There are many high quality free online virus scan programs that do a great job of scanning your PC for viruses. At the same time there are programs that are not legitimate that trick you into running an online virus scan. These are malicious programs that can cause harm to your PC or they are designed to spy on your computing activity and steal your personal information.
So how can you tell the difference between the real online virus scan program and the counterfeit one? Here are a few tips to help you protect yourself from getting tricked into downloading a fake antivirus scan.
The Scan Appears While You are Browsing the Internet
If you are browsing the Internet and an offer for a free online virus scan appears out of the blue, think twice before you click. Most of the authentic online virus scan programs do not run inside your browser window. Generally, they are programs which you download and then run at your convenience and locally on your PC. Chances are the fake program will offer to scan your PC for free and then it will pretend to find an infection and scare you into purchasing the full version.
Online virus scan offers that appear as a pop-up while you are browsing are almost always bogus and designed to commit some type of malicious act. If the program is running in your browser window and preventing you from continuing with your activity, you can right click on your main toolbar to open the Task Manager window and discontinue the program. One you have done this run your real antivirus program to ensure your PC is free of any viruses.
Potential Threats Detected
You may receive a pop-up while you are browsing the Internet that claims to have detected potential threats on your PC. The program will then offer to scan your PC for free and if you click to receive the free online virus scan the program will inform you that it was able to remove a few of the viruses but not all of them. The program will then prompt you to purchase the full version to eliminate the leftover infections.
Chances are when you try to download the paid version of the program it only results in additional malware infections and an attempt to steal your credit card information. If you already have a virus program there should be no reason for you to purchase another one.
The Program Keeps Bothering You
If the program keeps appearing and asking you for permission to perform a free online virus scan this is another red flag that should make you think twice. Reputable programs that are trustworthy will not keep bothering you for access to your PC. The best thing to do is get rid of the program with your anti-malware program and then run a scan with your regular antivirus program.
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