Warning!

Wednesday morning I was sitting at my desk when a pop-up appeared on my screen.  It was actually an Internet Explorer window, and although it was written entirely in Japanese, I suspected immediately that it was a scam, a fraud, malware, or something.  Why?  It had a very old Microsoft logo on it (from the Microsoft Certified Partner days).  I asked my boss to confirm, and he started laughing at me that the sites I was visiting were not secure.  Since I was planning to re-image my system when I was back in Canada, I didn’t really worry about it.

As I sit in the airport lounge in Vancouver, I got a different albeit similar pop-up, this time in English (it is always nice when malware knows where you are…)

imageHere is a simple way to know if the warnings you are getting might be legitimate, or if they are completely bunk:

1) Legitimate programs do not display their warnings in Internet Explorer.  They would have their own windows appear.

2) I do not use a product called Advanced System Protector.  That being the case, if it were legitimate (it is not) it would still have no business scanning my system.

My recommendations? firstly do not click in the window.  The only place you should click is in the upper-right hand corner… the X.  Note that they are sneaky buggers… under the real X there is their own X, which would have you clicking in the window.  Do not be fooled.

Once you close the window, make sure you run your legitimate anti-malware system – do a complete system scan.  It is not necessary in my case because I simply shut down the machine, and the next time I turn it on I will re-image it (format it and re-install Windows).  However most of you will not want to do that… and yes, you do have malware in your system.

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2 thoughts on “Warning!

  1. It has gotten to the point where users have to call their IT service desks just to find out if the pop-up message that they just got on their screens, from an enterprise deployment of some internal software about to install or an update to their own security certificates, is a legitimate internal message. Most user do not have the same sort of reasoning that an IT professional has when viewing messages on their screen and somehow forget how to read English as they dial their help desk line. It is even worst for the home users of a certain age that have neither an expert to call on or the sense to verify the facts of what they are reading.
    Alas, it keeps those of us with minds capable of analysis employed.

  2. Wiping your system sounds like a good idea, but how do you preserve your data? My… is a start, but there are also program settings. You IT guys really like to nuke systems. 😉

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