How To Identify And Handle Scareware Pop-ups


Jared Stemeye is a Help Desk Technician at Tech Experts.

Let’s say you’re reading the latest news articles on a webpage you visit regularly. In an instant, a new browser window flashes onto your screen, blinking with some sort of notice, a warning of virus infections, a legitimate looking logo, and a phone number to call.

Some of these even employ audio statements such as, “Your PC is infected. If you close this window you will lose all information stored on your hard drive.”

These tactics combined do a very good job of eliciting emotions of fear and anxiousness from their victims.

However, with the proper knowledge to identify the fraudulent practices of these groups, along with the proper steps to handle such occurrences, you will be able to avoid the hardship many others have encountered.

The first thing you should know is that it is quite simple for anyone to attach the Microsoft, or any name brand anti-virus’ insignia onto the page to make it appear convincingly genuine. The ‘official’ logos you see on these pop-ups are not legitimate, though it is very easy to think that they are.

The second, and probably the most important, thing to know is to never – under any circumstances – call the phone number provided by the pop-up.

The disreputable individuals on the other end of the phone are not meant to help you. Like the pop-ups, they too are proficient at inducing anxiety among their victims, urging those who call to allow permission for remote access to the targeted computer.

Once someone has access to your desktop, they have access to all your locally stored files and can make changes to them as well as plant malware or spyware.

Never allow remote access to your computer unless you, without any doubt, know who it is you’re allowing access.

Now, what you should do next? First, attempt to close the window as you would with any other window by clicking the X in the top right corner.

In many cases, a dialogue box will appear at the top of the screen, providing more anxiety-inducing phrases to make you think your actions are incorrect. Rest assured you are on your way to ridding yourself of the pop-up.

Browsers such as Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox have an opportunity to prevent these boxes from reappearing after you exit out of them. In the pop-up box, click the check field next to the “prevent additional dialogues” option and click OK.

If the pop-up window has yet to close, retry exiting out of the window. No additional dialogue boxes should appear at this point, allowing you to regain control of your computer.

If the pop-up window does not close after these steps or if the issue persists after a short period, contact your trusted IT team to remove the issue.

Under any circumstance, remember, these pop-ups are not viruses themselves and, if you follow the advice given in this article, they will cause no harm to your computer.

However, it is still best practice to run a full virus scan if this does occur to ensure you are unaffected.

Top 5 Ways to “Break” Your Computer

Here are the top five most common ways to “break” your computer. The reason break is in quotations is because no matter what happens to your computer we can almost always fix it…it just doesn’t make sense sometimes from a financial stand point to do so.

My computer won’t turn on
This very common situation and can be caused by many different things.

One common cause, however, that IS preventable is the computer overheating.

The first step to preventing this issue is to put the computer on an elevated surface instead of the floor if you have the space to do so.

The reason you want to do this is normal everyday foot traffic around or near the computer kicks up a lot of dust and debris that can coat the insides of a computer and cause the processor to not be cooled properly.

The other step you want to take to prevent this issue is to take a can of air and blow out the computer on occasion.

We do NOT recommend open­ing the case and doing the interior yourself as it is possible to cause damage to components.

My computer is running really slow
Yet again another common scenario we hear almost every day.

Unfortunately, there is no way to completely avoid this, but there are some ways to slow it down.

As your operating system instal­lation ages, and depending on how much it is used, the operating system, and software files in it can become damaged or corrupt, which slows your computer down.

The best way to combat this issue is to make sure that your uninstall­ing unused programs through the control panel, and simply keeping unused junk files clean off of your com­puter.

The more you keep your computer and OS the way it was when you pur­chased it the better it will run.

This can also happen if you shut your computer down improperly. Always go through the Start Menu/ Shutdown process when powering off your computer.

Constant popups are interrupting me and making my PC slow
Almost always, this very com­mon issue is caused by a virus or spyware on your computer.

Unfortunately, there aren’t any fool-proof methods of preventing a virus or malware attack.

The best thing you can do to help prevent an infection is to have anti­virus software installed on your PC, but keep in mind, even this does not guarantee you will not get a virus/ malware infection.

The other step to help prevent this is to only go to websites that are considered to be “safe,” meaning they are legitimate websites that its owners would not be trying to gain access to your PC or have any reason to infect your computer.

The most common place for users to get viruses and malware is from browsing the web for free items such as software, movies, music, etc. or even from emails.

Unfortunately, if you do end up be­ing infected by a virus, they’re very difficult to completely remove.

The process used to properly remove a virus is complex and if not done properly can damage your computers operating system and/or cause data loss.

That being said even if you bring the computer in it is possible for a virus to attach itself to a file and damage it permanently so even we may not be able to recover all of your files in the event of a very bad infection.

In most cases we are able to remove all viruses/malware from a system and the user not even notice that they ever had one. There are times, though, where the virus does irreversible damage.

My computer can’t get online
This is another common issue, and is most often caused by the above issue – viruses or spyware on the computer.

Viruses, spyware and malware have all kinds of different effects on the computer. When that is not the cause there are several other issues that may come into play.

