Fake Flash Player Updates: What They Do to Your System and Your Security
Most internet users nowadays are aware that Adobe Flash Player has loads of vulnerabilities and can expose them to malware and hacking incidents. They also know that many scammers now create fake Flash Player updates to lure people into downloading viruses, ransomware, and other malicious programs. As a result, they have significantly reduced their online security risks and protected their computer system from harm.
But, if you’re one of these people, you might be wondering what would happen if you did click on the fake Adobe Flash Player pop-ups that have been floating around the internet. Well, computer expert Dave Moore has the answer for you.
In a post on normantranscript.com, Moore revealed that he was browsing through a local publication website when a new page suddenly appeared and told him to “download Flash Player to continue”. He thought this was strange since he already had Flash Player installed and made it a point to keep it updated. He then visited the official Adobe website and confirmed that he indeed had the latest version of the web client.
It didn’t even stop there. Not long after the fake Adobe Flash Player update incident, Moore got another pop-up telling him to update his Mozilla Firefox browser. He knew this was a fake alert since Firefox automatically updates itself and doesn’t require users to download anything to complete the update process.
After experiencing these two incidents, Moore decided to use a test computer to find out exactly what would happen if he did download and install the fake Flash Player update. He visited the affected website, got the pop-up, and clicked on the “OK” button to download the update. A setup wizard called “Flash Player Pro” came on the screen and proceeded to download junkware like GetSavin spyware, GetSavin browser plugin, and Whitesmoke Community Toolbar. It also replaced his homepage to “Conduit”.
A program called PC Optimizer Pro was also installed and, after doing a “scan” of Moore’s computer told him that it had numerous virus and registry problems. The program offered to “fix” the problems, but only if Moore would register on a certain web page and give his credit card number.
Moore revealed that clicking on the fake Firefox update yielded almost the same results.
His experiments show us several things. Firstly, clicking on fake Adobe Flash Player updates will almost always result in negative consequences. Moore was lucky enough in that the fake update downloaded only junkware and not ransomware, which would have rendered his system useless. Secondly, any website — even the reliable ones — can be affected. Moore reveals that many of his customers called on him for computer repairs since they had clicked on the fake update (and their computers infected with junkware) while browsing through their friendly local website.
The takeaway, then: never click on any random pop-up or window that tells you to update Adobe Flash Player or any other program, and always go to get.adobe.com/flashplayer (the official Flash Player website) to manually update the web client.
Read this post to learn more about Adobe Flash Player vulnerabilities and fixes.