Stop apple.com-mac-optimizer.xyz from installing fake mac cleaners

Also Known As: apple.com-mac-optimizer.xyz pop-up
Type: Mac Virus
Damage level: Medium

What is apple.com-mac-optimizer[.]xyz?

Similar to apple.com-mac-optimizer.icuapple.com-shield-devices.liveapple.com-mac-booster.live and others, apple.com-mac-optimizer[.]xyz is a scam website. It operates by tricking users into downloading/installing varied fake cleaning tools for the MacOS (Mac operating system), by displaying fraudulent warnings of detected viruses.

The software it recommends for removal of said threats (Cleanup My Mac) is most likely fraudulent and therefore incapable of scanning for or eliminating threats. Few visitors every access apple.com-mac-optimizer[.]xyz intentionally, most get redirected.

Such redirects are caused by clicking on invasive advertisements (usually located within compromised websites) or by adware-type PUAs already present in systems. It must be mentioned, that undesirable apps do not need explicit user consent to be installed onto their devices.

apple.com-mac-optimizer[.]xyz scam

Once accessed, the apple.com-mac-optimizer[.]xyz website shows a pop-up window, claiming it has found "e.tre456_worm_osx" - a trojan virus.

In its background page it displays an alarming status report of user's device: three viruses present (two malware and one phishing/spyware type), system damage at 28.1%, personal and banking data at risk, and permanent damage imminent. This fake report of such severe infections is employed to alarm users into clicking the "Scan Now" button.

After that is done, apple.com-mac-optimizer[.]xyz pretends to do a system scan and "detects" Tapsnake, CronDNS and Dubfishicv viruses. Naturally, it then prompts users into downloading its proffered cleaning tool (Cleanup My Mac). Once the "REMOVE VIRUSES NOW" button is clicked, it downloads the maccleaner.pkg file.

This file and others akin to it - are used to proliferate PUAs (for example, fake mac cleaning tools). Downloading/installing this file is strongly advised against, as any applications it installs are likely to be illegitimate and nonfunctional.

The same extends to fake Mac cleaners (Mac Cleanup ProAdvanced Mac CleanerMac Mechanic and many others), as they are unlikely to have any appropriate functions and are designed to trick users into buying them.

Overall, PUAs tend to offer nonoperational features, despite their legitimate and harmless appearance. Instead of delivering on any promises, they generate rogue redirects to sale-oriented, untrustworthy, potentially malicious websites, run intrusive advertisement campaigns (pop-ups, banners, coupons, surveys, etc.) and some can even track data.

By monitoring browsing habits (search engine and browsing history), they can gather personal information (IP address, geolocation and personal details). This vulnerable data is then sold to third parties and can easily end up in the hands of cyber criminals.

Therefore, PUAs can lead to various system invasions and/or infections, as well as severe privacy issues (even culminate in identity theft). Due to the threats they pose, all dubious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins must be removed without delay.

Threat Summary:
Name apple.com-mac-optimizer.xyz pop-up
Threat Type Mac malware, Mac virus
Serving IP Address
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 seven days free trial available. Combo Cleaner is owned and operated by Rcs Lt, the parent company of PCRisk.com read more.

Scam websites are innumerous; promoting "practical" and "beneficial" products and/or warning of imaginary system infections. These websites are highly untrustworthy and downloading/installing any content they offer - is strictly advised against. They spread PUA installation files and consequently, the unwanted apps themselves.

These applications are designed to appear legitimate and functional. The various features they supposedly have - rarely work as advertised and often are outright nonfunctional. The only goal that PUAs have, is creation of profit for their developers. Therefore, instead of operating as promised, they generate redirects, deliver invasive ad campaigns and track data.

How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?

PUAs can be downloaded as "legitimate" and "advantageous" software from untrustworthy sources. They can also be installed alongside regular programs. "Bundling" is a deceitful marketing technique, by which ordinary software is pre-packed with undesired applications.

Rushed and inattentive approach to software installation can also be faulted for PUA infiltrations. By ignoring terms, skipping steps and using pre-set options users can end up installing rogue apps. Intrusive adverts can also further PUAs by executing scripts, designed to autonomously download/install them.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

Users should always use official and verified sources for downloading programs, as opposed to P2P (peer-to-peer) sharing networks and other third party downloaders. When installing, it is advised to read terms and study possible options. Additionally, it is encouraged to use "Custom/Advanced" install settings and opt-out/decline supplementary offers.

While browsing, users should avoid dubious websites and adverts. Intrusive ads often look absolutely ordinary, however a dead giveaway can be the untrustworthy sites they redirect to (e.g. pornography, adult-dating, gambling and similar).

Should users encounter such ads/redirects, they are recommended to inspect their system and remove all suspicious apps and/or browser extensions/plug-ins. If your computer is already infected with PUAs, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate them.

Text in the pop-up window:


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

Press OK to begin the repair process.

Screenshot of the background page:

Background page screenshot of applecom-mac-optimizerxyz

Text in this page:

Your system is infected with 3 viruses! Thursday, September 5, 2019 12:38 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 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 33 seconds remaining before damage is permanent.

Scan Now

Screenshot of fake scan results:

Screenshot of fake scan results provided by applecom-mac-optimizerxyz

Text in this page:

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

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

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

Appearance of apple.com-mac-optimizer[.]xyz scam (GIF):

Appearance of applecom-mac-optimizerxyz

Screenshot of maccleaner.pkg installer used to spread Cleanup My Mac unwanted application:

Screenshot of installer setup for Cleanup My Mac unwanted app

Screenshot of the Cleanup My Mac potentially unwanted app:   

Screenshot of Cleanup My Mac unwanted application

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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