Browser “Fake Updates” Malware Scheme

Imitation websites claim to update your browser, but load malware on your computer instead.


You’re on the internet when a page comes up on your computer saying your browser needs to be updated. The page looks very convincing, but the reality is, it’s fake and it’s dangerous. In fact, the fake website may automatically begin downloading malware onto your computer.

In this “Fake Updates” scheme, sophisticated hackers copy the designs of legitimate websites to persuade people to download malware disguised as a browser update. The malware infects your computer, leaving it and your personal information vulnerable to a wide variety of additional security threats.

What To Do

If you encounter a “fake update” page:

Do not click on the page and immediately close your browser.

Your browser or anti-virus program may alert you before installation, preventing the page from automatically downloading the malware. If this happens, do not install. Immediately close out of your browser.

If you clicked “install:” or any part of the pop up page:

If you clicked any part of the page, stop the installation and revert back to the last version of your computer backup in place before installing from the corrupted site.

You may need to find a professional to help you confirm the malware was not installed or to help you remove it if it was. If your computer seems slow, or if you see pop-up ads or browser add-ons you never installed, these are indications the malware may still be there.

To help protect your computer:

To find out if there are valid updates available, go to your browser’s authentic website. Only install updates from a trusted web browser provider.

Install or update anti-virus and anti-spyware programs.

For businesses or website managers, get the latest security updates and make sure your network security stays as current as possible. Many of these malware threats come from websites that have been corrupted by bad guys to do their dirty work, and you don’t want your equipment or site to be one of the corrupted hosts.

More Information

To learn more about protecting yourself from malware, visit this Cyber Aware information.

In general, make sure you only visit trusted, secure webpages and practice good cybersecurity habits online.