“Windows Defender Alert: Zeus Virus Detected In Your Computer! Please Do Not Shut Down or Reset Your Computer. Your data will be compromised if you continue.” Are you continually being re-directed to a page that displays such an error message on your browser?
This is essentially a tech-support scam that is mainly triggered by a corrupted web domain to which your browser has been redirected. In most cases, this happens after you have downloaded a potentially unwanted program (adware) or clicked on a malicious link.
The pop-up message has been reported to affect all browsers, including Opera, Chrome, Firefox, and Edge. In some cases, encountering the message may render your computer unresponsive. Throughout this guide, you will learn what to do in such a case, and how you can remove the Zeus virus alerts.
How Does the Zeus Virus Scam Work?
If you are getting this error message on the browser, it is simply a scam that is aimed at stealing your credentials. The hacker(s) want you to think that your computer is infected, and disguise themselves as the Windows support team ready to help you fix the problem.
In this regard, they will tell you to call a specific number to get support. If you happen to call the number, the hacker will manipulate you to allow them remote access to your PC. They may then require you to make a small payment as fees for the support offers.
This allows them to steal your financial information and credentials as you enter them. To be safe, never call the number provided alongside the Zeus Virus alert.
How to Distinguish Real Zeus Attack From Scams
Whether you are using Mac or Windows PC, no operating system is designed to notify the user of virus attacks through the browser. The built-in Windows Defender solution in Windows, for instance, will notify you of attacks through a dedicated window.
As such, the “Windows defender alert: Zeus virus detected” notification you are getting on your browser is simply a fake. The barker(s) simply redirects the browser to the error page to make you think that the computer has crashed.
Effects of the Real Zeus Virus
First detected in 2007, Zeus is a Zbot malware tool kit, that allows the barker to generate a malicious Trojan horse. They may then use the Trojan horse to gain access to your banking information through website monitoring and keystroke logging.
The real Zeus virus may also create a botnet—a network of corrupted machines controlled by a server or command under the barker. This allows the barker to collect massive amounts of important data or even execute large-scale attacks.
The fake Zeus attack notification you are getting through the browser cannot have such an effect on your computer. In the worst-case scenario, the Zeus attack scam will only render your browser unresponsive. However, it can be very annoying as it will disrupt whatever you were doing, forcing you to close the browser entirely and start afresh.
How to Remove the Zeus Attack Notifications
In some cases, the Zeus virus pop up message may redirect your browser to a different page, and cause it to freeze. This causes the browser to be unresponsive. In such a case, you first need to force close the browser, using the Task Manager, and then remove the adware from your computer.
To close the unresponsive browser, press the Ctrl + Alt + Del keys simultaneously to open the Task Manager. Now look for the browser process on the Task Manager and terminate it. If you are using the Chrome browser, you should look for the Google Chrome process, select it, and then click on the ‘End Task’ button adjacent to it.
With the browser closed, the following methods and procedures will help you clear the Adware associated with this message to prevent it from recurring:
Method 1: Prevent the Page from Creating Additional Dialogues
This solution is ideal for a case where the pop- message is looping a modal alert causing the computer to be unresponsive. On the first prompt page of the alert, check the box next to ‘ Don’t let this page create more messages.’ Depending on the browser you are using, this may be a little different with some showing ‘Prevent this page from creating additional dialogues.’
In either case, just check the box adjacent to the option, and click on the OK button or ‘Back to safety’. Thereafter, you need to open the Task Manager by pressing the Ctrl + Alt + Delete keys combination. Next, navigate to the Processes tab on the Task Manager and right-click on your browser process.
From the context menu that just appeared, select ‘End Task’. Depending on the browser you are using, you may need to reinstall the browser as it may be missing some files. However, this will not be necessary for Internet Explorer and Edge browsers. The following procedure will help you reinstall the browser:
Step 1: Uninstall the Browser
Press the Windows +R keys in your keyboard simultaneously to bring up a Run dialog box. Now type ‘ appwiz.cpl’ into this dialog box and press Enter. On the window that opens, navigate to the ‘Programs, and Features’ category
At this point, you should look for the browser file on the list of installed programs, select on it and click on the ‘Uninstall’ button. Follow the on-screen prompts to remove the program from your computer.
