Photo Courtesy of Jencu from Creative Commons
A pop-up is when a new browser window unexpectedly opens on your computer while you are using the Internet. Generally, pop-ups are used for advertising, but they can also be a link to malicious software that can cause you all kinds of grief.
Sometimes the pop-ups will look like a security warning, telling you that a virus has been detected. If you have security software installed on your computer (and you do, right?), use that. Don’t ever rely on a random message from an unknown site. These pop-ups are known as FakeAV (antivirus) that encourage you to download their “security software” that is really some form of malware that could hijack your PC and steal personal and financial data off of it.
What should you do if a pop-up appears?
Close the window. Do not click on any links contained in the pop-up, or click anywhere within the ad itself. Click on the “X” button in the right top corner of the window.
Sometimes the ad will have a button that says something like “No thanks” or “Close”. If you click on these buttons, you may end up loading malicious software onto your computer. Clicking on a pop-up ad can lead to many more pop-ups appearing.
A tricky form of pop-ups is known as pop-unders. These windows open under your other browser windows and you don’t know they are there until you close the windows on top This makes it more difficult to determine which site caused the pop-unders to appear.
Most web browsers today have built-in pop-up blockers. You can determine the general settings and then make exceptions for certain sites. There are legitimate uses for pop-ups. Sometimes they are used to display additional information without having to navigate away from the window you are currently using.
If you have pop-ups blocked and a site you trust wants to open a pop-up, you’ll usually get a message asking you if you want to allow pop-ups from this site just this one time or always. This allows you to customize the blocking and protects you from random, annoying, or harmful pop-ups.
The Importance of Good Internet Security
Don’t forget about the importance of good Internet Security software. If you use Trend Micro™ Titanium ™ you have a proven technology that guards against Internet viruses, spyware, spam, and online security threats. If you accidentally click on a pop-up that tries to load malicious software onto your computer, it will be blocked and you’ll be alerted.