Task: Safely deal with potentially dangerous internet pop-up windows to avoid downloading a virus or unwanted application. Some pop-ups try to get us to click on them to trigger another pop-up or download a virus. A pop-up may include a button that says ‘Close’ or ‘Cancel’, but there is no guarantee that the link behind the button will close the pop-up.
Solution: It is safer to close the pop-up window without clicking anywhere on it to avoid accidentally triggering a download or a hidden virus. It is recommended to close suspicious pop-ups in Task Manager (see instructions below). You can also turn on pop-up blocker to reduce pop-ups. However, not all pop-ups are bad. If a download is not launching, a file is not opening, or you only get a blank page you will need to allow access from the pop-up blocker.
How: When you are online and suddenly receive an unwanted and suspicious pop-up window, like the one below, you should immediately close the pop-up. Some pop-ups can contain a virus that was hidden from your antivirus program. If you click anywhere in the suspicious pop-up window, this could potentially infect your machine or trigger another pop-up. Follow the steps below for the best way to close the window without clicking on it.
Suspicious pop-ups include information about fake anti-virus programs like the one below:
Closing a pop-up window with Task Manager:
Right click blank space on the “Startbar” along the bottom of your computer, and choose “Start Task Manager”.
Click on the pop-up window in the “Task” screen, then choose “End Task” at the bottom.
This will close the pop-up window; then exit out of task manager.
Turning on/off the pop-up blocker in your internet browser
Internet Explorer 8:
Click on Tools > Pop-up Blocker > Turn On/Off Pop-up Blocker – and click YES if you are prompted
Most browsers have similar options. Follow this link for more details on turning on and turning off pop-up blocker in various browsers.
In Internet Explorer you can override a pop-up blocker and allow the pop-up window by holding down the ‘ctrl’ key, keep it pressed, and then launch the pop-up window.
When a Pop-up Blocker is turned on most browsers will display a notification that a pop-up was blocked. In internet Explorer a blue information bar (if turned on) under the tabs bar displays a message saying “Pop-up blocked. To see this pop-up or additional options click here.” You can right click the notification and select an action.
To allow pop-ups from safe sites in Internet Explorer follow the steps below. The steps are similar for popular browsers:
- Open Internet Explorer
- Click the Tools button, click Pop-up Blocker, and then click Pop-up Blocker Settings.
- In the Address of website to allow box, type the address (or URL) of the website you want to see pop-ups from, and then click Add.
- Repeat step 3 for every website you want to allow pop-ups from. When you are finished adding websites, click Close.
If you feel your machine might have been infected, immediately run your antivirus software to scan and clean your machine.