You are on your computer, minding your own business, perhaps browsing the web or updating social media. Worse, you may be even doing work. In any case, something comes up on your screen and says your machine is infected with a virus and you have to download the antivirus software immediately. It even provides you with a link where you can get this “program.” Some of the things you may see look pretty legitimate. It might even tell you that you have one or 10 or even 30 malware files on your machine. Something tells you that it isn’t quite right though. You don’t know if you should click on the link or contact computer help.
Your Instincts Are Right
When something in your gut told you to be suspicious, it was right. Most of the time you already have malware on your machine. If you have antivirus software on your computer, it may pop up and tell you when something malicious has been found. It won’t direct you to a website and ask you to download something, though. Depending on the type of software you have, it may come up with a popup or it may send a notification that appears at the bottom right of your screen. In either case, it will tell you that the malicious file has been blocked and it may suggest that you run a full system scan.
The popup that you see set off warning bells for a reason, and here are the signs that it is actually malicious:
- It isn’t from your antivirus software.
- It directs you to a website.
- It tells you that you need to download something.
- It has bright flashing red writing or garish colors.
If you see this, then do not click on it, but you will still need to contact computer support.
You Already Have Spyware
That’s because you probably have something on your machine that some refer to as “zombie spyware.” This spyware could be compared to a gateway drug. It doesn’t do anything to your machine itself. It just acts like a zombie, sending you the same message over and over again and it works like a gateway to much more malicious files. Your computer is infected, it tells you. When you click on the link and download the file that is supposed to be antivirus software, you are likely downloading something that can cause your computer serious problems.
What to Do
The best way to keep this from causing you trouble is to avoid it altogether. Always have quality antivirus software on your machine and know what its alerts look like. This way, if you do see the spyware popup, you will recognize it as malware immediately and contact a computer repair service.
If you are seeing the warning, then do not click on the link. Instead, contact computer help as soon as possible. You could even use the remote support offered at computer-help.com. You actually do have malware on your computer, but clicking on the link and downloading anything will only make matters worse. Follow your gut on this issue and get computer support to handle it quickly and easily.