How to spot scams like "Your System Is Infected With 3 Viruses"
Written by Tomas Meskauskas on (updated)
What kind of scam is "Your System Is Infected With 3 Viruses!"?
"Your System Is Infected With 3 Viruses!" is a fake alert stating that a Mac computer is infected with some viruses. This (and other) fake messages are often displayed on untrustworthy, deceptive websites that trick people into purchasing software or services.
People do not generally visit these websites intentionally - they are redirected to them by unwanted apps. These are installed inadvertently without users' knowledge. Furthermore, once installed, these apps feed users with intrusive advertisements and gather data relating to browsing habits.
More about the "Your System Is Infected With 3 Viruses!" scam
Designers of the deceptive website (that displays "Your System Is Infected With 3 Viruses!") attempts to trick visitors into believing that their computers (Macs) are infected with viruses. In this case, it states that three viruses were found, however, the number of supposedly detected viruses might be different on other computers.
In this example, it claims that the computer is infected with two malicious programs (malware) and one phishing/spyware infection. Additionally, one particular infection (a trojan) is called "e.tre456_worm_osx".
The main purpose of this scam is to trick people into downloading software that supposedly eliminates detected viruses by clicking the "Scan Now" button. At time of research, clicking this button led to download of the Mac-Mechanic application.
People are urged to download this app within five minutes and run a scan, otherwise the viruses might cause data loss or other damage. Furthermore, scammers have designed this website to seem as if it is an official Apple site.
In fact, Apple has nothing do to with it. We strongly recommend against downloading any apps that are promoted using deceptive websites. The best option is to simply ignore fake virus alerts such as "Your System Is Infected With 3 Viruses!" by closing the websites that display them.
If the website cannot be closed, use Activity Monitor and terminate the entire browser process or restart the computer. In any case, do not restore the closed session, since this will return you to the deceptive website, or other website that led you to it in the first place.
More about unwanted apps promoting similar scams
Most users visit these untrustworthy websites due to unwanted programs installed on their computers (or browsers). These apps cause unwanted redirects, deliver intrusive advertisements (coupons, banners, surveys, pop-ups, and others), and gather data relating to browsing activity.
Typically, ads caused by unwanted apps are displayed using tools that enable placement of third party graphical content on any site. In this way, they also conceal underlying content of any visited website.
Furthermore, clicking these advertisements usually results in being redirected to untrustworthy (or even malicious) websites. These ads are capable of executing scripts designed to download/install other unwanted applications (or malicious programs).
In addition, apps of this kind continually collect data (IP addresses, search queries, URLs of visited websites, geo-locations, and so on) and share it with third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) who misuse private information to generate revenue. In summary, these apps might cause privacy problems, issues relating to browsing safety, or identity theft.
|Name||"Your System Is Infected With 3 Viruses" scam|
|Threat Type||Mac malware, Mac virus|
|Related Domains||macsuppoprt2135.mac-us205[.]live, apple.com-supportcenter[.]pro, network-trusted[.]com, effective-design[.]com, network-shield[.]com, install-network[.]com, network-internet[.]com, install-plugin[.]com, secure-open[.]com, internet-safe[.]com, open-plugin[.]com, program-io[.]com, com-supportcenter[.]pro, dwayn[.]live|
|Serving IP Address (macsuppoprt2135.mac-us205[.]live)||18.104.22.168|
|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.
Scams of this type in general
The internet is full of deceptive, untrustworthy websites that display fake virus alerts, system errors, and other similar messages. Some examples of other similar websites include This Mac Is Not Secure, Your MacOS 10.12 Sierra Is Infected With 3 Viruses, and Spyware Were Found On Your Mac.
Typically, these websites trick people into purchasing unnecessary software or paying for technical services/guidance. Unwanted apps promoting such scams share many similarities: users often install them unintentionally, they cause unwanted redirects, deliver intrusive ads, and record data.
Usually, apps of this kind are promoted as 'useful and legitimate', however, once installed, they cause problems and provide none of the features promised.
How did unwanted applications install on my computer?
