MacOS Security POP-UP Scam (Mac)

Also Known As: "MacOS Security" virus
Type: Mac Virus
Distribution: Moderate
Damage level: Medium

How to remove MacOS Security from Mac?

What is MacOS Security?

"MacOS Security" is a fake error displayed by a malicious website. Many users visit these sites inadvertently, without their consent - they are redirected by potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) or intrusive advertisements delivered by other deceptive websites. Be aware that potentially unwanted programs typically infiltrate systems without permission and, as well as causing redirects, deliver intrusive ads and gather sensitive information.

MacOS Security scam

This error imitates a system scan and states that the system is infected. The malware must be eliminated immediately. Therefore, users are encouraged to contact "certified technicians" via a telephone number ("+1-888-743-8333") provided, after which they are supposedly guided through the malware removal process. This is a scam - your computer is probably safe and optimized. Cyber criminals generate revenue by tricking gullible users into calling and paying for 'tech support' that is not required. Therefore, ignore the "MacOS Security" error and leave the website displaying it immediately. Some rogue sites employ scripts that prevent users from closing browsing tabs/windows. In these cases, terminate the browser using Task Manager or simply reboot the system. After re-running the system, do not restore the previous session, otherwise you risk reopening the malicious site.

Potentially unwanted programs deliver coupon, banner, pop-up, and other similar advertisements. To achieve this, developers employ tools (e.g., "virtual layers") that enable placement of third party graphical content on any site. Therefore, intrusive ads often conceal website content, significantly diminishing the browsing experience. Furthermore, the ads might redirect to malicious websites and run scripts that stealthily download and install malware. Therefore, even a single accidental click might result in high-risk computer infections. PUPs also gather IP addresses, website URLs visited, pages viewed, search queries, keystrokes, and other information that includes personal details. This information is later shared with third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) who misuse it to generate revenue. Therefore, data tracking can lead to serious privacy issues or even identity theft. We strongly recommend that you uninstall all PUPs immediately.

Threat Summary:
Name "MacOS Security" virus
Threat Type Mac malware, Mac virus
Scammer Phone Number +1-(888)-394-1468, +1-888-743-8333
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.
▼ Download Combo Cleaner for Mac
To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Combo Cleaner. Limited three days free trial available.

"MacOS Security" shares many similarities with a number of other fake error messages, such as You Mac May Be Infected By A Virus!, Critical System Error: x679Qs5m, and Please Call Apple Support. All claim that system is damaged (e.g., infected, missing files, etc.), however, these claims are merely attempts to extort money from gullible users. Potentially unwanted programs are also very similar. By offering "useful features", they attempt to give the impression of legitimacy, however, PUPs are designed only to generate revenue for the developers. Rather than giving any real value for regular users, these programs pose a direct threat to your privacy and Internet browsing safety.

How did potentially unwanted programs install on my computer?

Some PUPs have official download websites, however, due to the lack of knowledge and careless behavior of many users, PUPs often infiltrate systems without permission - developers proliferate them using the aforementioned intrusive advertisements and a deceptive marketing method called "bundling" (stealth installation of PUPs together with regular software). 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 various advertisements without understanding the possible consequences. This behavior can lead to inadvertent installation of potentially unwanted programs.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

Caution is the key to computer safety. Therefore, pay close attention when browsing the Internet and downloading/installing software. Carefully analyze each window of the download/installation dialogs and opt-out of all additionally-included programs. Cancel additionally-included programs and decline offers to download/install them. We also advise you to avoid using third party downloaders/installers, since developers monetize them by promoting ("bundling") PUPs. software should be downloaded from official sources only, using direct download links. In addition, bear in mind that intrusive ads typically seem legitimate, but once clicked, redirect to dubious websites (gambling, pornography, and so on). If you encounter these ads, immediately remove all dubious applications and browser plug-ins. 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 first "MacOS Security" pop-up:

MacOS Security
You device is under threat
Turn on Real - time protection?
Turn On or call +1-888-743-8333

Screenshot of second "MacOS Security" pop-up:

MacOS Security scam second pop-up

Text presented in second "MacOS Security" pop-up:

ACTION CENTER
Security and Maintenance
Turn on virus protection
Virus protection is turned off
MacOS Security found some Malicious Spyware/Riskware. Please call us immediately at:
+1-888-743-8333
Do not ignore this critical alert. If you close this page, your computer access will be disabled to prevent further damage to our network. Your computer has alerted is that it has been infected with Spyware and risk ware.
You must contact us immediately so that our expert engineers can walk you through the removal process over the phone to protect your identity. Please call us within the next 5 minutes to precent your computer from being disabled of from any information loss.

Appearance of "MacOS Security" scam (GIF):

Appearance of MacOS Security scam (GIF)

Another variant of this scam message:

MacOS Security pop-up scam (2020-11-30 - front page)

Text presented within:

macOS Security

Trojan Spyware Alert - Error Code: #0x898778

Access to this PC has been blocked for security reasons.

Contact Mac Support: +1-(888)-394-1468 (Toll Free)

Threat Detected - Trojan Spyware

App: Ads.financetrack(1).exe

Screenshot of the background page:

MacOS Security pop-up scam (2020-11-30 - background page)

Instant automatic Mac malware removal: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer 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 three days free trial available.

