Severity scale:  
  (31/100)

Critical ERROR scam (Red screen virus)

removal by Olivia Morelli - - | Type: Malware

Critical ERROR scam – a fake warning message using evil tactics to impersonate Microsoft 

Examples of Critical ERROR scam
Red screen critical ERROR virus misleadingly claims that it was triggered by Microsoft. However, it belongs to cybercriminals.

Questions about Critical ERROR scam

Critical ERROR is a scam which has nothing to do with Microsoft. This red screen message has been used to scare people about invented problems on Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, and other web browsers. While trying to mislead users into thinking that their personal information is in danger, scammers display a red screen error which shows up on the screen while they browsing the Internet. Please, do NOT fall for Google Chrome critical error and similar scams because they belong to scammers who will do their best to steal your money, credit card details and other personal information or infect your PC with malware.

Name Critical ERROR scam
Type Tech support scam/virus
Versions
  • Google Chrome Critical ERROR;
  • Microsoft Edge Critical ERROR scam;
  • Mozilla Firefox Critical ERROR message;
  • Internet Explorer Critical ERROR virus.
Symptoms Causes a red warning message on the affected browser which reports about the risk of the identity theft. Pushes victim into contacting certified Microsoft's technicians who are all fake
Numbers used by this scam
  • +1(888)-780-0587;
  • +1(800)-757-326; 
  • +1(888)-562-5234;
  • +1(877)-556-6888;
  • +1(877)-777-8951
removal Use Reimage to check the system for adware-type viruses causing the fake error messages on your screen

Users might become victims of the Critical ERROR tech support scam[1] while they are browsing on infected or high-risk websites. However, if the browser continuously opens a new tab or window with this site, it’s definitely caused by the potentially unwanted program (PUP), usually adware.

The Critical ERROR red screen virus is designed to redirect users to a corrupted website that delivers a message warning about computer infection and urges to call a provided phone number. Criminals might pretend to be official Microsoft support technicians and:

  • sell you a useless security software to get your credit card information;
  • convince you into installing remote access software to solve the problem quicker;
  • download malware, ransomware[2] or spyware into your computer.

Scammers are great in human psychology and can use social engineering perfectly. Thus, you may not notice how you follow their demands and give everything they ask for. For this reason, you should not call them even for fun. If redirects continue, you should take all necessary measures to remove Critical ERROR virus from the device.

In order to clean the computer quickly and without putting too much effort, you should take advantage of professional anti-malware software. Anti-malware such as Reimage is a perfect choice for Critical ERROR removal.

Versions of Critical ERROR scam

Mozilla Firefox Critical ERROR. This version of tech support scam is designed to trick Firefox users that their personal data is in danger. The malicious website delivers a fake authentication box that requires entering username and password. However, none of your current credentials will work. It’s a trickery that is supposed to convince you into calling a fake support line.

Crooks are known for using +1 (877) 556-6888 and +1 (877) 777-8951 numbers. The message itself might also provide an error code. Currently, it delivers critical system errors 0xKB1546764 and 0xKB6301092. However, none of them are real, and calling provided number is not recommended.

Internet Explorer Critical Error. IE users might be tricked that their computers are infected with RDN/Trojan.worm![rand]. In order to protect their passwords, browsing-related information, browsing history, identity and credit card information from being exposed or sold, users have to call +1 888 780 0587.

However, this number does not belong to Microsoft Technical Support as the message says. Therefore, the call might be expensive (even if it says it’s toll-free), crooks might actually swindle your sensitive data, money or get access to your computer.

MS Edge affected by scam
Microsoft Edge critical error virus affects the specific web browser. However, there are numerous versions designed to affect other web browsers.

Microsoft Edge Critical ERROR. Cybercriminals pretend to be official Microsoft technicians that report about detected viruses on the computer. This critical system error also asks to call a toll-free number 1-844-734-4622 in order to get needed help to fix the computer.

However, Microsoft does not deliver security alerts on Microsoft Edge. Thus, this pop-up is a created by cyber criminals that have hidden purposes, such as selling you a useless security software or getting remote access to your PC and installing malware.

Google Chrome Critical Error. Chrome is the most popular web browser, so there's no surprise that Chrome users can receive Critical Error alert too. This version of tech support scam barely differs from the previous ones. Scammers threaten that user's private information might be in danger and they need to call + 1 (888) 562-5234 phone number to get needed help.

However, redirects to a malicious website that delivers a fake critical error pop-up are usually triggered by adware. Thus, users are advised to check computer’s security and eliminate the potentially unwanted program to stop this activity. Hence, calling fake “Help Desk” won't help to solve the problem.

Google Chrome fake critical error
Google Chrome critical error virus is the most popular version of the scam.

