Stop being scammed by apple.com-mac-optimizer.live

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

What is "apple.com-mac-optimizer[.]live"?

apple.com-mac-optimizer[.]live is a scam website, which uses scare-tactics to trick people into installing the Cleanup My Mac application. When accessed, it alerts visitors of various threats it has detected and promotes the app to eliminate them. Note that no website can detect infections/issues present on devices.

Therefore, any 'threats' these sites claim to find are fake. Do not download/install software endorsed on these pages, since it is often bogus and nonoperational. In most cases, apple.com-mac-optimizer[.]live is entered through redirects caused by Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUAs) already present on the device.

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

apple.com-mac-optimizer[.]live displays a pop-up window, which informs visitors that a trojan virus (e.tre456_worm_osx) was found on the MacOS (Mac Operating System). It states that immediate action is required and urges users to click "OK" to begin the repair process.

After this window is closed, more information is provided in the background page concerning the "detected" threats. The apple.com-mac-optimizer[.]live sites claims that there are three viruses present (two malware and one phishing/spyware infection) on the MacOS.

It further attempts to alarm users by stating that their personal and banking information is at risk, and showing a count-down timer until data damage becomes permanent. Clicking the "Scan Now" button initiates a fake scan, which results in "detection" of "Tapsnake, CronDNS and Dubfishicv" viruses.

Additionally, users are informed that their Mac computers are damaged at 33.2 percent. The site recommends Advanced Mac Cleaner for the removal of these viruses. In fact, "REMOVE VIRUSES NOW" begins the process of downloading the Cleanup My Mac application.

This results in download of the maccleaner.pkg file, which is known to proliferate PUAs. You are advised against installing this file, since any software installed via it is usually bogus and nonfunctional. The same extends to Cleanup My Mac, which is classified as a PUA.

There are many similar unwanted apps online, including K9-MacOptimizerQuick Mac Care, and Mac Cleanup, all of which are promoted as Mac-specific cleaners and optimizers. These apps typically require activation to become operational (i.e., must be purchased to work). Despite being activated/purchased, however, they often remain nonoperational.

In general, PUAs share many commonalities. They often seem legitimate and offer a wide variety of "useful" features. These features rarely work as advertised, and usually do not function at all. The only purpose of this unwanted content is to generate revenue for the developers - to regular users, they are worthless.

They are designed to cause redirects to untrustworthy and malicious websites, deliver intrusive advertisement campaigns (pop-ups, surveys, banners, etc.), and some can track data. For example, PUAs record users' browsing activity (browsing and search engine histories) and collect personal information (IP addresses, geolocations and other details).

This sensitive data is then shared with third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) seeking to misuse it for financial gain. In summary, PUAs can cause various browser and system infiltration/infection and lead to severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft. To ensure device and user safety, remove all suspect applications and browser extensions without delay.

Threat Summary:
Name apple.com-mac-optimizer.live pop-up
Threat Type Mac malware, Mac virus.
Fake Claim The fake error claims that the MacOS is infected and encourages users to download a system cleaner. 
Detection Names Spamhaus (Phishing), Fortinet (Spam), Full List (VirusTotal)
Serving IP Address
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.
▼ 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-mac-optimizer[.]live is identical to apple.com-optimizing-mac.live, apple.com-shield.live, apple.com-scan-mac.xyz, and many other sites. Most scam websites warn of threats/issues they have supposedly detected and encourage users to install the apps they promote.

No website can find these problems on systems - they are all fake. The promoted software is also bogus and unable to operate as promised. These deceptive sites are mostly accessed via redirects caused by intrusive advertisements or PUAs.

How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?

Some PUAs have "official" download websites, on which they are typically advertised as "free" software, however, these applications can also be inadvertently installed together other products. "Bundling" is the term used to describe this deceptive marketing technique of pre-packing normal software with unwanted or malicious content.

Rushing through download/installation processes (e.g. ignoring terms, skipping steps and sections, using pre-set options, etc.) increases the risk of unintentionally allowing bundled apps onto devices. Intrusive advertisements are another known source of PUAs. Once clicked, these ads can execute scripts designed to download/install PUAs without users' permission.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications

Research content to verify its legitimacy, before downloading/installing. All downloads should be carried out via official and verified channels. Peer-to-Peer sharing networks (BitTorrent, eMule, Gnutella, etc.), unofficial and free file-hosting sites, third party downloaders and similar sources are classed as untrustworthy and should not be used.

Treat download and installation processes with caution. Read the terms, study all available options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings, and decline offers to download/install additional apps, tools, features, etc.

When browsing, avoid suspicious web pages and ads. Intrusive ads usually seem legitimate and harmless, however, they can redirect to various dubious websites (e.g. gambling, pornography, adult-dating, and others). If you experience ads/redirects of this type, inspect the system and remove all suspicious applications and/or browser extensions/plug-is.

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 window:


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

Press OK to begin the repair process.

Screenshot of "apple.com-mac-optimizer[.]live" background web page:

apple.com-mac-optimizer[.]live background

Text presented in this page:

Your system is infected with 3 viruses! Friday, October 25, 2019 3:45 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 10.15 Catalina.

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 system scan:

apple.com-mac-optimizer[.]live fake scan

Text presented 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[.]live" scam (GIF):

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

Cleanup My Mac application installer:

Cleanup My Mac installer

Screenshot of Cleanup My Mac application:

Cleanup My Mac 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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Removal Instructions in other languages
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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