Don't Close That Pop-Up Window

Clicking 'No' may mean 'Yes'

protected computer

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

Pop-up ads often appear to be standard message boxes that 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 the message asks if you would like to scan your system for spyware and includes Yes and No buttons for you to enter your selection. Maybe the message 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, the message may seem innocent. The pop-up ad is 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.

In many cases, the box or button that seems to be the obvious choice for quickly getting rid of the pop-up is a link to download a virus, spyware, or other malware onto your system. By clicking No or Close, you may 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 right 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 you might be initiating a download rather than closing the pop-up ad when you click it.

To 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 that is not listed on the 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, right-click on the taskbar at the bottom of the screen and select Task Manager from the menu.

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