Category Archives: Malicious web browser pop ups

Malware- how to detect it, what to do about it

What is “malware”? Any kind of unwanted or malicious software.

What does it do? Break your computer, steal your data, infect other computers. And, since we work at a hospital, it can also put patients at risk for identity theft.

What can you do? Be observant and report any suspected malware or computer technical problems right away.

Be on the lookout for these signs of malware:

  • While using a web browser, keep an eye out for unwanted pop-up windows, toolbars, or page redirects.
  • While doing other activities, keep an eye out for unusual slowness or anything else that seems out of the ordinary.
  • What about anti-virus/anti-malware pop-ups? These could be real or fake, but in either case, it means you may have malware.

What to do if you suspect malware:

  • Immediately stop using your computer. If you share the computer with others, let them know not to use it either. Put an out of order sign on it.
  • Unplug your computer’s network cable. On the back of the computer, this is the cable that looks like a phone cable, but is thicker and usually a color other than gray. Why unplug? Because malware needs network access to steal your data and/or infect other computers.
  • Report suspected malware to either Labmed IT (598-6155 or or UW Med ITS (543-7012 or



Malicious pop-up alert: fake malware infection notice

Several people have reported that they have had a very real-looking fake malware infection notice pop up on their computers while they are web browsing. It appears in the lower right corner and may even say that it is Microsoft Security Essentials. However, it says to call an 800 or 877 number for help, which is how we know it’s fake.

It may be accompanied by a fake “blue screen of death” page in the background. There have also been reports of it using sound to try to intimidate people into calling.

If you are concerned that your computer has been infected with malware, please contact your local IT staff right away. Contacts:

  • Labmed IT:, 206-598-6155
  • UW Medicine ITS:, 206-543-7012