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Pop-up scam

Internet users fall for hoax Microsoft message

PC Advisor is warning internet users to be vigilant for a pop-up email, which appears to be from software giant Microsoft, warning recipients that their every move is being monitored and encouraging users to update their Privacy Protection system.

The message, which takes advantage of Microsoft's Windows Messenger service, appears in the form of a blue box on the desktop after the recipient has been online, telling them they are being monitored. It reads, "Your computer may be recording many or all of your internet activities. Personal privacy protection is possible with a security update. Download now and see what your computers has been and is recording."

The box then provides users with an ok tab which, when clicked, takes visitors through to a website owned by a company called Systemsoap that's selling history clearing software for just over £50.

The pop-up seems to be nothing more than an over-zealous marketing campaign rather than a con or trick of any kind. But Microsoft stressed that all of its updates are posted only on its website and that it never sends security updates via Windows Messenger.

Several PC Advisor forum visitors contacted us to inform us they had received the message, but thankfully saw through it.

Unfortunately, we don't have any information on the company, which has been the result of criticism in many a user forum. Visitors to website computing.net have encountered serious system errors once they have downloaded the software.

ISP AOL yesterday announced it had removed Microsoft's Windows Messenger service from 15 million of its customer accounts in a bid to stop such pop-up spam messages.

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