IT Security Tip #3: Don’t click this type of Pop Up!
You’re working at your computer when all of the sudden – BAM! – you get a pop-up notification that your PC is infected with a virus or some other dire warning and it prompts you to either click on something or call someone to get the problem solved (and gives you a phone number)
This is a common “scare-ware” tactic used by hackers and criminals to get you to click and download a virus or more often, a malicious bit of software that can steal your data or hold it for ransom. Nothing legitimate will EVER alert you this way!
Often it will appear to be a system alert or “from” Microsoft support. Regardless of how legitimate it looks, NEVER click on the site or the pop-up. The safest thing to do is close your browser which contains the pop-up message…don’t click any part of the pop-up itself, such as the X, “Close” or “Cancel” button in the pop-up or any links in it. If that doesn’t work, press “control-alt-delete” and choose “Task Manager”. In the list of processes, find the brower (Chrome, Internet Explorer, or Firefox typically) and “end task”. This is a safe way of backing out of that situation safely. Next call your IT Support professional and let them get remote control to check if there was any possibly lingering damage or unwanted applications remaining.
The objective of the scare-ware warning is to get you act…either by click on it somewhere (which will likely permanently install something malicious) or in many cases, convince you to call a toll free number so they (an actual human) can “help” you. They are not help, its NEVER Microsoft, and they are only after your money or computer’s data or both. They prey on you not being as savvy as they are regarding computers.
Again, Microsoft will NEVER, EVER call you or prompt you to call them. Neither will any reputable company in the computer or software business.