You Mac May Be Infected By A Virus! POP-UP Scam (Mac)

Also Known As: "You Mac may be infected by a virus!" virus
Type: Mac Virus
Damage level: Medium

What is Your Mac may be infected by a virus!?

"Your Mac may be infected by a virus!" is a fake error message delivered by various deceptive websites. Research shows that users often visit these sites inadvertently - they are redirected by potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) or intrusive ads displayed on other malicious websites.

In most cases, potentially unwanted programs infiltrate systems without users’ permission. As well as causing redirects, PUPs deliver intrusive advertisements and record various sensitive information.

Your Mac may be infected by a virus! scam

The message essentially states that the user is not using an anti-virus/anti-spyware suite and, therefore, there is a high probability that the system is infected.

Therefore, users are encouraged to immediately download a promoted system optimization/protection tool (at time of research, "Your Mac may be infected by a virus!" was used to promote the Mac Mechanic PUP).

This is a scam. After installing Your Mac may be infected by a virus!2 and running a full system scan, users are presented with a list containing hundreds of system errors and infections. Furthermore, the free version of Your Mac may be infected by a virus!2 is incapable of resolving the listed issues and users are encouraged to purchase the 'full version'.

Bear in mind, however, that the list of infections is fake. Cyber criminals generate revenue by tricking gullible users into purchasing software that is useless - the full version of Your Mac may be infected by a virus!2 simply cleans the fake list.

Therefore, we strongly advise you to ignore all requests to purchase or even download the Your Mac may be infected by a virus!2 app. The "Your Mac may be infected by a virus!" message can be eliminated simply by closing the web browser, however, note that some rogue sites employ scripts that prevent users from closing browsing tabs/windows.

In these cases, terminate the browser using Activity Monitor or simply reboot the system. In addition, do not restore the previous session the next time you open the terminated browser, since restoring the session will reopen malicious sites.

As mentioned above, potentially unwanted programs are likely to deliver various intrusive advertisements, such as coupons, banners, pop-ups, and so on. These are delivered using tools that enable placement of third party graphical content on any visited website.

Therefore, intrusive advertisements often conceal underlying content, thereby significantly diminishing the browsing experience. Furthermore, intrusive ads might execute scripts that download and install malware/PUPs and redirect users to malicious websites. Therefore, clicking intrusive ads risks various computer infections.

PUPs are also notorious for data tracking. Most gather IP addresses, website URLs visited, pages viewed, search queries, and other similar information relating to web browsing activity. This collected data often includes personal details that developers share with third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) who generate revenue by misusing private information.

Therefore, having information-tracking apps installed on your computer can lead to serious privacy issues or even identity theft. You are strongly advised to eliminate all potentially unwanted programs immediately.

Threat Summary:
Name "You Mac may be infected by a virus!" virus
Threat Type Mac malware, Mac virus
Symptoms Your Mac became slower than normal, you see unwanted pop-up ads, you get redirected to shady websites.
Distribution methods Deceptive pop-up ads, free software installers (bundling), fake flash player installers, torrent file downloads.
Damage Internet browsing tracking (potential privacy issues), displaying of unwanted ads, redirects to shady websites, loss of private information.
Malware Removal (Mac)

To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your Mac with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
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There are many fake errors similar to "Your Mac may be infected by a virus!". The list of examples includes (but is not limited to) Apple Warning Alert, Critical System Error: x679Qs5m, Your Mac Is Infected With 3 Viruses, and We Have Detected A Trojan Virus.

All claim that the system is damaged (e.g., infected, missing files, etc.) and although the solving problem methods offered are different (some encourage users to call fake 'tech support', whilst others promote fake malware removal software), their purpose is identical: to extort money from unsuspecting users. Potentially unwanted programs also share many similarities.

By offering many "useful features", they attempt to give the impression of legitimacy, however, these applications are designed only to generate revenue for the developers.

Rather than enabling the features promised, PUPs cause unwanted redirects, gather sensitive information, and deliver intrusive ads, thereby posing a direct threat to your privacy and Internet browsing safety.

How did potentially unwanted programs install on my computer?

Some potentially unwanted programs have official download websites, however, in most cases, these apps infiltrate systems without consent, since developers proliferate them using intrusive advertising and a deceptive marketing method called "bundling".

Developers hide "bundled" apps within "Custom/Advanced" settings (or other sections) of the download/installation processes.

Furthermore, many users are likely to rush these procedures and skip steps. In addition, they click advertisements, without understanding the possible consequences. This behavior often leads to inadvertent installation of PUPs - users expose their systems to risk of various infections and compromise their privacy.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

Lack of knowledge and careless behavior are the main reasons for computer infections. The key to safety is caution. Therefore, pay close attention when browsing the Internet and downloading/installing software. Carefully analyze each window of the download/installation processes and opt-out of all additionally-included programs.