Quick menu:

Video showing how to remove adware and browser hijackers from a Mac computer:

Potentially unwanted programs removal:

Remove PUP-related potentially unwanted applications from your "Applications" folder:

mac adware removal from applications folder

Click the Finder icon. In the Finder window, select “Applications”. In the applications folder, look for “MPlayerX”,“NicePlayer”, or other suspicious applications and drag them to the Trash. After removing the potentially unwanted application(s) that cause online ads, scan your Mac for any remaining unwanted components.

Remove "macos security" virus related files and folders:

Finder go to folder command

Click the Finder icon, from the menu bar. Choose Go, and click Go to Folder...

step1Check for adware-generated files in the /Library/LaunchAgents folder:

removing adware from launch agents folder step 1

In the Go to Folder... bar, type: /Library/LaunchAgents

removing adware from launch agents folder step 2
In the “LaunchAgents” folder, look for any recently-added suspicious files and move them to the Trash. Examples of files generated by adware - “installmac.AppRemoval.plist”, “myppes.download.plist”, “mykotlerino.ltvbit.plist”, “kuklorest.update.plist”, etc. Adware commonly installs several files with the same string.

step2Check for adware generated files in the /Library/Application Support folder:

removing adware from application support folder step 1

In the Go to Folder... bar, type: /Library/Application Support

removing adware from application support folder step 2
In the “Application Support” folder, look for any recently-added suspicious folders. For example, “MplayerX” or “NicePlayer”, and move these folders to the Trash.

step3Check for adware-generated files in the ~/Library/LaunchAgents folder:

removing adware from ~launch agents folder step 1


In the Go to Folder bar, type: ~/Library/LaunchAgents

removing adware from ~launch agents folder step 2

In the “LaunchAgents” folder, look for any recently-added suspicious files and move them to the Trash. Examples of files generated by adware - “installmac.AppRemoval.plist”, “myppes.download.plist”, “mykotlerino.ltvbit.plist”, “kuklorest.update.plist”, etc. Adware commonly installs several files with the same string.

step4Check for adware-generated files in the /Library/LaunchDaemons folder:

removing adware from launch daemons folder step 1
In the Go to Folder... bar, type: /Library/LaunchDaemons

removing adware from launch daemons folder step 2
In the “LaunchDaemons” folder, look for recently-added suspicious files. For example “com.aoudad.net-preferences.plist”, “com.myppes.net-preferences.plist”, "com.kuklorest.net-preferences.plist”, “com.avickUpd.plist”, etc., and move them to the Trash.

step 5 Scan your Mac with Combo Cleaner:

If you have followed all the steps in the correct order you Mac should be clean of infections. To be sure your system is not infected run a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus. Download it HERE. After downloading the file double click combocleaner.dmg installer, in the opened window drag and drop Combo Cleaner icon on top of the Applications icon. Now open your launchpad and click on the Combo Cleaner icon. Wait until Combo Cleaner updates it's virus definition database and click "Start Combo Scan" button.

scan-with-combo-cleaner-1

Combo Cleaner will scan your Mac for malware infections. If the antivirus scan displays "no threats found" - this means that you can continue with the removal guide, otherwise it's recommended to remove any found infections before continuing.

scan-with-combo-cleaner-2

After removing files and folders generated by the adware, continue to remove rogue extensions from your Internet browsers.

"MacOS Security" virus removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove "macos security" virus related Safari extensions:

safari browser preferences

Open Safari browser, from the menu bar, select "Safari" and click "Preferences...".

safari extensions window

In the preferences window, select "Extensions" and look for any recently-installed suspicious extensions. When located, click the "Uninstall" button next to it/them. Note that you can safely uninstall all extensions from your Safari browser - none are crucial for normal browser operation.

  • If you continue to have problems with browser redirects and unwanted advertisements - Reset Safari.

firefox browser iconRemove malicious plug-ins from Mozilla Firefox:

Remove "macos security" virus related Mozilla Firefox add-ons:

accessing mozilla firefox add-ons

Open your Mozilla Firefox browser. At the top right corner of the screen, click the "Open Menu" (three horizontal lines) button. From the opened menu, choose "Add-ons".

removing malicious add-ons from mozilla firefox

Choose the "Extensions" tab and look for any recently-installed suspicious add-ons. When located, click the "Remove" button next to it/them. Note that you can safely uninstall all extensions from your Mozilla Firefox browser - none are crucial for normal browser operation.

  • If you continue to have problems with browser redirects and unwanted advertisements - Reset Mozilla Firefox.

chrome-browser-iconRemove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:

Remove "macos security" virus related Google Chrome add-ons:

removing malicious google chrome extensions step 1

Open Google Chrome and click the "Chrome menu" (three horizontal lines) button located in the top-right corner of the browser window. From the drop-down menu, choose "More Tools" and select "Extensions".

removing malicious Google Chrome extensions step 2

In the "Extensions" window, look for any recently-installed suspicious add-ons. When located, click the "Trash" button next to it/them. Note that you can safely uninstall all extensions from your Google Chrome browser - none are crucial for normal browser operation.

  • If you continue to have problems with browser redirects and unwanted advertisements - Reset Google Chrome.

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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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Removal Instructions in other languages
Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

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

QR Code
MacOS Security virus QR code
A QR code (Quick Response Code) is a machine-readable code which stores URLs and other information. This code can be read using a camera on a smartphone or a tablet. Scan this QR code to have an easy access removal guide of "MacOS Security" virus on your mobile device.
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Platform: macOS

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