Fake Warning Messages
All computer messages or prompts are meant to get your undivided attention and are usually only a prelude. Whether notifying you of an update or alerting you of an intrusion, a message box screams, “Stop! Look! Act!”
Fake alerts or warnings are meant to scare a PC user into clicking and downloading an infectious file, and in the case of a bogus scanning tool or felonious rogue security program interface, buying useless software.
A Trojan, a type of malware or malicious program, is usually behind most, if not all, fake warning messages. Trojans are true to their malicious classification and strategically use a mixed bag of tricks to deceive PC users into thinking an action harmless, such as clicking on dubious links or buttons in the following presentations:
- Graphical interfaces
- Web search results listings
- IM chat or social network messages
- Pop-up or pop-under advertisements
- Malicious websites
- General prompts like a fake update, notification, warning or alert
Usually the Trojan will unload malicious files and programs it smuggled inside before modifying the registry to embed its executable in the operating system (OS), so that it runs simultaneously each and every time the infected system is started.
If planning a rogue security program presentation, a Trojan will plant fake files and infections to support its lies of a security breach. A Trojan might model the Fake Warning Messages and Alerts after legitimate and recognizable processes or tools like Microsoft Security Essentials, for instance, to further mislead an unsuspecting Microsoft Windows PC user. Some of these fake alerts might read as follows:
System Alert! Your computer is infected!
Windows had detected spyware infection!
It is recommended to use special anti-spyware tools to prevent data loss. Windows will now download and install the most up-to-date antispyware for you.
Click here to protect your computer from spyware!
File cannot be played. Codec not found
Your player cannot display this video file.
Your codec version is too old
This video format is not supported
This video cannot be played due to old version of your codecs
Windows Media Player cannot find the specified file. Be sure the path is typed correctly. If it is, the file does not exist at the specified location, or the computer where the file is stored is offline.
The application taskmgr.exe was launched successfully but it was forced to shut down due to security reasons. This happened because the application was infected by a malicious program which might pose a threat for the OS. It is highly recommended to install the necessary heuristic module and perform a full scan of your computer to exterminate malicious programs from it.
Warning! Database updated failed!
Database update failed!
Outdated viruses database are not effective can’t guarantee adequate protection and security for your PC! Click here to get the full version of the product and update the database!
Warning! Running trial version!
The security of your computer has been compromised! Now running trial version of the software! Click here to purchase the full version of the software and get full protection for your PC!
Fake warnings or alerts might insinuate your data or PC is at risk, that your software is outdated or that a device or driver has failed. Often fake warnings and alerts want you to click and download something, including a rogue security program, but for a fee.
All malware carries one or more payloads and threats that succeed best when done quietly in the background while you, the victim, continue working unaware your data and system is under attack. However, Fake Warning or Alert Message prompts are visual enemies and were designed to intentionally grab your attention to not only falsely alarm you, but to divert you away from the underhanded misdeeds of Trojans or other venomous programs who may be doing the following:
- Stealing vital data a PC user may have stored in a browser’s cache, for instance passwords, usernames, etc. to make it easier to access secured web-pages
- Spying on surfing habits to help an unscrupulous advertiser plan an assault of pop-up or pop-under advertisements
- Logging of system data to plan future attacks
- Harvesting of email addresses stored in an email account are on the victim’s hard drive
- Opening of a port to receive new instructions or intercept and download more malicious programs
- Use of a remote assistance tool to give a hacker secret remote control of the infected system so he can order a DNS attack or launch a mass email spam campaign
Never trust any alert or warning of some security program or scanning tool you did not load onto your PC yourself or give permission to run a quick scan. If you have not installed a stealth antimalware tool to protect your system and data, you should be careful and avoid clicking on sporadic updates, especially the ones that come courtesy of some freeware or shareware download requiring a codec update.
If you run into an overzealous infection that assaults you with never-ending alerts or warnings, you should use aggressive measures and tools to stop the madness and remove the virus or make-believe security programs off your system. Because not all antivirus or antispyware are capable of cleaning viruses hiding in a system’s kernel, BIOS or MBR, you should invest in a reputable antimalware tool known to contain an anti-rootkit and capable of offering a custom fix to remove aggressive infections.
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