Malware! Adware! Pop-ups! Oh My!

malware-artYou may have heard about, or even been the victim of, the very intrusive computer pop-up that appears to magically know who your internet service provider is. These pop-ups may say something like: “Attention Hood Canal Communications Customer, your computer has been compromised.” These pop-ups tend to be very difficult to close. Tech support has received an increased number of phone calls lately about this particular problem.

Malware and Adware can take many forms. They can be sneaky, hiding out on your hard drive and jumping out when you least expect them. Other times, they are more apparent with the fake pop-up warnings. Sometimes, they come right out and speak to you. One kind of pop-up features a person telling you that your computer is infected and you need to hurry up and take action to resolve it. The person will continue to speak until you reboot your computer.

The source of these pop-ups is often downloading free software, games, movies, and music. Always remember, there is truly nothing out there in cyberspace that is completely free. Many of the free programs bring unwanted friends, like malware or adware, with them. They can appear in the form of pop-ups and even slow down your computer.

You may wonder how these pop-ups know who your internet service provider is. Every internet service provider utilizes their own block of IP addresses. These IP addresses are assigned to the device you use to access the internet (the modem or router). Just like you can identify the town a person is calling from by their phone number, scammers can identify who your internet service provider is by the IP address you are using.

So what can you do? If you have a pop-up that says not to restart your computer, don’t believe it! The only way to get that pop-up to go away is to restart your computer. It is also suggested that you download and run Malwarebytes Free, which is available from If you have any questions, please feel free to contact HCC support, they are happy to help!

One last word on scams ”“ tech support continues to receive reports from customers that they are getting cold calls allegedly from Microsoft. The caller claims that their computer is infected with viruses. Do not allow these scammers access to your computer! They will create issues on your computer and then try to charge you to fix the problems they just created. Always stop and think, would Microsoft really call people out of the blue?

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact HCC tech support at 360.898.4357 or