Users fall into installing adware because of lack of attention

As you already know, various adware programs might be responsible for redirecting to Critical system ERROR scam website. Infiltration of the PUP might seem mysterious. However, security experts from the UK, Germany,[3] and the U.S. report that there’s no mystery; it’s only a deceptive software marketing method known as bundling.

It allows adding the PUP into freeware or shareware package. Therefore, when a user downloads a program, he or she might install it as well. The hijack might be unexpected if you use Standard/Recommended setup because it does not openly disclose about third-party apps. Thus, you should never rely on them.

Always install new software under Advanced/Custom settings and opt out all pre-selected applications. Most of them are useless, and you should not test out them.

Get rid of Critical ERROR virus from your browsers entirely by using a simple guide

To remove Critical ERROR Red screen virus from Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome might seem like a simple task. However, you will have to find all PUPs, hijackers, and adware, hiding on your system and causing fake ads while you are browsing the web. Typically, such threats infiltrate systems together with legitimate software, so there is no surprise that you can't remember downloading such a virus to your computer.

If you want to fasten the entire process, we recommend using anti-malware software. Updated security software can not only take care of Critical ERROR removal. It can also help you identify and terminate all PUPs that are considered to be suspicious. After you finish this procedure, make sure you reset your web browsers to clean them entirely.

You can remove virus damage automatically with a help of one of these programs: Reimage, Malwarebytes MalwarebytesCombo Cleaner, Plumbytes Anti-MalwareMalwarebytes Malwarebytes. We recommend these applications because they detect potentially unwanted programs and viruses with all their files and registry entries that are related to them.

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What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove virus damage using Reimage, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage is recommended to remove virus damage. Free scanner allows you to check whether your PC is infected or not. If you need to remove malware, you have to purchase the licensed version of Reimage malware removal tool.
Alternative Software
Different security software includes different virus database. If you didn’t succeed in finding malware with Reimage, try running alternative scan with Malwarebytes.
Alternative Software
Different security software includes different virus database. If you didn’t succeed in finding malware with Reimage, try running alternative scan with Combo Cleaner.

To remove Critical ERROR scam, follow these steps:

WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Remove Critical ERROR scam from Windows systems

To get rid of Red screen virus, note that it is triggered by the adware program hiding on your system. Follow instructions given below to get rid of suspicious entries:

  1. Click Start Control Panel Programs and Features (if you are Windows XP user, click on Add/Remove Programs). Click 'Start -> Control Panel -> Programs and Features' (if you are 'Windows XP' user, click on 'Add/Remove Programs').
  2. If you are Windows 10 / Windows 8 user, then right-click in the lower left corner of the screen. Once Quick Access Menu shows up, select Control Panel and Uninstall a Program. If you are 'Windows 10 / Windows 8' user, then right-click in the lower left corner of the screen. Once 'Quick Access Menu' shows up, select 'Control Panel' and 'Uninstall a Program'.
  3. Uninstall Critical ERROR scam and related programs
    Here, look for Critical ERROR scam or any other recently installed suspicious programs.
  4. Uninstall them and click OK to save these changes. Right click on each of suspicious entries and select 'Uninstall'
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Get rid of Critical ERROR scam from Mac OS X system

To delete Red screen critical error from Mac, you need to find questionable add-ons and extensions on your computer. We also recommend eliminating PC optimization tools as most of them are considered unsafe.

  1. If you are using OS X, click Go button at the top left of the screen and select Applications. Cick 'Go' and select 'Applications'
  2. Wait until you see Applications folder and look for Critical ERROR scam or any other suspicious programs on it. Now right click on every of such entries and select Move to Trash. Click on every malicious entry and select 'Move to Trash'
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Delete Critical ERROR scam from Internet Explorer (IE)

Follow these steps to remove Internet Explorer Critical Error:

  1. Remove dangerous add-ons
    Open Internet Explorer, click on the Gear icon (IE menu) on the top right corner of the browser and choose Manage Add-ons. Click on menu icon and select 'Manage add-ons'
  2. You will see a Manage Add-ons window. Here, look for Critical ERROR scam and other suspicious plugins. Disable these entries by clicking Disable: Right click on each of malicious entries and select 'Disable'
  3. Change your homepage if it was altered by virus:
    Click on the gear icon (menu) on the top right corner of the browser and select Internet Options. Stay in General tab.
  4. Here, remove malicious URL and enter preferable domain name. Click Apply to save changes. Delete malicious URL, enter your desired domain name and click 'Apply' to save changes
  5. Reset Internet Explorer
    Click on the gear icon (menu) again and select Internet options. Go to Advanced tab.
  6. Here, select Reset.
  7. When in the new window, check Delete personal settings and select Reset again to complete Critical ERROR scam removal. Go to 'Advanced' tab and click on 'Reset' button. Now select 'Delete personal settings' and click on 'Reset' button again
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Eliminate Critical ERROR scam from Microsoft Edge

These instructions will help you to remove Microsoft Edge Critical Error:

Reset Microsoft Edge settings (Method 1):

  1. Launch Microsoft Edge app and click More (three dots at the top right corner of the screen).
  2. Click Settings to open more options.
  3. Once Settings window shows up, click Choose what to clear button under Clear browsing data option. Go to Settings and select 'Choose what to clear'
  4. Here, select all what you want to remove and click Clear. Select 'Clear' button
  5. Now you should right-click on the Start button (Windows logo). Here, select Task Manager. Open the start menu and select 'Task Manager'
  6. When in Processes tab, search for Microsoft Edge.
  7. Right-click on it and choose Go to details option. If can’t see Go to details option, click More details and repeat previous steps. Right-click 'Microsoft Edge' and select 'Go to details' Select 'More details' if 'Go to details' option fails to show up
  8. When Details tab shows up, find every entry with Microsoft Edge name in it. Right click on each of them and select End Task to end these entries. Find Microsoft Edge entries and select 'End Task'

Resetting Microsoft Edge browser (Method 2):

If Method 1 failed to help you, you need to use an advanced Edge reset method.

  1. Note: you need to backup your data before using this method.
  2. Find this folder on your computer: C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge_8wekyb3d8bbwe.
  3. Select every entry which is saved on it and right click with your mouse. Then Delete option. Go to Microsoft Edge folder on your computer, right-click every entry and click 'Delete'
  4. Click the Start button (Windows logo) and type in window power in Search my stuff line.
  5. Right-click the Windows PowerShell entry and choose Run as administrator. Find Windows PowerShell, right-click it and select 'Run as administrator'
  6. Once Administrator: Windows PowerShell window shows up, paste this command line after PS C:\WINDOWS\system32> and press Enter:
    Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers -Name Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register $($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml -Verbose}
    Copy and paste a required command and press 'Enter'

Once these steps are finished, Critical ERROR scam should be removed from your Microsoft Edge browser.

WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Uninstall Critical ERROR scam from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

These guidelines will explain to you how to get rid of Mozilla Firefox Critical Error:

  1. Remove dangerous extensions
    Open Mozilla Firefox, click on the menu icon (top right corner) and select Add-ons Extensions. Click on menu icon and select 'Add-ons'
  2. Here, select Critical ERROR scam and other questionable plugins. Click Remove to delete these entries. Select 'Extensions' and look for malicious entries. Click 'Remove' to get rid of each of them
  3. Reset Mozilla Firefox
    Click on the Firefox menu on the top left and click on the question mark. Here, choose Troubleshooting Information. Click on menu icon and then on '?'. Select 'Troubleshooting Information'
  4. Now you will see Reset Firefox to its default state message with Reset Firefox button. Click this button for several times and complete Critical ERROR scam removal. Click on 'Reset Firefox' button for a couple of times
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Erase Critical ERROR scam from Google Chrome

Follow the instructions below to wipe out Google Chrome Critical Error entirely:

  1. Delete malicious plugins
    Open Google Chrome, click on the menu icon (top right corner) and select Tools Extensions. Click on menu icon. Select 'Tools' and 'Extensions'
  2. Here, select Critical ERROR scam and other malicious plugins and select trash icon to delete these entries. Look for malicious entries and delete each of them by clicking on the Trash bin icon
  3. Click on menu icon again and choose Settings Manage Search engines under the Search section. When in 'Settings', select 'Manage search engines...'
  4. When in Search Engines..., remove malicious search sites. You should leave only Google or your preferred domain name. Click 'X' to remove malicious URLs
  5. Reset Google Chrome
    Click on menu icon on the top right of your Google Chrome and select Settings.
  6. Scroll down to the end of the page and click on Reset browser settings. When in 'Settings', scroll down to 'Reset browser settings' button and click on it
  7. Click Reset to confirm this action and complete Critical ERROR scam removal. Click on 'Reset' button to complete your removal
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Remove Critical ERROR scam from Safari

  1. Remove dangerous extensions
    Open Safari web browser and click on Safari in menu at the top left of the screen. Once you do this, select Preferences. Click on 'Safari' and select 'Preferences'
  2. Here, select Extensions and look for Critical ERROR scam or other suspicious entries. Click on the Uninstall button to get rid each of them. Go to 'Extensions' and uninstall malicious add-ons
  3. Reset Safari
    Open Safari browser and click on Safari in menu section at the top left of the screen. Here, select Reset Safari.... Click on 'Safari' and select 'Reset Safari...'
  4. Now you will see a detailed dialog window filled with reset options. All of those options are usually checked, but you can specify which of them you want to reset. Click the Reset button to complete Critical ERROR scam removal process. Select all options and click on 'Reset' button

About the author

Olivia Morelli
Olivia Morelli - Ransomware analyst

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References

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