Tech Tip: If This Kind of Alert Pops Up, Don’t Click on It!

You’re working at your computer when all of a sudden — BAM! — you get a pop-up notification that your PC is infected with a virus and you must “click here” to run a scan or install antivirus software.

This is a common scareware tactic used by hackers to get you to click and download a virus. (You should know that an authorized IT provider would NEVER deliver that type of pop-up to you!)

Often it will appear to be a system alert or a Microsoft operating system alert. Regardless of how legitimate it looks, NEVER click on the site or the pop-up. The safest thing to do is to close your browser. Do not click on the X, “Close” or “Cancel” button in the pop-up or on the site, because clicking on anything on the page or pop-up will trigger a virus download.

If that won’t work, bring up your task manager (hold Control + Alt + Delete on a PC and Command + Option + Esc to “Force Quit” on a Mac) and close the web browser or application where it appeared. Next, notify your IT support folks that this happened so they can double-check with a legitimate scan if your computer was infected.

Alan Edwards, CISM, is chief information officer at Computerware, Inc., in Vienna, Virginia.



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