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Windows Security Alert Dialog Box

By Dajo
Jun 16, 2009
  1. I had no idea that a Windows Security Alert was installed on my computer. I had never seen an alert before today, which sent to running to the Windows and Microsoft support sites. I guess I figured out that it must have been installed in one of my automatic Window Updates.

    What scared me was this: I was reading some info on an internet page I had never visisted before and this Windows Security Alert dialog box pops up suddemly, saying I had malicious spyware and viruses on my computer and should get rid of them immediately or the computer would be harmed. Popped up behind the box was a full page of scan results. The name of the page in the upper left-hand corner said: "Online Scan". It listed in flashing red, very high numbers of infections and showed which area of the computer they were located. (My firewall is up and my antivirus and antispyware installed programs said nothing about all this).

    Next came a download box where they said I shoudl run their program to clean the threats. I was nervous about downloading files unknown. The only i.d. on the download thing was the address to a site named best scan 4.com I wondered why Windows would suggest such a thing. It all just didn't appear to be official Windows business to me. So I just left it.

    Could you please advise me on this? Is this all legitimate and shoudl I do that download and sweep?.
     
  2. ender

    ender TS Rookie Posts: 94

    Most likely a virus/spyware

    It's very likely that you've already been infected with a virus/trojan/spyware. Rather than visiting the bestscan4.com website (which looks like it'd just pump more spyware into your computer) better run an online virus scan from a reputable vendor (http://housecall.trendmicro.com/ and http://www.kaspersky.com/virusscanner come to mind).

    For a permanent solution install an antivirus program and make sure to keep it updated. AVG, Avast and Avira are all free for personal (home) use and provide decent security. Google will help you find the download site for whichever one you'd like to try.
     
  3. Dajo

    Dajo TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks, Ender. So was the alert box a ,malicious program or virus disguising itself as Windows?
     
  4. ender

    ender TS Rookie Posts: 94

    Well it's hard to tell without actually looking at it but attempts to con users into clicking on windows that look like OS messages have been around since... well since pop-ups were first invented in the early 90s. ;) Moreover, google has barely heard of the site you mentioned, the site is currently down and the domain is registered to some dude in Estonia which makes the entire thing even more suspicious. I may be paranoid and completely wrong about it but I always prefer to be safe first and sorry after. :stickout:

    In general, if you get a suspicious system message popping up out of the blue and telling you that something bad is about to happen to your computer it's best to do exactly what your instinct told you... ignore the 'advice' it gives you for the time being and research the matter.

    As an extra precaution I added the recommendation to do a thorough scan of the computer at the first available opportunity. There are two reasons behind this recommendation. The first one is that if the original message is correct, a second scan by a different (and trusted) antivirus should discover the same problem and give you a recommendation on how to deal with it. If that is the case you can follow the advice of the trusted source and you will probably be better off.

    If you'll consider the following anecdote I'm sure this will make a lot of sense to you. Imagine you are waiting at a stop sign, a guy you've never met in your life comes up to your car and tells you that the engine is busted while waving an official looking report in front of you. He says that if you visit his shop, conveniently located just around the corner, he can fix the issue for you. Now you know nothing about cars and the way they work so, as far as your experience goes, the guy might very well be right. But even if you do believe that, common sense will tell you that you should never ever go to his shop, even if he offers to do the repairs (almost) for free and claims that any other repair shop will charge you a hundred times more. The most likely scenario is that you will simply ignore the whole thing and laugh about it over a beer with your friends later. However, if the guy is convincing enough to scare you, what you will do is go to your good, ol', trusted mechanic, ask him to check the car and tell you if there's anything wrong with it and base your decision on this trusted assessment. :)

    The other reason for recommending a scan is related to the current proliferation of so called 'drive by' exploits. What this means in layman terms is that a computer (Windows or Mac... not sure about Linux) may get infected with all sorts of crap even if no suspicious links are clicked, no shady websites are visited and the machine is fully patched and updated. All it takes to get infected is visiting a perfectly safe and legit site that happens to host a malicious advertisment (probably because the webmasters didn't realize it was a malware-serving add before you got there). Moreover, depending on its settings, when it was last updated and what type of malware hits you, your antivirus of choice may or may not manage to protect you... and you should not think too badly about it on account of this because the antivirus vendors are fighting a battle they cannot possibly win. Running a decent antivirus solution will lessen your risk but it by no means reduces it to 0.

    Hence the conclusion is this - do not consider you machine invulnerable to malware, keep your eyes open for suspicious behavior and deal with each potential infection carefully. :cool:
     
  5. Bobbye

    Bobbye Helper on the Fringe Posts: 16,335   +36

    Please introduce yourself to the Windows security Center:
    Control Panel> Security Center.

    This keeps tab on the firewall, the antivirus program and the Windows Updates.

    I want you to know about this because it is a legitimate part of Windows and occasionally an alert will be issued. But the alert is usually in the form of the security center icon coming up in the Notification Area (by the clock).

    The "REAL" Windows Security Center is NOT going to tell you it's scanning. It's not going to tell you the system has malware. And it's NOT going to request you downloada software program to remove it!

     
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