Step 2: Install the Browser Afresh
Navigate to the official download page for your browser, and download the right installation files. Once the download had completed, open the downloaded file, and double-click on the executable installation file. Follow the on-screen prompts to install the browser again.
Method 2: Uninstall Malicious Programs
In some cases, the adware may be designed to ‘hijack’ your browser causing it to redirect to the notification page. This is usually caused by certain potentially unwanted programs (PUP) that are bundled with genuine programs on your computer.
The malicious code on such programs is meant to redirect the browser to the “Windows defender alert: Zeus virus detected” notification, regardless of the website you are visiting. In most cases, the PUPs are installed by mistake, directly added to the browser as add-ons or hidden within genuine program installers.
Regardless of the case, you need to inspect the programs installed on your computer and remove the malicious ones. This is how you should go about it:
Step One: Open the Control Panel
Press the Windows key to open that Start Menu. Now type Control onto the Cortana search field and press Enter. On the search results, open Control Panel and then navigate to the Uninstall a Program category.
Step Two: Uninstall the PUPs
On the list of installed programs and Apps, check to see whether you have a suspicious program installed. If you find one, select it and right-click on it. On the context menu that comes up, select Uninstall.
Repeat the procedure to remove all malicious programs from your computer. Once you are done, close the control panel and restart your computer. Check to see whether the Zeus Virus detected alert is still popping up.
Method 3: Carry Out a Deep Malware Scan
Another way to get rid of this annoying notification would be to scan your computer for viruses and malware using an antivirus program. For this purpose, you may use any of the leading anti-malware software solutions, such as Malwarebytes, and ESET.
For this guide, we will use the Windows Defender built into your Windows 10 OS. From the Taskbar notification area on your computer, open Windows defender. Now navigate to the ‘ Virus & threat protection’ tab and select the Scan option.
If you are not connected to the internet, choose the ‘ Windows Defender Offline Scan’ option. Once the anti-malware software is done scanning the computer, it will display its results. If there are viruses or malware in the search results, you need to quarantine them and restart the computer.
Method 4: Reset Browser Settings
Once you have removed the adware program from your computer, need to either reset the browser settings or reinstall the browser afresh. This method is aimed at restoring the browser settings that may have been altered by the malware program.
The easiest way to do this is to reset your browser to default settings. Additionally, you will also need to clear all the cookies and cached data on the browser. The procedure for doing this varies slightly from one browser to another, as follows:
How to Reset Firefox Browser
Launch the Mozilla Firefox browser on your PC. Next, click on the three-line menu icon on the browser window to open Help. Navigate to ‘Troubleshooting Information’s, and then click on ‘Refresh Firefox’.
How to Reset the Chrome Browser
Open the Chrome browser, and click on the three-dot menu icon towards the top-right corner of the window. From the menu that appears, select Settings. Now scroll downwards, and select the Advanced option.
Scroll to the bottom of the list, and click on ‘Restore settings to their original defaults’. Finally, you need to click on the Reset button to complete the process.
How to Reset the Edge Browser
Launch the Edge browser on your computer, and click on the three-day menu icon. Navigate to Settings, and select the ‘Clear browsing data’ option. Now click on the checkboxes adjacent to what you would like to clear.
Since you want to reset the browser to factory settings, click on the ‘Show more’ option, and ensure that all the boxes are checked. Now click on the Clear button, and then restart the Edge browser.
No anti-virus or firewall program will ever notify you of an attack through the browser, regardless of the operating system, you are using. If you are getting a Zeus virus attack notification through your browser, it is just a scam.
If you get such an alert, do not call the number provided. Instead, you need to force close the browser and follow the above-described procedures to remove the adware/malware from your computer. Thereafter, you need to reset the browser to default settings or reinstall it.
All in all, this guide will help you stop the Zeus virus-detected alerts from piping up on your screen.
Marziano is a seasoned tech expert with over 15 years of experience in the industry. Holding a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and multiple certifications, including CompTIA A+, Network+, and Cisco’s CCNA, he has a well-rounded and robust understanding of various aspects of technology.