach out directly to one of our technical support experts dedicated to helping you at the Microsoft Answer Desk. Or you can simply call us at 1-800-426-9400 or one of our customer service phone numbers for people located around the world. 

HOW TO: Report the Microsoft phone scam

September 18th, 2014 No comments

If someone calls you from Microsoft technical support and offers to help you fix your computer, mobile phone, or tablet, this is a scam designed to install malicious software on your computer, steal your personal information, or both.

Do not trust unsolicited calls. Do not provide any personal information.

You can report this scam to the following authorities:

Whenever you receive a phone call or see a pop-up window on your PC and feel uncertain whether it is from someone at Microsoft, don’t take the risk. Reach out directly to one of our technical support experts dedicated to helping you at the Microsoft Answer Desk. Or you can simply call us at 1-800-426-9400 or one of our customer service phone numbers for people located around the world.

HOW TO: Remove the MS Removal Tool

July 29th, 2014 No comments

The “MS Removal Tool” or MSRemovalTool is malware. It is not a Microsoft product. This kind of malware is known as “rogue security software” because it imitates a real product. In this case, the Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool.

If you’re infected with this malware you might see a MS Removal Tool window when you start your computer and you might not be able to access your desktop. You might not be able to start Task Manager, and you might not be able to open Internet Explorer or any other programs.

The window might look like this:

The warning in your notification area might look like this:

Microsoft security software detects and removes this threat, but if you already have it you might need to boot your computer into Safe Mode in order to remove it.

Learn how to remove the MS Removal Tool

 

 

Why does my AV software keep turning off?

July 25th, 2013 No comments

Bob writes:

My antivirus software keeps turning off and I can’t get it back on.

Here are the most common reasons you might encounter this problem:

Your computer is already infected with rogue security software

The warning that you’re antivirus software is turned off might be a fake alert, also known as “rogue security software.” This type of warning is designed to fool you into downloading malicious software or paying for antivirus software. Take our Real vs. Rogue quiz to see if you can identify the difference.”

You have more than one antivirus program

Your antivirus software could turn off if you try to install another antivirus program. Running more than one antivirus program at the same time can cause conflicts and errors that make your antivirus protection less effective or not effective at all.

You might have a virus

Some viruses can disable your antivirus software or disable updates to your antivirus software. Viruses can also prevent you from going online to update or reinstall your antivirus software.

For troubleshooting help, see What to do if your antivirus software stops working.

Watch out for fake Java updates

January 28th, 2013 No comments

You may have seen reports about security alerts for Java recently. Java is a commonly used piece of software from Oracle, so there’s a good chance you have it installed on your computer. Cybercriminals often use fake virus alerts to lure you into buying fraudulent antivirus software. These alerts state that your computer or other device is at risk, but clicking a link in one of them could lead you to downloading malicious software.

In the case of the fake Java updates, cybercriminals are taking advantage of news about security vulnerabilities in Java and recommendations to update Java immediately. We agree that if you use Java on your device you should update it directly from the Oracle website:  

If you don’t, then it’s a good idea to uninstall older versions of Java and disable Java in your browser like you would for any unused software.

Java is just one piece of software that cybercriminals target. It’s important to keep all the software installed on your system up to date. For Microsoft software, you can use the Microsoft Update service.

If you think you have a virus, visit the Microsoft Security Support Center for assistance.  

Watch out for fake Java updates

January 28th, 2013 No comments

You may have seen reports about security alerts for Java recently. Java is a commonly used piece of software from Oracle, so there’s a good chance you have it installed on your computer. Cybercriminals often use fake virus alerts to lure you into buying fraudulent antivirus software. These alerts state that your computer or other device is at risk, but clicking a link in one of them could lead you to downloading malicious software.

In the case of the fake Java updates, cybercriminals are taking advantage of news about security vulnerabilities in Java and recommendations to update Java immediately. We agree that if you use Java on your device you should update it directly from the Oracle website:  

If you don’t, then it’s a good idea to uninstall older versions of Java and disable Java in your browser like you would for any unused software.

Java is just one piece of software that cybercriminals target. It’s important to keep all the software installed on your system up to date. For Microsoft software, you can use the Microsoft Update service.

If you think you have a virus, visit the Microsoft Security Support Center for assistance.  

Take care with ransomware

December 4th, 2012 No comments

Have you ever received an email or seen a warning page on a website claiming that legal authorities had detected illegal activities on your computer?