As long as other computers at your home/business are able to get online the issue is more than likely due to a setting on your computer itself.

The most common instance I can think of with laptops is the user ac­cidentally switches the WiFi switch to the off position (and doesn’t realize the laptop even had a WiFi switch).

In a desktop, however, as long as the connection issue has not been caused by failing hardware, it is usually caused by a setting changed within the computer.

Connection issues encompass a number of possible settings on the computer, so it’s hard to give you all the information to properly troubleshoot this issue in a small newsletter article.

When it comes to connection issues your best bet is to give us a call and let us diagnose the issue for you.

We troubleshoot many connectivity issues here in the shop as well as onsite. So, no matter where your problem lies, we can get you back online.

Windows told me I had some updates so I installed them. Now my computer won’t boot
Windows updates are almost always important, but they can also be complex in how they interact with your operating system and installed software.

Unfortunately, since most of the updates address serious security risks they must be installed.

The best practice regarding updates is to review them immediately, and perhaps even download them to the machine, but wait a few days in case there are issues with the updates.

If Microsoft finds that there are is­sues with a patch, even though they do test them to begin with, they will pull the update off of Windows updates until the issue is resolved.

This will help prevent you from getting an update that can cause a problem.

Hardware driver updates are by far the most common type of update that “breaks” the computer.

We generally don’t recommend downloading them unless you are having a problem with your current driver, or there’s a serious security issue with the current driver.

With hardware sometimes it’s better to go with the “Don’t fix it if it isn’t broke” sentiment. If you do mistakenly update and then are unable to get into Windows, bring your computer in and we can get the issue corrected!

These are a few of the common is­sues that we see every week. Hope­fully this short list can help keep your system running smoothly, and help you solve basic issues.

Featured Article Written By: Tech Experts

Finally! A Way To Stop Spam, Spyware And Pop-Ups From Taking Over Your Computer

If you are absolutely fed up with the number of spam e-mails you get every day, the annoying pop-ups being shoved in your face when you surf the net, and advertisers installing spyware on your computer to monitor your every move and serve up unwanted ads, then please read on.

We’re Waging War Against Spam, Spyware, and Pop-Ups!
Just recently we polled our clients to find out what their biggest frustration currently is with their computer networks.

Not too surprisingly, an overwhelming number of you said “SPAM” with pop-ups running a close second on the list of things that make you crazy.

That’s why we’ve decided to launch a war against spammers and unethical online advertisers for our clients by offering a FREE “Stop The Ads” audit.

We’ll Show You How To Stop Spammers And Unethical Advertisers In Their Tracks
During this free audit, one of our senior technicians will come onsite to review your network and uncover loopholes that allow spammers and advertisers to penetrate your network and install unwanted spyware on your computer.

Note: Spyware is a small program that online advertisers download to your computer without your permission or knowledge so they can monitor your web surfing and steal your confidential information. Sometimes they can even read your credit card information!

During this FREE “Stop The Ads” audit we’ll show you how to:

  •  Eliminate pop-ups finally and forever.
  •  Quarantine virus-riddled spam before it ever gets to your in-box.
  •  Filter spam without blocking important e-mails from clients and associates.
  •  Clean out any spyware installed on your individual PCs or network.
  •  Bulletproof your network from viruses and other cyber criminals.

And If You Are Not Currently Hosting Your Own E-mail In House, We’ll Also Show You How To:

  • Save hundreds or even thousands of dollars on costly bandwidth and ISP fees by bringing your e-mail in house.
  • Prevent your ISP’s spam filter from blocking important, non-spam e-mails you need to receive.
  • Make it easier to set up new e-mail accounts.
  • Stop employees from accidentally (or intentionally!) sending illegal, inappropriate, or confidential information via e-mail.
  • Set up a safe and secure filing system to store all of your important e-mail.
  • Eliminate the file size limitations on your in-box.

Here’s How It Works:
To request your free “Stop The Ads” Audit, simply call our offices or fill in and fax back the enclosed form.

If you have three or more computers in your office, we will send one of our senior, professional technicians to your office. If you have less than three computers, we’ll make arrangements for you to bring your machine into our professional repair shop.

Our technician will be on time, guaranteed. He will evaluate your network for FREE and give you a straightforward situation analysis, and explain the options you have available for eliminating spam, spyware, and pop-ups.

We will also give you a guaranteed price in writing – not an estimate – for the options you want to try. If you agree to allow us to do the work (you are under no obligation), we can usually start right away!

EVERY job is backed by our exclusive Peace of Mind Guarantee: if you are not happy with the work or the technician doing the job, simply say to the technician “this is not what I had in mind.”

That will be his cue to stop the work, restore your network, and leave your office – AND YOU WON’T PAY ONE PENNY!  No questions, No argument, No guilt, No payment. You can consider the job cancelled and the work ON US.

As you can see, we don’t think you should take a chance on hiring ANY computer support company – even us. We strongly feel that the client is number one and to prove our commitment to you, we are willing to put ourselves on the line.

It’s that simple and you have nothing to lose!

Give us a call at (734) 457-5000. You’ll be glad you did!