Potentially unwanted apps are usually installed via intrusive (untrustworthy) ads or when software developers employ a deceptive marketing method called "bundling". Bundling is used to trick people into installing PUAs together with other software by hiding them in "Custom", "Advanced", and other similar settings/options of the installation/download processes.
In summary, information about the inclusion of unwanted apps in download/installation set-ups is not properly disclosed. Note, however, that such apps cannot be installed without users' permission. Therefore, people who skip steps of the download/installation processes often install unwanted apps without their knowledge and without understanding the possible consequences.
How to avoid installation of unwanted applications?
Remember some key points when downloading and installing software or browsing the internet. Download software from official (trustworthy) websites or other sources.
Do not use third party software downloaders/installers, unofficial websites, or other similar sources. Do not skip software download/installation steps - check all available "Custom"/"Advanced" (and other similar) settings/options and opt-out of any additionally-included unwanted apps.
Remember, most online ads may seem legitimate but intrusive ads often redirect to untrustworthy websites, such as gambling, pornography, adult dating, and other potentially malicious websites. Having unwanted apps installed might also lead to intrusive ads or redirects to dubious websites.
If you encounter unwanted redirects or encounter untrustworthy ads, check installed programs on your computer. Also check extensions, add-ons, and plug-ins on your browser.
Remove unwanted, unknown and suspicious entries immediately. If your computer is already infected with unwanted apps, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate them.
Text presented on the deceptive website displaying "Your System Is Infected With 3 Viruses!" scam:
Text in the pop-up:
IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUIRED
We have detected a trojan virus (e.tre456_worm_osx) on your Mac.
Press OK to begin the repair process.
Text in the website:
is infected with 3 viruses!
Friday January 4, 2019 12:10 PM
Your Mac is infected with 3 viruses. Our security check found traces of 2 malware and 1 phishing/spyware. System damage: 28.1% - Immediate removal required!
The immediate removal of the viruses is required to prevent further system damage, loss of Apps, Photos or other files. Traces of 1 phishing/spyware were found on your Mac with OSX.
To avoid more damage click on 'Scan Now' immediately. Our deep scan will provide help immediately!
4 minute and 7 seconds remaining before damage is permanent.
Appearance of "Your System Is Infected With 3 Viruses!" scam (GIF):
Screenshot of the "Mac-Mechanic" app installer:
Screenshot of the "Mac-Mechanic" app:
Updated variant of "Your System Is Infected With 3 Viruses" pop-up scam. Crooks now not only promote potentially unwanted applications, but also encourage users to contact fake tech support scam via "+1-888-551-7067" telephone number:
Text presented in the additionally added pop-up:
MAC OS is infected with Viruses and other malicious applications. Viruses must be removed and system damage repaired. It is necessary to Call Apple Support +1-888-551-7067 and follow Virus removal procedure immediately.
**If you leave this site your Mac OS will remain damaged and vulnerable**
Appearance of the updated variant (GIF):
Yet another variant of "Your System Is Infected With 3 Viruses" pop-up scam:
Screenshot of the background page:
Screenshot of the page displayed after running a fake scan:
Screenshot of the legitimate Avira's website opened through this page (fraudulently promoted by affiliates):
Full appearance of this variant (GIF):
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:
- What is "Your System Is Infected With 3 Viruses" scam?
- 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.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is a pop-up scam?
It is a scam designed to trick visitors into performing certain actions. It often uses scare tactics to achieve it (e.g., it displays fake virus notifications).
What is the purpose of a pop-up scam?
Scammers use such scams for various purposes. The most common ones are distributing malware, extracting sensitive information, and collecting illegitimate commissions.
Why do I encounter fake pop-ups?
Pop-up scams are delivered by untrustworthy web pages. Usually, the aforementioned pages get opened via shady advertisements or websites, or adware-type applications. Either way, these sites get visited inadvertently.
Will Combo Cleaner protect me from pop-up scams?
Combo Cleaner can scan visited websites, detect malicious ones (including pages running pop-up scams), and restrict access to them.
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