This scam infects your computer with a type of malicious software called “ransomware.” The aim of ransomware is to prevent you from using your computer until you pay a fee (the “ransom”). If you see an email or a warning like this, do not follow the payment instructions.

Some ransomware will lock your computer so you can’t use the Internet to get help. But you might be able to fix the problem if you have another computer with a clean operating system and Internet access. You can use it to download Windows Defender Offline onto removable media and then run the recovery tool on your computer.

Learn more about ransomware

See examples of ransomware and learn how to get it off your computer

Avoid scam phone calls

August 22nd, 2012 No comments

Gabby writes:

I just wanted to let you know that I received a phone call this evening from a guy called “Daniel” from “Technical Maintenance of Microsoft Windows.” He said that Microsoft had received error messages from my computer and he asked me to turn my computer on and follow his directions to fix this. I told him that I would sort it out myself and hung up on him.

That sounds like a typical tech support phone scam that cybercriminals use to:

  • Trick you into downloading malicious software.
  • Take control of your computer remotely and adjust settings to leave your computer vulnerable.
  • Request credit card information so they can bill you for phony services.

Gabby did the right thing by hanging up on “Daniel.” For more information, see Avoid tech support phone scams.

 

How do I get rid of all of these security warnings?

July 26th, 2012 No comments

Donald asks:

How do I eliminate the security warnings that pop up every time I open a new page?

Donald’s question has two answers.

Answer #1: They are fake security warnings

Donald notes that the warnings “pop up” and happen every time he opens a new page, which makes us think they might not be real. Donald might be seeing fake warnings because his computer is infected with rogue security software.   

Rogue security software (also known as “scareware”) creates pop-up warnings that look like legitimate security updates. It provides limited or no security and generates erroneous or misleading alerts. Some rogue security software also attempts to lure users into participating in fraudulent transactions.

You can run a free PC safety scan that will help locate and remove the problem if your computer is infected. If you don’t have anti-virus software installed or you want to try a different one, you can download Microsoft Security Essentials (free).

Answer #2: Adjust your security settings

The security warnings that Donald is seeing might be real Internet Explorer security warnings, which could indicate that a website he’s trying to visit could be dangerous. If you see these warnings, follow the instructions. If you know that the sites you’re visiting are safe and you’re still seeing these warnings, your security settings might be set too high.

To adjust Internet Explorer security settings

  1. Open Internet Explorer by clicking the Start button  and then clicking Internet Explorer.
  2. On the menu bar, click Tools, and then click Internet options.
  3. Click the Security tab.
  4. Adjust the security level by moving the slider up or down.
Learn more about how to change your Internet Explorer security settings.

FBI warns against hotel net connections

May 22nd, 2012 No comments

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) issued a warning earlier this month that travelers should be careful using Internet connections in hotels. Some travelers had inadvertently downloaded malicious software onto their computers when they accepted fake security updates.

Reportedly, hackers had compromised hotel networks (mainly outside of the United States) so that when travelers tried to log on they would see a pop-up window indicating they needed to update their computer in order to get Internet access. The updates were actually malicious software designed to gain control of your computer and steal your personal information.

We recommend that you turn on automatic updating and visit Microsoft Update before you travel to help ensure that your computer is up to date. You can also increase your safety by connecting to the Internet in hotels through a cable instead of using a wireless connection.

Fake security software: Know the risks

June 23rd, 2011 No comments

If you’re browsing the web and you see a security warning, beware. Cybercriminals use fake security warnings (also known as “rogue security software”) to steal personal information or to charge you for a program that doesn’t work.

You should only download software from a reputable source. Microsoft Security Essentials, for example, is a program that can help protect your computer. Download it for free.

To watch a video about the extent of the problem and what Microsoft is doing about it, see Rogue Security Software: Scamming for Money.

Beware of bin Laden malware on the web and in email

If you’re searching for news about or pictures of Osama bin Laden, you might find malware instead. This week the FBI warned computer users to be especially careful of emails that claim to show photos or videos of bin Laden’s death.

Cybercriminals are quick to put up fraudulent websites that people will find when they’re searching for popular news topics. These sites often contain fake security software that tries to trick you into downloading malware by making you think that your security is at risk.

Only click links on websites that you trust. If you’re on a news website and you see a pop-up window that advertises security software, do not click it. Computerworld reports that these risks apply to people who use either the Windows or the Mac operating system.

Here are two free ways to help protect yourself: