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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 scamRed 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
  • 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 Reimage Cleaner Intego 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 Reimage Cleaner Intego is a perfect choice for Critical ERROR removal.

Image of Critical ERROR scam"Critical ERROR" scam might target Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Microsoft Edge users.

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. 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 errorGoogle 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 may remove virus damage with a help of Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego. SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner and Malwarebytes are recommended to 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 Intego, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage Intego has a free limited scanner. Reimage Intego offers more through scan when you purchase its full version. When free scanner detects issues, you can fix them using free manual repairs or you can decide to purchase the full version in order to fix them automatically.
Alternative Software
Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Reimage, try running SpyHunter 5.
Alternative Software
Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Intego, try running Combo Cleaner.

To remove Critical ERROR scam, follow these steps:

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:

To remove Critical ERROR scam from Windows 10/8  machines, please follow these steps:

  1. Enter Control Panel into Windows search box and hit Enter or click on the search result.
  2. Under Programs, select Uninstall a program.Uninstall from Windows 1
  3. From the list, find entries related to Critical ERROR scam (or any other recently installed suspicious program).
  4. Right-click on the application and select Uninstall.
  5. If User Account Control shows up, click Yes.
  6. Wait till uninstallation process is complete and click OK.Uninstall from Windows 2

If you are Windows 7/XP user, proceed with the following instructions:

  1. Click on Windows Start > Control Panel located on the right pane (if you are Windows XP user, click on Add/Remove Programs).
  2. In Control Panel, select Programs > Uninstall a program.Uninstall from Windows 7/XP
  3. Pick the unwanted application by clicking on it once.
  4. At the top, click Uninstall/Change.
  5. In the confirmation prompt, pick Yes.
  6. Click OK once the removal process is finished.

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'

Delete Critical ERROR scam from Internet Explorer (IE)

Follow these steps to remove Internet Explorer Critical Error:

Remove dangerous add-ons:

  1. Open Internet Explorer, click on the Gear icon (IE menu) on the top-right corner of the browser
  2. Pick Manage Add-ons.
  3. You will see a Manage Add-ons window. Here, look for Critical ERROR scam and other suspicious plugins. Click on these entries and select Disable.Remove add-ons from Internet Explorer

Change your homepage if it was altered:

  1. Open IE and click on the Gear icon.
  2. Select Internet Options.
  3. In the General tab, delete the Home page address and replace it by your preferred one (for example,
  4. Click Apply and then select OK.Reset IE homepage

Delete temporary files:

  1. Press on the Gear icon and select Internet Options.
  2. Under Browsing history, click Delete…
  3. Select relevant fields and press Delete.Clear temporary files from Internet Explorer

Reset Internet Explorer:

  1. Click on Gear icon > Internet options and select Advanced tab.
  2. Select Reset.
  3. In the new window, check Delete personal settings and select Reset again to complete Critical ERROR scam removal.Reset Internet Explorer

Eliminate Critical ERROR scam from Microsoft Edge

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

Delete unwanted extensions from MS Edge:

  1. Select Menu (three horizontal dots at the top-right of the browser window) and pick Extensions.
  2. From the list, pick the Critical ERROR scam-related extension and click on the Gear icon.
  3. Click on Uninstall at the bottom.Remove extensions from Edge

Clear cookies and other browser data:

  1. Click on the Menu (three horizontal dots at the top-right of the browser window) and select Privacy & security.
  2. Under Clear browsing data, pick Choose what to clear.
  3. Select everything (apart from passwords, although you might want to include Media licenses as well, if applicable) and click on Clear.Clear Edge browsing data

Reset MS Edge if that above steps did not work:

  1. Press on Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open Task Manager.
  2. Click on More details arrow at the bottom of the window.
  3. Select Details tab.
  4. Now scroll down and locate every entry with Microsoft Edge name in it. Right-click on each of them and select End Task to stop MS Edge from running.Reset MS Edge

If this solution failed to help you, you need to use an advanced Edge reset method. Note that you need to backup your data before proceeding.

  1. Find the following folder on your computer: C:\\Users\\%username%\\AppData\\Local\\Packages\\Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge_8wekyb3d8bbwe.
  2. Press Ctrl + A on your keyboard to select all folders.
  3. Right-click on them and pick DeleteAdvanced MS Edge reset 1
  4. Now right-click on the Start button and pick Windows PowerShell (Admin).
  5. When the new window opens, copy and paste the following command, and then press Enter:

    Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers -Name Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.InstallLocation)\\AppXManifest.xml” -VerboseAdvanced MS Edge reset 2

Instructions for Chromium-based Edge

Delete extensions from MS Edge (Chromium):

  1. Open Edge and click select Settings > Extensions.
  2. Delete unwanted extensions by clicking Remove.Remove extensions from Chromium Edge

