Wtflife POP-UP Scam (Mac)

Also Known As: wtflife pop-up
Type: Mac Virus
Damage level: Medium

What is "Wtflife"?

Wtflife is a scam used to advertise an application called Smart Mac Booster. Scammers attempt to trick people into downloading and installing this app through a deceptive website that displays a fake virus alert. The site informs visitors that their computers are infected with a virus.

These sites are often opened by potentially unwanted apps (PUAs) already installed on the system. PUAs open untrustworthy web pages, deliver ads, and gather information relating to users' browsing habits.

Wtflife scam

When opened, this scam website displays a pop-up window stating that a visited website was malicious and infected the Mac with a virus. When the window is closed, the website encourages visitors to remove the detected virus by running a full system scan. If the "Scan Now" button is clicked, this web page starts a fake scanning process.

When complete, it notifies Mac users that their computers are infected with a virus called "Bankworm". To remove it, visitors must supposedly download the aforementioned Smart Mac Booster app, however, it is stated that this virus should be removed with another app called Advanced Mac Cleaner.

When the "REMOVE VIRUS NOW" button is clicked, it opens another dubious web page that includes a download link for Smart Mac Booster. Do not download or install apps that are promoted via deceptive websites - in this case, through a scam web page that tricks people into believing that their Mac computers are infected with a virus. The best way to deal with these websites is to close them.

As we mentioned, scam websites and other untrustworthy websites are often opened by PUAs installed on the system. PUAs force users to visit deceptive websites, and also display intrusive ads and gather browsing-related information. They feed users with coupons, banners, surveys, pop-up ads, and so on.

If clicked, these open potentially malicious websites or execute scripts that download/install other PUAs or even malicious apps. Furthermore, PUAs collect IP addresses, entered search queries, geolocations, URLs of visited websites and other similar information.

The data sometimes includes sensitive details that developers share with third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) who misuse private information to generate revenue.

Threat Summary:
Name wtflife pop-up
Threat Type Mac malware, Mac virus
Fake Claim The website delivers a fake message claiming that system is infected and encourages users to download a dubious system cleaner.
Promoted Unwanted Application Smart Mac Booster
Symptoms Your Mac becomes slower than normal, you see unwanted pop-up ads, you are redirected to dubious websites.
Distribution methods Deceptive pop-up ads, free software installers (bundling), fake flash player installers, torrent file downloads.
Damage Internet browser tracking (potential privacy issues), display of unwanted ads, redirects to dubious 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 seven days free trial available. Combo Cleaner is owned and operated by Rcs Lt, the parent company of PCRisk.com read more.

There are many deceptive websites that are designed to trick people into believing that their computers are infected. Some other examples include apple.com-scan-mac[.]live, apple.com-fast[.]live, and macos-online-security-check[.]com. The main purpose of these websites is to trick people into installing a dubious application.

All PUAs are very similar: they are promoted as 'useful applications', however, once installed, they deliver none of the features promised and are designed only to generate revenue for their developers. If installed, they might cause problems relating to privacy, browsing safety, and sometimes even identity theft.

How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?

Some PUAs are promoted through their official websites, however, research shows that most users install them through clicked intrusive ads or when installing other (regular) software.

To trick people into installing (or downloading) unwanted apps, software developers "bundling", a deceptive marketing method - unwanted apps are hidden in "Custom", "Advanced" and other settings of the download and/or installation set-ups. PUAs are not disclosed as being present in set-ups.

These unwanted installations/downloads can be avoided. Typically, they occur when people skip installation/download steps without checking the settings. In this way, users grant unwanted apps permission to be downloaded and installed.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

To avoid inadvertent installations/downloads, ensure that you download/install software and browse the web with care. Download from official, trustworthy websites and using direct links. Do not use dubious websites, third party software downloaders/installers, or other rogue tools.

When downloading or installing, check all available "Custom", "Advanced" and other settings, opt-out of any unwanted apps, and only then complete the procedure. Avoid clicking intrusive ads, as some are malicious and redirect to dubious websites.

If you are redirected to dubious websites or see ads that lead you to them, check your browser for suspicious extensions, add-ons, and plug-ins. Also check for unwanted programs installed on your computer (operating system) and remove all dubious entries immediately.

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 the pop-up:


A website you visited today has infected your Mac with a virus.

Press OK to begin the repair process.

Screenshot of the second web page:

wtflife second page

Text presented in this web page:

A website you have visited today has infected your Mac with a virus. A full system scan is now required to find and remove harmful files or applications from your Mac OS X 10_14_3 device.
Brand: Apple
Device: Mac OS X 10_14_3
Browser: Safari 12.0.3
IP: -
Provider: -
Location: -
Scan Now

Screenshot of the third web page:

wtflife third page

Text presented in this web page:

Please download the Advanced Mac Cleaner application to remove Bankworm from your Mac.
Virus Name: Bankworm
Risk: HIGH
Infected File: /os/apps/worm.icv
Application: Advanced Mac Cleaner
Rating: 9.9/10
Price: Free

Appearance of "Wtflife" scam (GIF):

Appearance of Wtflife scam (GIF)

Screenshot of a dubious website that promotes Smart Mac Booster:

website promoting smart mac booster

Smart Mac Booster unwanted application:

smart mac booster unwanted app

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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