Don't Close That Pop-Up Window!

Clicking "No" May Mean "Yes"

Even with new browsers and security technology aimed at reducing or eliminating annoying pop-up ads, it seems that a few still manage to slip by on occasion. Many users simply close the pop-up box and continue with what they were doing. But, "closing" the pop-up box may just be an invitation to download some sort of virus or other malware onto your system.

Pop-up ads often appear to be standard message boxes which users of Microsoft Windows operating systems are used to seeing. They typically contain a short message or alert of some sort and have a button or buttons at the bottom. Perhaps it asks if you would like to scan your system for spyware, and includes "Yes" and "No" buttons for you to enter your selection. Or, maybe it is just an alert of some sort with a button at the bottom to "Close" the window.

Don't Trust Pop-Ups

At first glance, it seems innocent enough. The pop-up ad is slightly annoying, but at least whoever made it and sent it to your computer was nice enough to give you a simple way to get rid of it, right? Well, sometimes that is true, but not always. Obviously, if the creator of the pop-up ad truly had high moral and ethical standards, you wouldn't be getting the pop-up ad in the first place.

In many cases, the box or button that seems to be the obvious choice for quickly getting rid of the pop-up is actually a link to download some sort of virus, spyware or other malware onto your system. By clicking "No" or "Close" you may actually be inadvertently downloading malware onto your computer.

Safely Closing Pop-Up Ads

To avoid accidentally infecting your computer, some security experts recommend that you click on the "X" in the upper righthand corner of the pop-up window rather than using the buttons within the pop-up. However, some of the more malicious pop-ups may even have disguised a malware download to mimic that "X", and again you might actually be initiating a download rather than closing the pop-up ad.

To really play it safe, you should right-click the pop-up ad in your taskbar and select "Close" from the menu. If you have a pop-up ad which is not listed on your taskbar, you may need to dive into the Task Manager to shut down the application or process behind the pop-up ad. To access Task Manager, you can right-click on the taskbar at the bottom of the screen and select Task Manager from the menu.