If you’re known to dabble in a little online browsing, odds are you’ve encountered a pop-up once or twice. There are times when a user may think, “Wow, that’s a great deal!” and click on a pop-up. To those users: put down the mouse. Why? That pop-up could be malicious or dangerous.
There used to be a time when malicious pop-ups were only on questionable sites, but those days are gone. Hackers are smart and develop ways to inject malicious malware into pop-ups and online advertisements - even on the most trusted sites.
One of the most common attacks we see occurs when you visit a site and a pop-up appears that says, “Your computer is infected! Download our antivirus now!” If you click on this, a bogus virus scan will start. After the “scan” completes, you’ll be asked to pay for a full-version of the software or to call a helpline to connect with a support representative.
Spoiler alert: The software is not real and the fake support representative will take control of your computer to try and “fix” the issue, but end up causing more damage.
How to prevent
Although hackers are smart, you can be smarter. Here are some tips to protect yourself from these types of attacks:
- Avoid clicking on pop-ups.
- Update your operating system regularly - don’t postpone or snooze updates!
- Use web-filtering software to warn you before accessing potentially harmful sites.
Remember, these attacks are only successful if we fall for them. Stay alert and be cautious!