Stop unwanted redirects to the punksgotoserver scam site

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

What is punksgotoserver?

punksgotoserver is a deceptive website that encourages visitors to install Smart Mac Booster so that they can remove fake viruses that it has supposedly 'detected'. In fact, punksgotoserver often opens other untrustworthy websites used to promote dubious software.

Therefore, punksgotoserver and apps advertised through it should not be trusted. In most cases, people are forced to visit websites of this kind by potentially unwanted applications (PUAs) installed on their browsers or computers.

Punksgotoserver scam

In one scenario, when opened, punksgotoserver displays a pop-up window stating that this page has found a virus that infected the system through a website that the user visited earlier.

Note that punksgotoserver opens a web page that contains device information (such as manufacturer, operating system, browser version, IP address, and so on), and encourages users to scan their systems by clicking the "Scan Now" button. This button starts a fake scanning process, which, when complete, states that it has detected a virus called "Bankworm".

To remove it, visitors must supposedly click the "REMOVE VIRUS NOW" button, which opens the download page of the Smart Mac Booster app. Users are encouraged to download the maccleaner.pkg file designed to install the aforementioned app, however, it could also be used to proliferate other dubious apps.

The same applies to the punksgotoserver website, which could be used to advertise different apps at different times. Another possible scenario is that punksgotoserver opens a dubious page designed to trick visitors into installing other untrustworthy apps. For example, it could lead to pages that promote browser hijackers, adware, and other PUAs.

Therefore, do not trust punksgotoserver or download applications advertised through it. Ignore all deceptive websites.

As mentioned, deceptive web pages such as punksgotoserver are usually opened by PUAs that are already installed on the browser or operating system. Typically, these apps feed users with unwanted, often deceptive ads and/or collect information relating to users' browsing habits.

They feed users with coupons, banners, surveys, pop-ups, and other ads that should not be clicked. If clicked, they redirect to untrustworthy websites or run scripts that start unwanted downloads or installations. Furthermore, most PUAs gather details such as IP addresses, geolocations, entered search queries, addresses of visited websites, and so on.

Threat Summary:
Name punksgotoserver pop-up
Threat Type Mac malware, Mac virus.
Fake Claim This website informs visitors that their computers are infected with viruses.
Promoted Application Smart Mac Booster
Serving IP Address (best4786.punksgotoserver29[.]live)
Detection Names (best4786.punksgotoserver29[.]live) BitDefender (Malware), ESET (Malware), G-Data (Phishing), Sophos AV (Malicious), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
Additional Information This scam web page also redirects users to various untrustworthy websites.
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.
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punksgotoserver is not the only deceptive website on the internet. Examples of other similar sites are lp.macapps-optimize[.]club, apple.com-clean-mac[.]site, and apple.com-scan-mac[.]xyz. They often trick visitors into downloading and installing untrustworthy applications.

We advise you not to download anything from these web pages or others that are opened through them.

PUAs that redirect users to dubious sites are all very similar: most display unwanted ads and collect user details. People who use them or have them installed risk becoming victims of identity theft, experiencing problems relating to browsing safety, online privacy, and so on.

How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?

Like most apps of this type, they are downloaded and/or installed without direct user permission. Therefore, users often download or install them unintentionally. These unwanted downloads/installations can be caused by clicking intrusive ads or through the set-ups of other software.

If clicked, some ads run scripts designed to download and install various unwanted apps. In other cases, developers try to trick people into unwanted downloads or installations by including PUAs into the set-ups of other programs. Information about these additional apps is usually hidden in "Advanced", "Custom", and similar settings of the set-ups.

People allow PUAs to be downloaded or installed with other software when they leave the aforementioned settings unchecked and unchanged.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications

Do not begin any download or installation process without checking all settings ("Custom", "Advanced", etc.) available in the setup. Deselect/opt-out of offers to download or install additional software, and only then finish the process. Do not download/install software from untrustworthy websites, using third party downloaders/installers, Peer-to-Peer networks such as torrent clients, eMule, and so on. The safest way is to use official websites and direct links. Avoid clicking intrusive ads, since they often lead to untrustworthy websites. This applies mostly to ads that are displayed on dubious web pages relating to gambling, adult dating, pornography, etc. To prevent unwanted redirects and ads, remove all unwanted apps (extensions, plug-ins, add-ons) that are installed on the browser and programs installed on the computer. 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 punksgotoserver pop-up window:


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

Press OK to begin the repair process.

Screenshot of a punksgotoserver web page:

Punksgotoserver main page

Text in this 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_13_6 device.


Brand: Apple
Device: Mac OS X 10_13_6
Browser: Safari 12.0.1
Provider: Web2Objects LLC
Location: - US

Screenshot of the punksgotoserver second page:

Punksgotoserver second page

Text in this 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 punksgotoserver scam (GIF):

Appearance of Punksgotoserver scam (GIF)

Appearance of punksgotoserver causing a redirect to another dubious web page (GIF):

Punksgotoserver opens untrustworthy page in gif

Download page of Smart Mac Booster app:

Smart Mac Booster download page

Smart Mac Booster installer:

Smart Mac Booster installer

Smart Mac Booster unwanted app:

Smart Mac Booster 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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