Prevent apple.com-shielding-devices.live from installing fake mac cleaners

Also Known As: apple.com-shielding-devices.live pop-up
Type: Mac Virus
Damage level: Medium

What is "apple.com-shielding-devices[.]live"?

Apple.com-shielding-devices[.]live is a scam website, designed to promote the Cleanup My Mac application, by scaring users into removing viruses the site has detected. It must be stated, that all virus alerts this websites displays are fraudulent, i.e. detected threats are not actually present.

It is expressly advised against downloading and installing any apps suggested by such scam websites, as any dangers they claim to have found are imaginary.

Additionally, the cleaners and other similar apps they suggest - are likely to be nonfunctional. Usually, browsers open apple.com-shielding-devices[.]live and others akin to it, due to PUAs (potentially unwanted applications) already present in their Mac operating systems. Therefore, in most cases, access to such pages is unintentional.

apple.com-shielding-devices[.]live scam

The first thing visitors of apple.com-shielding-devices[.]live see, is a pop-up window claiming it has detected "e.tre456_worm_osx" - a trojan virus. It demands immediate action to be taken against this fake threat.

Additionally, the background page shows a system status report of: three viruses present (two malware and one phishing/spyware), system damage at 28.1%. It further alarms users by stating that their personal and banking data is endangered, and by showing a countdown until the damage becomes permanent.

If users find themselves tricked and click the "Scan Now" button, the apple.com-shielding-devices[.]live website pretends to do a system scan and detects several viruses. Once finished, it claims that the threat level is high and lists infected file(s), it names the culprits to be Tapsnake, CronDNS and Dubfishicv viruses.

Clicking the "REMOVE VIRUSES NOW" button initiates downloading the maccleaner.pkg file. This file and others similar to it - are used to spread PUAs. Downloading and installing this file is strongly advised against, as any applications it installs are likely to be illegitimate and nonoperational.

The same must be said about Cleanup My Mac (which is promoted by apple.com-shielding-devices[.]live), Mac Cleanup ProMacOptimizerMac Mechanic and other purchasable software advertised on scam sites - since they too are likely to be nonfunctional.

In general, PUAs look legitimate and useful. They offer a wide variety of seemingly practical and beneficial features. However, in most cases all advertised abilities are merely for decoration, as they either malfunction or are nonfunctional. The only purpose that PUAs have, is to create profit for their designers; to users they have no real value.

Instead of delivering on any promises, they generate redirects to untrustworthy/malicious websites, run intrusive advertisement campaigns (pop-ups, banners, surveys, coupons, etc.) and some can even track data.

By monitoring users' browsing habits (URLS visited, pages viewed and search engine history), they can gather personal information (IP address, geolocation and personal details). This data is then sold to third parties (possibly, cyber criminals), intent on misemploying it.

Therefore, PUAs can cause a variety of browser and system invasions/infections, as well as lead to serious privacy issues (even identity theft). To ensure device integrity and user safety, all dubious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins must be removed without delay.

Threat Summary:
Name apple.com-shielding-devices.live pop-up
Threat Type Mac malware, Mac virus
Fake Claim The website performs a fake system scan and displays results of supposedly existing viruses/errors that must be eliminated.
Promoted Unwanted Application Cleanup My Mac
Serving IP Address
Detection Names Avira (Phishing), Spamhaus (Phishing), Fortinet (Spam), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
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.

apple.com-shielding-devices[.]live shares many similarities with apple.com-mac-optimizer.xyzapple.com-mac-optimizer.icuapple.com-shield.live and many others. There are thousands of scam sites out there, most promote some sort of questionable applications.

They often trick users into downloading/installing PUAs by displaying various fake alerts about viruses and other similar threats. The offered products are supposed to help with these imaginary problems, however it is highly unlikely that they have such capabilities.

How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?

Some PUAs have "official" websites, where they can be downloaded (often for "free"). They can also be installed inadvertently by users themselves. "Bundling" is a false marketing method, by which ordinary programs are packed together with PUAs.

While opt-outs from these heinous additions are often possible, they are frequently hidden behind "Custom/Advanced" install settings and similar - making them hard to notice for hasty and/or inexperienced users. Additionally, intrusive adverts can be triggered to install PUAs.

Once clicked, they can execute scripts designed to make rogue downloads/installs of undesirable content.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

It is strongly advised to use only verified sources for downloading software, preferably through direct download links. Using P2P (peer-to-peer) sharing networks and other third party downloaders is ill-advised, as they are more likely to offer bundled programs.

Installation recommendations include: reading terms, using "Custom/Advanced" settings and opting-out from installing/downloading additional applications and/or features.

When browsing, it is prudent to avoid suspicious sites and ads. Intrusive advertisements tend to look ordinary, however once clicked they often redirect to unreliable websites (e.g. gambling, pornography, adult-dating and so on).

Should users encounter dubious ads/redirects, they are strongly encouraged to inspect their systems and remove all suspect 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:

Screenshot of apple.com-shielding-devices[.]live background page

Text in this page:

Your system is infected with 3 viruses! Monday, September 9, 2019 9:50 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 32 seconds remaining before damage is permanent.

Scan Now

Screenshot of the fake scan results:

Fake system scan results provided by apple.com-shielding-devices[.]live

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-shielding-devices[.]live" scam (GIF):

Appearance of apple.com-shielding-devices[.]live

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

Installer used to spread Cleanup My Mac unwanted application

Screenshot of the Cleanup My Mac potentially unwanted application requesting to be activated, in order to fix system issues: 

Screenshot of Cleanup My Mac PUA requesting to be activated

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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