Google Chrome users are being scared into handing over their cash to so-called tech support services who in fact are just scammers.
The scammers have found the ability to make your web browser freeze to give the illusion of some sort of crash, leaving you unable to close it. After a short while, a pop-up message will appear encouraging you to call a phone number so “engineers can walk you through the removal process”.
The obvious scaremongering is an attempt to cause panic and deceive the victim into paying for nonexistent tech support services that are not required in turn letting out all their credit card information.
The scam was uncovered by Malwarebytes, a very popular cyber security software company, they state the origin of such scams begins with infected and malicious adverts and websites with Google Chrome being the most popular target due to its massive user base.
A spokesperson for Malwarebytes said the following, “During the past quarter we have noted an increase in fake browser alerts pushing tech support scams,” further adding, “Most of these campaigns come from malicious advertising but also via compromised websites. Crooks are using all sorts of tricks to not only scare users but also to try and ‘lock’ their browsers.”
The screen freeze used by the scammers is achieved by bombarding the browser with thousands of downloads in just a few seconds.
The company explained how, “It happens too fast to see how it works, but you may be able to spot it with a powerful enough machine and if you try to close the tab early on,”
“That code triggers a very large number of downloads in rapid fire, which causes the browser to become unresponsive within a few seconds, and unable to be closed via normal means.”
The pop-up message states that the computer is now infected with several viruses and warns sensitive information has been stolen. Furthermore, it if the user does not call the number within five minutes the computer will become completely disabled rendering it useless.
The company finished saying, “Considering that Chrome has the most market share in the browser category, this is yet another example of the desire for threat actors to deploy new social engineering schemes since most of these browser lockers are distributed via malvertising, an effective mitigation method is to use an ad-blocker.
“As a last resort, the Windows Task Manager will allow you to forcefully quit the offending browser processes.”