Fake warning messages, or fake security alerts, are deceptive messages that usually come in the form of a pop-up or a web page. “Fake warning messages” are known to be associated with fraudulent security software such as rogue anti-spyware and rogue anti-virus applications. “Fake warning messages” pose as Windows alerts stating that a machine is infected with malware in order to get users to perform a hasty download of a rogue security software. Even to attempt to click the “Cancel” or the “X” button on a “fake warning message” dialog may pop-up a second “fake warning message” or redirect the user to a rogue website where a rogue security software may be downloaded.
“Fake warning messages” are used by many malware creators to try to fool unsuspecting Internet users into downloading potentially harmful programs. Examples of popular rogue anti-spyware programs that use aggressive fake warning messages are Antivirus 2009, Antivirus 2008, and XP Antivirus. Below is an image of a “fake warning message” or fake pop-up alert caused by a malware infection.
Many fake warning messages have a generic tone to them. Some of them may read like the following text:
“System Alert! Your computer is infected!
Windows had detected spyware infection!
It is recommended to use special antispyware 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!”
If one clicks on the “fake warning message”, it may trigger the drive-by download of a trojan or malware attack which can change browser and DNS settings which further opens the computer to future malware infections. Such a malicious exploit allows malware makers to infect the computer with hard-to-remove rogue programs. It is important to maintain legitimate security software updated and to never download files from unknown sources which can bear inherent risk to the computer’s security.