I got targeted by a pretty convincing scam today. Here’s the window that opened. It says my PC might be infected and that they will now do a quick 10 second PC scan. It comes up over a faded background that imitates what the Norton Security program looks like. It’s fairly authentic-looking, even down to the subscription status in the lower left corner that says only 30 days are remaining.

security-warning.jpg

But, if I look at the top of my browser, that warning isn’t from my Norton program, it’s from a new tab that’s appeared on my browser called urgent messages and website address that I don’t recognize.

security-warning-urgent.jpg

When I tried to close the warning I got this scary-looking display. It claims my PC is infected with five viruses and that my antivirus requires an update. It’s attempting to trick me into going to a page and downloading an alleged security update. If I were to click Proceed, I’d be taken to a site to download who-knows-what kind of malware.

security-warning-urgent-fake-norton.jpg

Despite the Norton name this displays, this is not a Norton warning. I actually have Norton, and when I opened it this is my status. All is well.

norton-already-protected.jpg

What these scammers are counting on is a panicked reaction. If I’m in a panic, I don’t look too closely to see that’s not a real Norton status. I just go ahead and click what they tell me to and quite possibly end up downloading a payload of ransomware. Or they’ll try to reel me into paying for a security service by impersonating Norton.

That’s why it’s important to always take a moment and a good, deep breath before reacting.