Internet Pop-Up Ads caused by Malware

By Eric Andring, IT Compliance & Risk Manager, Bell State Bank & Trust

There have been several instances of concerned customers calling us about Internet pop-up messages when they visit our website. These messages appear to be related to, because they contain “” within the message. (See example below.) Bell State Bank & Trust does not have pop-up messages on our website offering free credit reports; therefore computers showing these messages are most likely infected with malicious software commonly known as “malware.”

Many of these pop-up messages are generated by malware located on the person’s computer. Malware is software (such as viruses, Trojans and spyware) developed for the purpose of doing harm. Having malware on a computer can compromise the privacy and security of everything done on the infected PC. The most common ways to get malware are from visiting infected websites and through email attachments. Pop-up type malware remains dormant on the computer until the user visits any banking site; then it “wakes up” and executes the command that its creator intended it to do. In the above pop-up case, it linked the computer to a free credit report website and used our website name in the body of the message.

Cyber Security tips to help you protect yourself:

  • Do not click on web links similar to the one in the example above, or you could become victim to fraud or identity theft.
  • Regularly scan your computer for viruses and malware.
  • Ensure your Antivirus program contains malware protection or buy malware protection from well known antivirus companies such as Norton, Trend Micro, and McAfee.
  • Ensure you have the latest security patches for your computer operating system (Microsoft/Apple).
  • Do not open email messages or attachments from unknown senders.
  • Do not click on email web links from unknown senders.
  • Never reply to unsolicited emails or pop-up websites asking for sensitive personal information.



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