GOOGLE CHROME users should be aware of a new scam that prevents web browser users from closing their current window – and pushing them to a fraudulent hotline, security firm Malwarebytes has cautioned.
Chrome users have been warned about a new scam employed by cybercriminals.
According to security company Malwarebytes, attackers are abusing code within the web browser to create windows that users are unable to close.
Scammers are exploiting this feature to freeze Google Chrome while simultaneously surfacing a bogus security warning.
“Your PC has alerted us that it has been infected with a virus and spyware,” the fraudulent warning tells users.
The dialogue box also contains a fake Microsoft support line number.
Since users are unable to close the window, attackers hope they’re more likely to be convinced by the security alert and call the hotline.
Those running alternative operating systems should not be affected by this scam.
Jérôme Segura, lead malware intelligence analyst at Malwarebytes, said: “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.
“Malwarebytes users were already protected against the redirection mechanism used in this attack.”
Attackers are able to freeze-up Chrome by instructing the popular web browser to download thousands of files.
This results in the Google-branded web browser quickly becoming unresponsive – making it impossible for users to close tabs or the window by clicking the X button.
Should you encounter this scam in the wild: do not call the fake Microsoft support number.
Instead, launch Windows Task Manager by pressing CTRL, ALT and DEL simultaneously – then force-close the tab responsible for crashing the browser.