Scam hijacks Google Chrome browser, try to access your personal data

File photo: Sundar Pichai speaks during Google I/O Conference in the Moscone Center in San Francisco, California, June 28, 2012. (REUTERS/Stephen Lam)

Scams that hijack the world’s most popular browser, Google Chrome, makes the rounds again.

It starts with a fake error message. For computer users, this is an annoying problem, because the underlying malicious code blocks the browser. “The bug that makes sure that there is more than just an annoyance in the sense that it will make your Chrome browser unresponsive,” Jerome Segura, Lead Intelligence Analyst at Malwarebytes, told Fox News.

“In our tests, it also causes the operating system (Windows) unstable if we for a certain amount of time,” Segura said, adding that Google is looking for the problem.


The issue was addressed in a blog post this week by Malwarebytes, which was cited in a report by Ars Technica.

Google has not yet responded to a Fox News request for comment.

After the malicious code locks up the browser, the fake alert tries a user is dialing a number. Then, a person posing as a representative of the company – from, for example, a well-known American technology-company – asking for sensitive personal or financial information to fix the fake problem.

“That is where it has become a serious problem for the individual,” Inga Goddijn, executive vice president at Risk Based Security, told Fox News. “These messages are intentionally designed to cause fear and provoke users into turning over sensitive information, or in some cases even the control of their computer. From there, the scammers are really in the driver’s seat.”

There are still other variants of the scam. For example, one that also locks your browser and provides fake offers, such as a gift certificate.

And other browsers may be affected. But since Chrome is the most used web browser, faster than Microsoft, Rim, Safari and Firefox, it is the place where many users come across the problem.


Is there a solution?

There are solutions to the problem, but the solutions can vary, depending on the scam.

In Windows, you can use the Task Manager to “end task” and the end of the browser. In macOS users “force quit” a process, such as a browser.

But in some cases, however, users have to reset their browser, so that it is not open to the last opened page. Otherwise, the fake message will keep coming back and please keep up the close of the browser.

Malwarebytes provides tips on how to permanently fix the problem.

No legitimate company will lock up your browser

Finally, it is also important to remember that no legitimate company would ever intentionally freeze a browser and force a user to reveal sensitive personal information.

“Microsoft and Apple do not send unsolicited email messages or make unsolicited phone calls to request personal or financial information or fix your computer,” Malwarebytes said in a blog post. “Treat all unsolicited phone calls or pop-ups with the necessary skepticism. Do not provide any personal information.”

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