Prevent being scammed by 0fficial.info
Written by Tomas Meskauskas on (updated)
What is 0fficial[.]info?
0fficial[.]info is a scam website used to endorse the Cleanup My Mac application (however, it is actually presented as "MacCleaner"). This site uses scare-tactics to encourage users into installing its promoted Potentially Unwanted Application (PUA).
The 0fficial[.]info web page warns visitors that it has detected various 'threats' and gives instructions on how to remove them. Websites of this type should not be trusted. Do not install any apps that they advertise. These scams generally promote fake and nonoperational applications.
Few users access this site intentionally - most are redirected by intrusive advertisements or PUAs already present on their devices.
Once accessed, 0fficial[.]info displays a pop-up window claiming that the visitor's system is seriously damaged. It states that system damage is at 37.2% and there are four viruses present. It further elaborates that unless the threats are immediately removed, users risk permanent damage to their data.
It then gives two-step instructions on how to remove the threats supposedly "found". The first step is to click the "Download" button. The second is to download the "free" antivirus app (Cleanup My Mac) and use it to clean the operating system. After this button is clicked, the maccleaner.pkg file is downloaded.
This file is used to proliferate PUAs. You are strongly advised not to download or install this file, as any software installed by it is likely to be rogue and nonfunctional. As mentioned, Cleanup My Mac, which 0fficial[.]info endorses, is a PUA.
There are many examples of similar rogue apps (e.g. Mac Cleanup Pro, Mac Mechanic, Mac Space Reviver, etc.) that are spread through deceptive websites. These applications typically require payment to be activated, however, even after they are purchased, they remain nonoperational.
In general, PUAs are all quite similar. They may seem legitimate and offer a wide variety of "useful" features ranging from weather forecasts and traffic data providers, to various antivirus applications. Despite how good these offers may sound, the applications rarely work as advertised.
The only purpose of unwanted apps and content is to generate revenue for the developers. PUAs provide no real value for regular users and simply cause redirects to untrustworthy and malicious web pages, hijack browsers, deliver intrusive advertisement campaigns, and track data.
The latter works by monitoring browsing activity (search engine and browsing histories), thereby collecting users' personal information (IP addresses, geolocations, and other private details). This data is then shared with third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) seeking to misuse it for financial gain.
Therefore, data tracking can lead to serious privacy issues, and even identity theft. To ensure device and user safety, all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins must be removed immediately.
|Threat Type||Scam, Phishing, Mac malware, Mac virus.|
|Serving IP Address||220.127.116.11|
|Promoted Unwanted Application||Cleanup My Mac|
|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.
0fficial[.]info is virtually identical to apple.com-shield[.]live, apple.com-mac-booster[.]live, macos-online-security-check[.]com, and thousands of other sites.
Most scam websites display alerts and warnings to scare users into installing their promoted content, however, it is highly unlikely that any programs downloaded are operational. In most cases, these sites are force-opened by PUAs already present within the system.
How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?
Certain PUAs have "official" download sites, however, they are also proliferated via the download/install set-ups of other programs. The method of pre-packing regular software with unwanted or malicious content is called "bundling".
By rushing though the download/installation processes (e.g. ignoring terms, skipping steps, using pre-set options, etc.), users risk allowing this content onto their devices. Intrusive advertisements are also known to proliferate PUAs. When clicked, they can execute scripts to download/install unwanted apps, without users' consent.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications
Only official and verified download channels should be used. Peer-to-Peer sharing networks and other third party downloaders are classed as untrusted. Therefore, you are advised not to use them. When downloading/installing, read the terms, use "Custom/Advanced" settings and decline download/installation of any additional content.
Intrusive ads usually seem legitimate and harmless, however, they often redirect to dubious websites (e.g. gambling, pornography, adult-dating, etc.).
If you experience these ads/redirects, inspect the system and remove all suspicious applications 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 presented in the initial pop-up:
Your Mac OS X is infected (4) by viruses and Your system is damaged.
You msut clean the system from viruses, as quick as possible!
** Do not ignore this warning **
Screenshot of the 0fficial[.]info website background web page:
Text presented on this webpage:
Your system is seriously damaged, found (4) viruses!
We discovered that Your Mac OS is damaged on 37,2% and contains (4) viruses.
If you will not delete viruses right now, then it can result in the damage of system files, data, appendixes and etc.
You need to do (step by step):
Step 1: Push the button Download and get free antivirus app.
Step 2: Download MacCleaner and recover Your system!
Appearance of 0fficial[.]info pop-up scam (GIF):
Screenshot of Cleanup My Mac 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:
- What is 0fficial.info pop-up?
- How to identify a pop-up scam?
- How do pop-up scams work?
- How to remove fake pop-ups?
- How to prevent fake pop-ups?
- What to do if you fell for a pop-up scam?
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:
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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