With viewers’ browsers as a target, online scareware/scam pop-ups keep spiking in early August. The typical message for the latest wave of scareware promises users that the website has updated browser support and that these users need some special help to get back online. Along with this message, the scam often maximizes the browser and makes it impossible for the user to close it or click anywhere else.
We call it a support scam. The notices claim to have a malware infection or similar and try to scare the user with this news. These pages are absolutely annoying for the customer. While some may not be directly harmful, others redirect users to adware applications. — Oscar Anduiza, malware analyst at Avira.
The newest wave of support scam has the Avira Protection Services racking up over a hundred thousand new detections daily in early August.
Crossing the grey line
While support scam can appear out of nowhere if you surf to “normal” sites it most often happens in the grey zone where users are streaming online content that may or may not be completely legal.
We see this more commonly in the grey/dark zone. Especially with the illegal movie and TV streams that are streaming copyrighted content like Game of Thrones, and on some porn sites. — Oscar Anduiza, malware analyst at Avira.
Most of them are related to some kind of advertisement redirection or pop-up.
Keeping that browser clean
Even if not visiting illicit streaming sites, there is a chance that a service scam will be encountered. However, staying secure is not too complicated.
- Have an Antivirus installed and up-to-date. This will help ID and stop any additional malware from being bundled with the service scam.
- Listen to your Antivirus. If the Antivirus signals that something is not quite right – even if it messes up that streaming experience – listen to it.
- Stay updated. Think of it as a vaccination. The more up-to-date your device is, the less apt you are to catch something nasty.