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An ANSWER to the Coupons.com virus reports

Heather.Wheeler

After some extensive research into the recent reports that coupons.com is infecting computers with viruses the final verdict is: COUPONS.COM SAFE!

We’ve been in contact with coupons.com and they have read and are reading your comments!  Rest assured, steps are being taken to fix the issue.  Below is a recent comment left from coupons.com technical services:

Hello Couponers,

We at Coupons.com are sorry to hear of your experiences with this browser redirect trojan and are actively pursuing this issue as a top priority. We take this problem very seriously as any sort of trojan that attempts to associate itself with our reputable name is simply unacceptable.

Because the source of this problem exists outside of our systems and affects such a small percentage of our visitors, it has been difficult to reproduce it in our testing environments; However, we are making headway in gathering the data we need to track down the culprit. The one thing that we are absolutely certain of is that it does not exist within our servers, our software, or our website’s source code.

We have been been able to determine that users that are affected by this fake alert are not infected with a virus unless he or she complies with the prompts. We are also looking into the possibility that the problem exists within one of our third-party ad providers as one helpful person here has suggested. We are pursuing all technically-feasible possibilities imaginable to isolate and eliminate the source of this issue.

Again we apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you, and remind you that whenever and wherever you encounter a redirect trojan of this kind on the Internet, never click on any part of the window or any prompts that may subsequently appear. The safest thing to do at that point is to force the browser to close by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Delete, running your Task Manager, and manually shutting down all of your browser and prompt windows.

Technical Services
Coupons.com Incorporated

Apparently upon entering coupons.com many people have had a browser window pop-up pretending to be AVG anti-virus software informing them that their computer has been infected and needs to be scanned.  It then directs the user to push the button to fix the problem.  Once the button is pushed the virus is then released into the computer.  The pop-up further advises the user to purchase their product in order to fully delete the virus all in hopes of stealing their credit card information.  DO NOT push the button.  If you already have and think that your computer has been infected use your own anti-virus software to run a scan or contact your provider.

We have contacted Coupons.com ourselves as have many of our fellow coupon websites.   A very thorough letter was sent from Coupons.com to Hip2Save explaining in further detail the safety of their website:

Hello Couponers! My name is Rich and I am a Support Engineer at Coupons.com.

We are sorry to hear about these reports of viruses on our website and we have already reviewed our code to make certain that this issue is not being caused by or originating from our end.

The problems being described here indicate that some of our users are being tricked by a browser redirect trojan that has been sitting latently on their local machine since it was downloaded, most likely from a questionable file sharing network file, questionable email, questionable website, even an instant messaging program with sharing rights enabled.

The trojan modifies your web browser to redirect to a malicious website that is made to look like a Microsoft “My Computer” window running a fake virus scan that is detecting non-existent threats on their computer. This is not a real Microsoft window, you are not seeing a real virus scanner, the threats being shown do not really exist. There is only one virus here and that’s the one that keeps sending you to the malicious website. In that sense it is a pretty mild threat to your computer other than being very annoying and possibly scary.

This is a popular scam that resurfaces around the web from time to time. It is meant to draw people into downloading a real trojan that will continue to annoy its victims with more fake virus alerts even more persistently until they submit to and purchase a fake program that does absolutely nothing. The scammer can then attempt to use that credit card information for other purposes. Please do not follow the instructions on this malicious website. When you see it, close your browser.

There is a lot of useful information on the Internet on how to identify the source of and remove the trojan responsible for this annoyance. Please visit Google and search for “Fake AVG 2011″ for more information about this issue and how to remove it from you computer.

Again I wanted to reassure you that Coupons.com is not infected with a virus, and is not infecting your computer with a virus either. Our website is likely being targeted by the redirect virus on your computer by some logic unknown to us, probably because it is a popular site in your browsing history. My recommendation is to research the issue through Google, follow the solutions to neutralize the redirect virus, and use caution moving forward when downloading unknown emails, files, and websites to ensure it doesn’t find its way back on to your machine again.

Use extra caution when any window pops up asking you to take action.  But be reassured that Coupons.com is safe and happy coupon clipping can resume!

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