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Avoid being scammed by nothsws websites

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

What is "Nothsws"?

Nothsws is a family of scam websites, which are designed to promote dubious software. They operate by warning users of a supposed 'threat' detected on their devices and recommending Smart Mac Booster for its removal. No web page can find threats/issues on systems.

Therefore, the problems they claim to find are false and any apps they endorse are often bogus and nonoperational. Victims rarely access Nothsws websites intentionally - most are redirected by Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUAs) already present on their devices.

Nothsws scam

Nothsws first displays a pop-up window. The message within it informs users that a site they visited earlier has infected their MacOS (Mac Operating System). Clicking "OK" will allegedly begin the removal process.

Once this window is closed, Nothsws shows a different web page reiterating the alert and urging users to perform a full system scan, which will apparently locate and remove harmful apps/files. It also lists the visitor's Mac details, such as device brand, OS version, browser, IP address, Internet provider and location.

Once the instructions have been followed, a fake system scan is initiated. This "detects" the "Bankworm" virus, and Nothsws then requests users to download Advanced Mac Cleaner for elimination of it from the MacOS. The "REMOVE VIRUS NOW" button redirects to the promotional web page of Smart Mac Booster.

The download process of this application leads to the maccleaner.pkg file, which is typically used to spread PUAs. You are strongly advised against installing this file. Due to its questionable proliferation methods, Smart Mac Booster is classified as a PUA.

There are many bogus apps similar to Smart Mac Booster including, for example, MacCleansePro, K9-MacOptimizer, Mac Space Reviver, etc. They usually need to be purchased to become active and perform their advertised functions. Even after activation, however, they often remain nonoperational.

Most PUAs share common traits. They often seem legitimate and lure users to install with offers of "useful" and "beneficial" features. These features are rarely operational. Even if they do work, it is not as promised. The only purpose of unwanted applications is to generate revenue for the developers - they have no genuine value to regular users.

PUAs cause redirects to untrustworthy and malicious sites. They can also deliver intrusive advertisements and hijack browsers. PUAs often have data tracking capabilities. They record users' browsing activity (browsing and search engine histories) and collect personal information (IP addresses, geolocations and other details).

This gathered data is then shared with third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) seeking to misuse it for financial gain. In summary, PUAs can lead to browser and system infiltration/infections and to serious privacy issues, financial loss and even identity theft. Therefore, remove all dubious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins immediately upon detection.

Threat Summary:
Name Nothsws pop-up
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Mac malware, Mac virus.
Fake Claim Nothsws sites claim that the visitor's device is infected with a virus and encourages them to download cleaning software.
Detection Names BitDefender (Malware), Kaspersky (Malware), G-Data (Phishing), Sophos AV (Malicious), Full List (VirusTotal).
Serving IP Address 176.119.1.201
Related Domains Full list below.
Promoted Unwanted Application Smart Mac Booster
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.

The internet is rife with deceptive web pages. For example, Zxcvc, Vnbue, and Sundayfunny are all scam site families identical to Nothsws.

They tend to use scare tactics to trick visitors into downloading/installing and/or purchasing their promoted software. They warn users of supposed threats/issues present on the device and offer untrustworthy applications to deal with the "detected" problems. Most users enter these websites unintentionally - they are redirected by intrusive advertisements or PUAs.

How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?

PUAs often proliferate via the download/install set-ups of other products. This deceptive marketing technique of packing normal software with unwanted and/or malicious content is called "bundling". Rushing download/installation processes (e.g. ignoring terms, using pre-set options, skipping steps and sections, etc.) increases the risk of allowing bundled software onto devices.

Some PUAs, such as Smart Mac Booster, also have "official" download web pages. Intrusive ads also proliferate these apps. Once clicked, they stealthily download/install PUAs.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications

Research all content, before downloading/installing. Use only official and verified download sources. Avoid Peer-to-Peer sharing networks (BitTorrent, eMule, Gnutella, etc.), free file-hosting sites, third party downloaders and similar - they are untrusted. Treat download/Installation processes with caution.

Read the terms, explore all available options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings, and decline offers to download/install supplementary apps, tools, features, etc. Intrusive advertisements typically seem legitimate and harmless, however, when clicked, they can redirect to dubious web pages (e.g. gambling, pornography, adult-dating and others).

If you experience these ads/redirects, inspect the system and remove all suspect applications and/or browser extensions/plug-ins without delay. 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 Nothsws pop-up window:

VIRUS FOUND

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

Press OK to begin the repair process.

Screenshot of Nothsws second page:

nothsws second page

Text presented in this page:

VIRUS FOUND
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.
DEVICE INFORMATION
Brand: Apple
Device: Mac OS X 10_13_6
Browser: Safari 12.0.1
IP: 85.206.10.62
Provider: Telia Lietuva, AB
Location: - LT
Scan Now

Screenshot of Nothsws fake scan results:

nothsws fake scan

Text presented in this page:

DOWNLOAD REQUIRED
Please download the Advanced Mac Cleaner application to remove Bankworm from your Mac.
VIRUS INFORMATION
Virus Name: Bankworm
Risk: HIGH
Infected File: /os/apps/worm.icv
VIRUS REMOVAL
Application: Advanced Mac Cleaner
Rating: 9.9/10
Price: Free
REMOVE VIRUS NOW

Appearance of Nothsws scam (GIF):

Appearance of Nothsws scam (GIF)

List of domains related to the Nothsws website family:

nothsws110[.]live
nothsws113[.]live
nothsws45[.]live
nothsws56[.]live
nothsws65[.]live
nothsws76[.]live
nothsws89[.]live
nothsws9[.]live
nothsws95[.]live

Screenshot of Smart Mac Booster installation setup:

Smart Mac Booster installer

Screenshot of Smart Mac Booster application:

Smart Mac Booster app

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:
▼ 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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