What is "Spyware were found on your Mac"?
"Spyware were found on your Mac" is a fake virus alert message that appears when visiting dubious/untrustworthy websites. People do not often visit these websites intentionally - they are redirected to them by potentially unwanted applications (PUAs) that infiltrate systems without permission, cause redirects to untrustworthy sites, deliver intrusive ads, and record user-system information.
As with most fake virus alert messages, "Spyware were found on your Mac" warns that the operating system is infected with three viruses: malware (2) and spyware (1). This message informs users that these viruses must be removed immediately, otherwise this situation could result in data loss and significant financial/privacy issues.
To remove the viruses and repair other damage, users are encouraged to contact 'Apple Support' via a telephone number "+1-888-729-1278" provided. You are advised by the fake virus alert message not to ignore this message, otherwise your Mac will remain vulnerable, infected, and damaged. Note that this is a scam and Apple has nothing to do with it.
Like most scams of this type, "Spyware were found on your Mac" is used to trick people into paying for dubious products and services. Since this is a scam and the virus alert is fake, we strongly recommend that you ignore it. If you cannot close the website that triggered this fake virus message, use Activity Monitor to terminate the entire browser process, or restart your Mac.
Do not restore the previously-closed session, since this will only reopen the same website that led you to the "Spyware were found on your Mac" virus alert message in the first place.
PUAs that cause redirects to websites with fake virus alert messages (or other fake messages) also deliver advertisements such as banners, coupons, surveys, and so on. Clicking them often causes redirects to untrustworthy websites or execution of scripts that download and install other PUAs.
These ads can be very annoying, since they are displayed using tools that enable placement of third party graphical content on any site. Therefore, they conceal underlying content of visited websites. Another downside of PUAs is information tracking.
PUAs record IP addresses, geo-locations, keystrokes, URLs of visited website, search queries and other data that might contain personal or sensitive information.
PUA developers share the details with third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) who misuse private data to generate revenue. Thus, having data tracking apps (PUAs) installed might cause serious problems relating to privacy, browsing safety, or even identity theft.
|Name||"Spyware were found on your Mac" 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.
They might be addressing different "issues", however, all trick users into paying for bogus services and products provided by scammers. PUAs also share many similarities - most are promoted as proving 'useful' functions and tools, however, most are designed only to generate revenue for their developers rather than delivering the functionality promised.
How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?
Most potentially unwanted applications have official websites from which they can be downloaded, however, they are usually installed through intrusive advertisements or when software developers use the "bundling" method. Bundling is a deceptive marketing method used to trick people into installing PUAs with other regular software.
PUAs are hidden in "Custom", "Advanced" and other options/settings of the installation processes. Developers often do not disclose information about the presence of PUAs properly. In addition, many users install software without studying the installation steps, and PUAs developers use this careless behaviour to their advantage.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?
To prevent unintentional installation of PUAs, avoid using third party software downloaders, torrents and other similar software. The best option is to use official and trustworthy websites/sources. Check all available options (such as "Custom", "Advanced", "Manual" etc.) and deselect offers to install additional software (such as potentially unwanted applications).
Do not click intrusive ads, especially when visiting untrustworthy websites. Typically, these ads seem legitimate, but are usually rogue. If you encounter ads that cause redirects to a gambling, pornography, adult dating, or other similar websites, check installed extensions on your browser.
Uninstall all unwanted extensions, plug-ins, and add-ons immediately. The same applies to the programs installed on your computer. If your computer is already infected with PUAs, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate them.
Text presented in "Spyware were found on your Mac" scam pop-up:
MAC OS is infected with Viruses and other malicious applications. Viruses must be removed and system damaged repaired. \n\nlt is necessary to Call Apple Support +1-888-729-1278 and follow Virus Removal procedure immediately, please proceed.
**If you leave this site your Mac OS will remain damaged and vulnerable**
Website displaying "Spyware were found on your Mac" pop-up:
Text presented on this site:
Your system is infected with (3) Viruses!
Your Mac OS X is infected with (3) Viruses. The pre-scan found traces of (2) malware and (1) phishing/spyware. System damage: 28.1% - Immediate removal required!
Please Call Apple Support +1-888-729-1278
The removal of (3) Viruses is required immediately to prevent further system damage, loss of Apps, Photos or other files.
Traces of (1) Phishing/Spyware were found on your Mac OS X. Personal and banking information are at risk.
Please Call Apple Support +1-888-729-1278
Appearance of "Spyware were found on your Mac" 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:
- What is "Spyware were found on your Mac" virus?
- How to identify a pop-up scam?
- How do pop-up scams work?
- How to remove fake pop-ups?
- How to prevent fake pop-ups?
- What to do if you fell for a pop-up scam?
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:
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.