Clear cache and site data:

  1. Click on Menu and go to Settings.
  2. Select Privacy and services.
  3. Under Clear browsing data, pick Choose what to clear.
  4. Under Time range, pick All time.
  5. Select Clear now.Clear browser data from Chroum Edge

Reset Chromium-based MS Edge:

  1. Click on Menu and select Settings.
  2. On the left side, pick Reset settings.
  3. Select Restore settings to their default values.
  4. Confirm with Reset.Reset Chromium Edge

Uninstall Critical ERROR scam from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

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

Remove dangerous extensions:

  1. Open Mozilla Firefox browser and click on the Menu (three horizontal lines at the top-right of the window).
  2. Select Add-ons.
  3. In here, select plugins that are related to Critical ERROR scam and click Remove.Remove extensions from Firefox

Clear cookies and site data:

  1. Click Menu and pick Options.
  2. Go to Privacy & Security section.
  3. Scroll down to locate Cookies and Site Data.
  4. Click on Clear Data…
  5. Select Cookies and Site Data, as well as Cached Web Content and press Clear.Clear cookies and site data from Firefox

In case Critical ERROR scam did not get removed after following the instructions above, reset Mozilla Firefox:

  1. Open Mozilla Firefox browser and click the Menu.
  2. Go to Help and then choose Troubleshooting Information.Reset Firefox 1
  3. Under Give Firefox a tune up section, click on Refresh Firefox…
  4. Once the pop-up shows up, confirm the action by pressing on Refresh Firefox – this should complete Critical ERROR scam removal.Reset Firefox 2

Erase Critical ERROR scam from Google Chrome

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

Delete malicious extensions from Google Chrome:

  1. Open Google Chrome, click on the Menu (three vertical dots at the top-right corner) and select More tools > Extensions.
  2. In the newly opened window, you will see all the installed extensions. Uninstall all the suspicious plugins that might be related to Critical ERROR scam by clicking Remove.Remove extensions from Chrome

Clear cache and web data from Chrome:

  1. Click on Menu and pick Settings.
  2. Under Privacy and security, select Clear browsing data.
  3. Select Browsing history, Cookies and other site data, as well as Cached images and files.
  4. Click Clear data.Clear cache and web data from Chrome

If the above-methods did not help you, reset Google Chrome to eliminate all the Critical ERROR scam-components:

  1. Click on Menu and select Settings.
  2. In the Settings, scroll down and click Advanced.
  3. Scroll down and locate Reset and clean up section.
  4. Now click Restore settings to their original defaults.
  5. Confirm with Reset settings to complete Critical ERROR scam removal.Reset Chrome 2

Remove Critical ERROR scam from Safari

Remove unwanted extensions from Safari:

  1. Click Safari > Preferences…
  2. In the new window, pick Extensions.
  3. Select the unwanted extension related to Critical ERROR scam and select Uninstall.Remove extensions from Safari

Clear cookies and other website data from Safari:

  1. Click Safari > Clear History…
  2. From the drop-down menu under Clear, pick all history.
  3. Confirm with Clear History.Clear cookies and website data from Safari

Reset Safari if the above-mentioned steps did not help you:

  1. Click Safari > Preferences…
  2. Go to Advanced tab.
  3. Tick the Show Develop menu in menu bar.
  4. From the menu bar, click Develop, and then select Empty Caches.Reset Safari

Do not let government spy on you

The government has many issues in regards to tracking users' data and spying on citizens, so you should take this into consideration and learn more about shady information gathering practices. Avoid any unwanted government tracking or spying by going totally anonymous on the internet. 

You can choose a different location when you go online and access any material you want without particular content restrictions. You can easily enjoy internet connection without any risks of being hacked by using Private Internet Access VPN.

Control the information that can be accessed by government any other unwanted party and surf online without being spied on. Even if you are not involved in illegal activities or trust your selection of services, platforms, be suspicious for your own security and take precautionary measures by using the VPN service.

Backup files for the later use, in case of the malware attack

Computer users can suffer various losses due to cyber infections or their own faulty doings. Software issues created by malware or direct data loss due to encryption can lead to problems with your device or permanent damage. When you have proper up-to-date backups, you can easily recover after such an incident and get back to work.

It is crucial to create updates to your backups after any changes on the device, so you can get back to the point you were working on when malware changes anything or issues with the device causes data or performance corruption. Rely on such behavior and make file backup your daily or weekly habit.

When you have the previous version of every important document or project you can avoid frustration and breakdowns. It comes in handy when malware occurs out of nowhere. Use Data Recovery Pro for the system restoring purpose.

About the author
Olivia Morelli
Olivia Morelli - Ransomware analyst

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