It is very important to download your programs from official sources only (using direct download links), rather than using third party downloaders/installers. Developers monetize downloaders/installers using the "bundling" method, and thus using these tools is not recommended.

Intrusive ads typically seem legitimate, but once clicked, redirect to dubious websites (gambling, adult dating, pornography, etc.) If you experience these redirects, check the list of installed applications/browser plug-ins and eliminate any suspicious entries.

If your computer is already infected with PUPs, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate them.

Text presented in this scam:

Without antivirus, your system is at high risk.
We recommend downloading an antivirus program.
Download it immediately.

You Mac may be infected by a virus!
You are currently not using an antivirus program and therefore your personal and banking information may be exposed to considerable risk. We advise you to download an antivirus program and perform a scan immediately!
Contrary to popular belief, all operating systems are exposed to risk and yours is especially vulnerable and could be easily hacked.
Eliminate the risk immediately!
We recommend downloading antivirus software and performing a full-system scan of your device immediately.

Likely risks

Appearance of "Your Mac may be infected by a virus!" scam (GIF):

Appearance of Your Mac may be infected by a virus! scam (GIF)

Instant automatic Mac malware removal: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced IT skills. Combo Cleaner is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of Mac malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
▼ DOWNLOAD Combo Cleaner for Mac By downloading any software listed on this website you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Combo Cleaner. Limited seven days free trial available. Combo Cleaner is owned and operated by Rcs Lt, the parent company of PCRisk.com read more.

Quick menu:

How to identify a pop-up scam?

Pop-up windows with various fake messages are a common type of lures cybercriminals use. They collect sensitive personal data, trick Internet users into calling fake tech support numbers, subscribe to useless online services, invest in shady cryptocurrency schemes, etc.

While in the majority of cases these pop-ups don't infect users' devices with malware, they can cause direct monetary loss or could result in identity theft.

Cybercriminals strive to create their rogue pop-up windows to look trustworthy, however, scams typically have the following characteristics:

  • Spelling mistakes and non-professional images - Closely inspect the information displayed in a pop-up. Spelling mistakes and unprofessional images could be a sign of a scam.
  • Sense of urgency - Countdown timer with a couple of minutes on it, asking you to enter your personal information or subscribe to some online service.
  • Statements that you won something - If you haven't participated in a lottery, online competition, etc., and you see a pop-up window stating that you won.
  • Computer or mobile device scan - A pop-up window that scans your device and informs of detected issues - is undoubtedly a scam; webpages cannot perform such actions.
  • Exclusivity - Pop-up windows stating that only you are given secret access to a financial scheme that can quickly make you rich.

Example of a pop-up scam:

Example of a pop-up scam

How do pop-up scams work?

Cybercriminals and deceptive marketers usually use various advertising networks, search engine poisoning techniques, and shady websites to generate traffic to their pop-ups. Users land on their online lures after clicking on fake download buttons, using a torrent website, or simply clicking on an Internet search engine result.

Based on users' location and device information, they are presented with a scam pop-up. Lures presented in such pop-ups range from get-rich-quick schemes to fake virus scans.

How to remove fake pop-ups?

In most cases, pop-up scams do not infect users' devices with malware. If you encountered a scam pop-up, simply closing it should be enough. In some cases scam, pop-ups may be hard to close; in such cases - close your Internet browser and restart it.

In extremely rare cases, you might need to reset your Internet browser. For this, use our instructions explaining how to reset Internet browser settings.

How to prevent fake pop-ups?

To prevent seeing pop-up scams, you should visit only reputable websites. Torrent, Crack, free online movie streaming, YouTube video download, and other websites of similar reputation commonly redirect Internet users to pop-up scams.

To minimize the risk of encountering pop-up scams, you should keep your Internet browsers up-to-date and use reputable anti-malware application. For this purpose, we recommend Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS.

What to do if you fell for a pop-up scam?

This depends on the type of scam that you fell for. Most commonly, pop-up scams try to trick users into sending money, giving away personal information, or giving access to one's device.

  • If you sent money to scammers: You should contact your financial institution and explain that you were scammed. If informed promptly, there's a chance to get your money back.
  • If you gave away your personal information: You should change your passwords and enable two-factor authentication in all online services that you use. Visit Federal Trade Commission to report identity theft and get personalized recovery steps.
  • If you let scammers connect to your device: You should scan your computer with reputable anti-malware (we recommend Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS) - cyber criminals could have planted trojans, keyloggers, and other malware, don't use your computer until removing possible threats.
  • Help other Internet users: report Internet scams to Federal Trade Commission.

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About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

PCrisk security portal is brought by a company RCS LT. Joined forces of security researchers help educate computer users about the latest online security threats. More information about the company RCS LT.

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Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

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