Pop up messages are becoming more and more common every day, carrying dire warnings about updating some software on your computer such as Firefox or Chrome, or more often “alerting” you that you absolutely must update Flash, Java, or Silverlight.
The majority of these messages are fake and are trying to get you to click on the pop up window to either visit a page or worse – to launch a virus. The bugs that are launched are usually nothing more than a minor annoyance and can be easily removed, but some of the infections that are launched by clicking a pop up window are far worse and much more damaging.
Many of the manufacturers of foundational software such as Chrome, or even Flash, have built in options that will keep their products up to date behind the scenes and will never ask you to download anything. They will simply – and quietly, update your computer with new versions of their software in the middle of the night or the next time you close the program.
This can keep you from having to decipher a pop up message to decide whether it is safe to click or not. However, there is a much better rule of thumb. That rule is –
You can’t easily recognize fake pop up messages these days unless you work on computers every day. The bad guys are getting better and better at copying logos and content from the real product’s websites to hide their attacks and can be so convincing that even the pros have trouble identifying fake messages.
If you avoid clicking anything you avoid the most common means of infection today. If a pop up message appears on your screen DO NOT click on any part of it, including the X in the top right corner. They can easily “re-wire” that button to launch their infection.
Your best course of action is to click the X at the VERY top right corner to close the entire browser so you close the entire browser instead of only the pop up. If you can’t close Firefox, or whichever browser you are using, by clicking the main X, your next best bet is to kill the computer and start over.
If you can’t close the browser click the Start button, then click Restart or Shutdown. If you click Shutdown turn the computer back on once it’s gone quiet and see if the pop up comes back. If it does, you’ll need to have a tech give things a checkup, but if the pop up message does not come back you just saved yourself a lot of aggravation.
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