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Poisonous Popups Redux

I know I wrote about this back in April of last year, but we’re seeing another surge of fake anti-virusPoison  popups again so it’s worth another mention. 

If you get a popup window saying your PC is infected, it could be a fake.  These popups usually look like the real thing, often have names that are very close to the names of legitimate antivirus software and can even come from legitimate websites and not just "dodgy" ones.   

So how do you tell if you’ve got a fake?  A quick way is to check for the name of the software.  While the fakes use a multitude of different names, if the name’s not the same as your anti-virus software, it’s a fake.  Be careful though since the name used might be really close to your antivirus software’s name.  (See the Wikipedia entry for a partial list of the fake software names.)

If you get a suspicious popup, do not click on anything in it.  The Cancel button is a lie.  The X in the upper corner is too.  The entire popup window should just be considered poisonous. 

So how do you kill the window without touching it?  The easiest way is to do Ctrl-Alt-Del (hold down the Ctrl and Alt buttons and hit the Delete key) and choose Task Manager.  In Task Manager, make sure the Applications tab is selected then find your browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc.) in the list.  Highlight your browser in the list and click on End Task.  Repeat if necessary until the popup disappears. 

If someone has already clicked on the popup, please call the appropriate support staff immediately.  While running an antivirus scan of your PC is a good start, it may not remove all of the fake software and undo all of the damages.  If you need to try and remove the software yourself, make sure that any removal tools you download are from legitimate sites like major antivirus vendors. 

Comments

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Some very good hints. I didn't think about the X button being fake too. Task manager is the only way to go. Viruses suck. Don't lose your files!

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