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One Step Ahead
July 17, 2007, Volume 54, No. 1
One Step Ahead

Another tip in a series provided by the Offices of Information Systems & Computing and Audit, Compliance & Privacy.

Bogus Warnings About Viruses & Spyware

In a December, 2006 report, Microsoft warned about an increase in offers for “rogue security software” that tries to trick unsuspecting victims into downloading harmful, malicious software. The offers come in the form of website popup windows with false warning messages like:

Warning!  1 Threat Found
Your Computer is Infected!
Security Warning! Serious Security Threat Detected
Windows has detected spyware infection!

At the bottom of the window are buttons to click with labels like:

Click here to protect your computer

When the user clicks to accept the offer, malicious software is installed that allows stealth, unauthorized access to your computer.

Some of the popup windows include a button labeled “Cancel” or “Continue unprotected.” Others display an “X” in an upper corner.  Ordinarily, clicking either “Cancel” or the “X” on a popup window would close it. However, it is best not to click anywhere on these malicious popup windows. Instead, just quit and restart your web browser.

If your computer becomes infected with a known computer virus, your anti-virus (A/V) software will display an appropriate notification. If you use Penn’s licensed A/V software, the window will be labeled either “Norton Antivirus Notification” (Mac) or “Symantec Antivirus Notification” (PC), and will contain information about the virus name, type, file location, and an indication of whether the virus was removed or quarantined. If you believe your computer may have been infected with a virus, or some other malicious software, contact your local computing support provider.


For additional tips, see the One Step Ahead link on the Information Security website: www.upenn.edu/computing/security/.

Almanac - July 17, 2007, Volume 54, No. 1