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Apple.com-optimize.live POP-UP Scam (Mac)

Also Known As: "Apple.com-optimize.live" virus
Type: Mac Virus
Damage level: Medium

What is "apple.com-optimize[.]live"?

apple.com-optimize[.]live is one of many scam websites on the internet. Scammers designed this site to trick visitors into believing that their computers are infected and encourage them to download a potentially unwanted application (PUA) called Cleanup My-Mac.

Neither this website nor apps promoted through it should be trusted. Furthermore, most people do not visit apple.com-optimize[.]live intentionally - they are redirected to it by other PUAs that they have installed on their computers or browsers. Additionally, PUAs often serve users with ads and collect data.

apple.com-optimize[.]live scam

apple.com-optimize[.]live opens a pop-up window stating that immediate removal of a detected Trojan virus is required. According to the pop-up, this website has detected the "e.tre456_worm_osx" trojan-type virus on the computer and encourages the user to begin the repair process immediately.

The apple.com-optimize[.]live website states that it detected three viruses: one spyware/phishing virus and two malware infections. Visitors are encouraged to scan their systems within five minutes by clicking the "Scan Now" button. If not, these viruses will supposedly cause data loss and put personal, banking information at risk.

When the fake scanner finishes looking for viruses, it states that it detected three: Tapsnake, CronDNS, and Dubfishicv. To remove them, users are encouraged to click the "REMOVE VIRUSES NOW" button, which will download the aforementioned Cleanup My-Mac PUA.

In fact, the apple.com-optimize[.]live website states that it will download another app called Advanced Mac Cleaner.

We strongly recommend that you do not to take the information on this website seriously or download applications from it. All of the statements regarding detected infections are false - this is simply a scam used to trick people into downloading a certain application.

These PUAs force people to visit scam sites and other dubious pages. They also feed users with ads including coupons, banners, pop-up ads, surveys, and so on. These are often annoying and conceal the content of visited websites. Furthermore, clicking them can lead to unwanted redirects or download/installation of PUAs.

When installed, PUAs might gather information relating to users' browsing activity. For example, IP addresses, geolocations, URLs of visited websites, entered search queries, and also personal details. Developers share the data with other parties, potentially cyber criminals, who misuse it to generate revenue.

If there are any PUAs installed on your computer or browser, they should be removed immediately.

Threat Summary:
Name "Apple.com-optimize.live" virus
Threat Type Scam, Mac malware.
Detection Names (apple.com-optimize[.]live) BitDefender (Malware), Malwarebytes hpHosts (Malware), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
Serving IP Address 94.237.87.169
Sibling Domains apple.com-optimize.live, cpanel.com-optimize.live, mail.com-optimize.live, webdisk.com-optimize.live, webmail.com-optimize.live, www.com-optimize.live, www.cpanel.com-optimize.live, www.webdisk.com-optimize.live, www.webmail.com-optimize.live, www.www.apple.com-optimize.live, www.www.com-optimize.live
Symptoms Your Mac becomes slower than normal, you see unwanted pop-up ads, you are redirected to dubious websites, you notice the presence of dubious/unwanted applications.
Distribution methods Deceptive pop-up ads, free software installers (bundling), fake Flash Player installers, torrent file downloads, potentially unwanted applications.
Damage Internet browser tracking (potential privacy issues), display of unwanted ads, redirects to dubious websites, loss of private information, financial loss, installation of potentially unwanted applications.
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 seven days free trial available. Combo Cleaner is owned and operated by Rcs Lt, the parent company of PCRisk.com read more.

apple.com-optimize[.]live is similar to other scam pages of this type such as apple.com-clear[.]live, apple.security-help-center[.]club, apple.com-repair[.]live, and many more. These pages trick people to install unwanted applications by displaying fake virus alerts. Avoid these websites.

How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?

Some people download unwanted apps intentionally, however, in most cases, PUAs are installed without users' knowledge - they download and install them inadvertently. Users cause these unwanted installations and downloads by clicking intrusive ads or downloading and installing other software.

The method used to trick people into downloading and installing unwanted apps with other software is called "bundling" - the inclusion of PUAs in software set-ups.

Developers do not disclose this information properly and hide these apps in "Custom/Advanced" or other sections of software set-ups. Therefore, PUAs are installed when users carelessly install software and leave settings unchanged or when they click intrusive ads that should not be trusted.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

Analyze each step of any download and installation process and deselect additionally-included applications before finishing it (especially it the software is free). Download from official, trustworthy websites and using direct download links. Any other tools such as third party downloaders, Peer-to-Peer networks, unofficial pages, etc. cannot be trusted.

Be careful with intrusive ads - many redirect users who click them to untrustworthy websites such as gambling, adult dating, and so on. To remove continual unwanted redirects and ads, check the list of installed applications (plug-ins, add-ons, extensions) on your browser and uninstall all dubious entries immediately.

This also applies to programs installed on the operating system. If your computer is already infected with PUAs, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate them.

Screenshot of the fake scan results:

apple.com-optimize.live displaying fake scan results

Appearance of "apple.com-optimize[.]live" scam (GIF):

Appearance of apple.com-optimize[.]live scam (GIF)

Text messages presented in this scam website:

1.
IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUIRED

We have detected a trojan virus (e.tre456_worm_osx) on your Mac.

Press OK to begin the repair process.

 

 

 

2.
Your system is infected with 3 viruses! Friday, April 12, 2019 1:18 AM

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 MacOS 10.14 Mojave.

Personal and banking information is at risk.

To avoid more damage click on 'Scan Now' immediately. Our deep scan will provide help immediately!
4 minute and 31 seconds remaining before damage is permanent.

 

 


3.
DOWNLOAD REQUIRED
Your Mac is heavily damaged! (33.2%)
Please download the Advanced Mac Cleaner application to remove 3 Viruses from your Mac.
VIRUS INFORMATION

Virus Name: Tapsnake; CronDNS; Dubfishicv
Risk: HIGH
Infected Files: /os/apps/hidden/os-component/X/snake.icv; /os/local/conf/keyboard/retype.icv...
REMOVE VIRUSES NOW
VIRUS REMOVAL

Application: Advanced Mac Cleaner
Rating: 9.9/10
Price: Free

Screenshot of the Cleanup My-Mac app:

Cleanup My-Mac unwanted application

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 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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