A new scam wave is underway that dupes computer users into applying a rogue Critical Chrome Update, which ends up installing malicious software instead.
The present-day social engineering techniques aren’t restricted to things like dumpster diving, tailgating, spear phishing or cold-calling. In fact, browser hijacking does the trick quite well for the online realm. This method is also a godsend for crooks who try to deposit harmful code on PCs. A recent campaign involving Critical Chrome Update popups is aimed at manipulating gullible users into clicking a booby-trapped Download Now button. The actual payload tends to be a self-extracting ZIP archive with spyware or file-encrypting ransomware on board.
Some of the reported domains hosting these malicious executables include tahxiintimes-niedersachsen.org, johphblogger-hints-and-tips.org, and iexaidlepro.org. The network of these unsafe pages is fast-flux, so the domain names keep changing so that blacklisting mechanisms or web browsers and antimalware suites do not block them. The actual URL will also contain a long tail of random-looking characters so that the right infection is delivered.
The threat actors at the helm of this fraud have made their landing page look true-to-life. The design encompasses a large logo in the center that’s identical to Chrome’s. The part above it includes the inscription “Critical Chrome Update” and the above-mentioned download button leading to a site that hosts the actual malware. The deceptive website under scrutiny pops up for a reason. These recurrent events indicate the presence of a potentially unwanted program (PUP) on the machine. In other words, the issue is isolated to a specific computer. Web browsers start acting up because the perpetrating plugin forces the Internet preferences to default to a wrong value.
Consequently, the splash screens or new tabs with the fake Critical Chrome Update message will be appearing in the middle of the victim’s web surfing sessions. Incidentally, other browsers such as Firefox, IE and Safari, may be at risk as well. Not only do such interruptions diminish user experience, but they also call forth browser instability and privacy issues. The latter side effect may be due to the harvesting of personally identifiable data related to one’s Internet navigation.
The PUP in question usually slithers its way into a system by dint of a tricky method called bundling. The downloader for this redirect virus smolders inside third-party software installation clients. The affiliated programs are mainly innocuous freeware entities that look like a lure, so most people just keep hitting Next to complete the setup quickly. But the peril hides within the recommended installation option, so it will sneak inside without letting the would-be victim know. The moral of the story is that it’s imperative to at least have a look at the custom setup configuration, which should display the complete list of promoted software. In case the Critical Chrome Update scam popups are constantly going off during web browsing, be sure to use the malware removal walkthrough below.
Automated removal of Critical Chrome Update popup virus
Owing to an up-to-date database of malware signatures and intelligent behavioral detection, the recommended software can quickly locate the infection, eradicate it and remediate all harmful changes. So go ahead and do the following:
1. Download and install the antimalware tool. Open the solution and have it check your PC for PUPs and other types of malicious software by clicking the Start Computer Scan button
2. Rest assured the scan report will list all items that may harm your operating system. Select the detected entries and click Fix Threats to get the troubleshooting completed.
Use Control Panel to get rid of Critical Chrome Update hijacker
• Open up the Control Panel from your Start menu in Windows and select Uninstall a program
• To facilitate the process of locating the threat, sort the programs list by date to get the latest ones displayed at the very top. Find unfamiliar entry or entries under the Name column, click Uninstall and follow further directions to get the removal done
Restore web browser settings to their original defaults
In the circumstances of a complex browser hijack like this, executing a reset makes the most sense despite a few obvious downsides. Customizations such as saved passwords, bookmarked pages etc. will be gone, but so will all the changes made by the potentially unwanted program. The instructions below address the workflow for the web browsers most targeted by the Critical Chrome Update scam.
Reset Mozilla Firefox
• Open Firefox, type about:support in the URL area and press Enter
• On the Troubleshooting Information screen, spot the Refresh Firefox button and click on it
• Follow subsequent directions to reset Firefox to its original settings
• Restart the browser.
Reset Google Chrome
• Open Chrome, click the icon for Chrome menu and choose Settings
• Scroll down the settings screen and click Show advanced settings
• Click Reset settings
• Finally, confirm the restoration by clicking Reset on the warning message
• Restart Chrome.
Reset Internet Explorer
• Select Internet options under IE’s Tools
• Proceed by clicking on Advanced tab, then select Reset
• To confirm the intended changes, click Reset on the Reset Internet Explorer Settings screen after ascertaining that the Delete personal settings checkbox is enabled
• Reboot the machine to fully implement the fix.
• Go to the Safari menu and select Preferences
• When on the Preferences screen, select the Privacy tab and hit the Remove All Website Data button if you are up to erasing all website data stored on your Mac. Otherwise, you can use a site-specific removal option described below
• A dialog will appear, asking you to validate your choice. Click the Remove Now button if you are sure. Be advised this will log you out of online services and undo personalized web browser settings such as saved passwords, etc.
• Safari also allows deleting data for specific sites rather than all sites in general. To use this option, click the Details button under Privacy tab
• Select the websites for which you would like to erase data and click the Remove button
• Click the Done button to confirm and exit. You can also select the Remove All option to remove all data stored by the listed websites.
Revise your security status
Post-factum assessment of the accuracy component in malware removal scenarios is a great habit that prevents the comeback of harmful code or replication of its unattended fractions. Make sure you are good to go by running an additional safety checkup.