A new scam targeting Chrome users is sweeping across the internet. Typically deployed through malicious advertisements and infected websites, it seeks to extort money from victims by asking them to call a paid tech support number. So, how does this scam work exactly, and what can you do to avoid it?
The scam involves a special Windows programming interface that allows scammers to bombard the victim’s web browser with files. In turn, this renders the victim’s browser unresponsive while displaying a warning message on screen. The message informs the victim that his or her PC has been infected with a virus, and to repair the problem, the victim must call “Microsoft” at the given number.
The phone number listed in the message, however, doesn’t connect to Microsoft; it connects to the scammers who request the victim to pay for premium support. The scammer on the other end only claims he or she is a Microsoft professional while asking for the victim’s payment information.
According to Independent, the scam was first discovered by cybersecurity professionals at Malwarebytes. When speaking about the vulnerability, the team said victims may be able to close your browser if they detect it early enough. In most cases, however, victims are bombarded too quickly to stop it.
There are a few steps Chrome users can take to protect against this scam. First and foremost, avoid visiting malicious or otherwise suspicious websites. Secondly, make sure your Chrome browser is up to date. Finally, if you discover this scam affecting your Chrome browser, restart your computer and don’t call the number.
Google Chrome remains the most popular web browser. According to StatCounter, more than 56 percent of all internet users use Chrome. Like all browsers, though, even Chrome is susceptible to cyber threats. This latest scam is just one of many vulnerabilities affecting Chrome.