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Is a Full-Page "Pop-Up" Ad an Indication I Have Malware?

  1. Jun 11, 2018 #1
    This question relates to my Android system phone. I just bought the phone four months ago.

    I have only used it with my home WiFi (parents' house - not dorm or apartment) for three months and really only occasionally surf the web at super safe sites and/or use email on it.

    Anyhow, a couple of weeks ago (around the time my laptop "died" and went into some weird infinite loop after a Windows update for those who recall that other thread), I was surfing the web on my phone and what seemed to be an entirely new full-screen page popped up out of nowhere. It wanted me to go to some other page IIRC. It looked really suspicious and I didn't click on anything and instead closed all the browser pages. I think (IIRC) as I closed the pages that another page may have popped up too. I never clicked on those weird full-screen pop up pages though. I just closed stuff. Then I turned off WiFi immediately. I thought it may have been some kind of malware.

    Question:

    What's the likelihood that these sorts of pop-up pages happen if they are NOT malware? I'm scared to use WiFi on that phone again and only use my other back-up phone currently. Do these ads always indicate malware pretty much?

    I don't recall my finger slipping (and accidentally clicking on something) while browsing online for this weird page to have popped up. IIRC, I was reading something and it just popped up out of nowhere.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 11, 2018 #2

    jedishrfu

    Staff: Mentor

    These are often precursors to a malware infection. Usually malware gets installed because you followed some malware direction to press some button which allowed some javascript to execute which then installed the malware. That's why when these things happen you should NOT press any buttons on any dialog boxes and instead kill the whole browser process.

    You'll notice how certain dialogs will come up and you can't close the browser page or do anything other than press the dialog button. Those are the most worrisome dialogs and you must instead kill the browser process to avoid pressing that button and then when restarting not allow the browser to reload those pages again.

    I know killing the browser is often problematic and painful as you've no doubt have multiple tabs open and now you must decide whether to lose all that work but its preferable to getting a malware infection.
     
  4. Jun 12, 2018 #3

    Mark44

    Staff: Mentor

    In the past few days I watched a lot of Youtube videos on computer scams. For many of these, the first symptom was a pop-up on a web page saying that the computer or other device was infected with some virus, and directing the user to contact a certain number for "Windows Support" or some other support group.

    In all of the videos, the "help" really translated into the scam group helping themselves to your money by establishing control of the user's computer and fishing around for personal banking information, etc.

    I agree with jedi that you need to kill the browser process to close the page. I don't know what antivirus/malware tools are available for Android phones, but for computers, you really need antivirus software and antimalware software installed to prevent problems like these from occurring.
     
  5. Jun 12, 2018 #4

    jedishrfu

    Staff: Mentor

    And you need to have the good sense not to do what the malware dialog box tells you to do.

    This is a common theme in email spam too where the writer says something outrageous and usually fearful and then wants you to send it to EVERYONE you know. The more people that see the email the higher the chance of infection or scamming can happen.

    Don't be that Guy or Gal who forwards these emails to EVERYONE they know! Instead log on to PF, we are a safer alternative.
     
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