Scammers impersonate McAfee subscription notifications to Tricks Victims
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McAfee has reported an increase in pop up ads and messages that are deceptive in nature. The pop ups are designed to scare readers into taking action without scrutinizing the message. Some of these recent variations inform the victim their subscription has expired, while others scare people into thinking their computer is infected with malware.
Clicking on harmful links in spam messages can easily result in monetary theft or even start downloading harmful software to a device.
“Scams can be quite convincing. It’s better to be quick to block something and slow to allow than the opposite,” says the McAfee report.
These malicious pop up windows are linked to web browser based updates known as push notifications. The push notifications are those annoying little windows that appear at the top of a web browser window asking if you will accept future notifications from a website or app.
Most people find push notifications are fairly annoying. Personally, I never subscribe to any website pop up. In addition, I don’t allow my email apps – Outlook and Gmail – to send any push notifications either. I don’t need to know the instant that there is something new in my inbox. They can be super distracting!
Marketers love push notifications because they are a very effective way to increase website visitors and sells products.
However, allowing all your favorite sites to send instant push notifications could result in hundreds of little popup windows cropping up on your laptop or phone as you work or browse the internet. They can suck up your bandwidth, cause data overage charges, or slow down your phone.
“After Allowing notifications, messages quickly start being received. Some sites send notifications as often as every minute,” says McAfee.
Fake notifications attempt to scare the reader into downloading apps we’re buying subscriptions that they don’t need.
McAfee even found hundreds of pop up ads selling McAfee antivirus app subscriptions!
Malicious notifications inform the victim that their device has been infected with a virus. The victim is prompted to click on a link to buy or renew a McAfee antivirus app subscription.
Some malicious popups prompt the user to click on the link to help disable popups. Of course, following the instructions of a scammer results in anything except the desired effect – which is to get rid of the nuisance messages.
One category of malware, known as adware, uses an infected phone or a laptop to show the viewer hundreds and hundreds of pop up windows containing advertisements or links to downloads.
Adware may even take over a phone or computer to infect other devices or work as an advertisement server.
How to Stop Pop Up Messages
There are thousands of various messages and sites sending them. The scam messages evolve over time.
It’s not necessary to purchase antivirus apps to stop pop up notifications. If a website is legitimate and you subscribed on accident, then you can go back to the website and unsubscribe from the popups.
However, the notifications in this report are malicious pop up windows and won’t go away no matter what you do. Just like with spam email, clicking on a link to stop the pop up ads results in even more notifications. By clicking you have confirmed to the hacker that the scam is working.
Anyone can disable popup notifications right from their web browser settings.
However, it’s a good idea to subscribe to a reliable antivirus app to protect your phone, laptop, tablet, and all computers from malicious apps like malware, adware, ransomware, as well as others.
- Protect your private videos, images, and your bank logins from hackers.
- Limit what notifications you allow. Only enable the important updates.
- Subscribe to an eMail newsletter instead. That way you can control when and often you read the content.
- Be sure to only accept notifications from reliable websites that you know and trust. Even if you really do want information from the site, it may be too much to get ten or maybe 100 nuisance notifications cropping up in your web browser window each day.