Avoid being scammed by "Your Mac/iOS may be infected with 5 viruses!"
Written by Tomas Meskauskas on (updated)
What is "Your Mac/iOS may be infected with 5 viruses!"?
"Your Mac/iOS may be infected with 5 viruses!" is a pop-up window displayed by deceptive/scam websites. It employs scare tactics to encourage visitors into taking certain actions, which result in them being redirected to various untrustworthy and malicious sites.
The pop-up alerts users of viruses it has supposedly detected on their devices and offers to update their antivirus software.
No web page can find threats/issues on systems, and any that make these claims cannot be trusted. Rogue websites are usually accessed inadvertently via redirects caused by intrusive advertisements or Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUAs) installed on the browser/system.
Once the deceptive site is entered, it displays a pop-up which claims to perform a system scan. The results inform visitors that their Mac/iOS might be infected with five viruses. The pop-up window states that immediate removal is required, as users risk permanent data loss and further system damage (implying that it has already suffered some).
Additionally, visitors are warned that their personal and banking information is endangered. To further give the impression of legitimacy, it lists the virus names, types, threat levels, and infected files. To eliminate these alleged threats, the device's antivirus software apparently needs an update.
Users are urged to click the "Proceed..." button to be redirected to the update download page. From here, they are to download the latest antivirus version. After the button is clicked, however, the scam site redirects users to random, potentially malicious web pages (where they are redirected depends on their geolocations).
As mentioned, no website can find threats/issues present on visitors' devices. Often, sites that display alerts such as "Your Mac/iOS may be infected with 5 viruses!" endorse bogus, nonoperational software. These advertised products typically require activation to be perform their functions (i.e., require purchase in order to work).
Despite being activated (purchased), they usually remain nonfunctional. Note that MacCleansePro, K9-MacOptimizer, and Qbit Mac Optimizer are just some examples of these fake applications. Note that "Your Mac/iOS may be infected with 5 viruses!" promotes Intego, which is legitimate software, and yet endorsed by rogue ad networks.
As well as generating redirects to dubious and malicious web pages, PUAs have other dangerous capabilities. They can run intrusive advertisement campaigns.
By employing various tools, they enable third party graphical content to be displayed on any site, thereby delivering ads (pop-ups, banners, coupons, surveys, etc.) that significantly diminish the browsing experience (by limiting browsing speed and web page content visibility).
Furthermore, due to the harmful sites to which they redirect and for their ability to stealthily download/install PUAs, intrusive ads are a safety threat. Other unwanted apps can make unauthorized changes to browsers by hijacking them and promoting fake search engines.
Many PUAs also have data tracking capabilities. They record users' browsing activity (URLs visited, search queries, etc.) and gather personal information (IP addresses, geolocations and other details). This sensitive data can then be shared with third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) seeking to misuse it for financial gain.
To summarize, PUAs can cause browser/system infiltration and infections, and lead to financial loss, serious privacy issues and even identity theft. To ensure device and user safety, remove all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins immediately upon detection.
|Name||"Your Mac/iOS may be infected with 5 viruses!" pop-up|
|Threat Type||Phishing, Scam, Mac malware, Mac virus.|
|Fake Claim||Scam claims that the device is infected and recommends an antivirus software update to remove them.|
|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.
There are thousands of scams similar to "Your Mac/iOS may be infected with 5 viruses!" including, for example, "This Update Requires An Action", "Your Mac OS Might Be Infected", Your-mac-security-analysis.net, and many others. Commonly, these deceptions involve the using scare tactics.
For example, some rogue websites alert users of false threats/issues found of their systems and attempt to trick them into downloading/installing or purchasing dubious software. These sites are rarely accessed intentionally, since most visitors are redirected by intrusive ads or PUAs.
How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?
Some PUAs have "official" download sites, on which they are frequently promoted as "free" and "useful", however, these applications can also be downloaded/installed together with other products. This deceptive marketing method of pre-packing regular software with unwanted 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 apps onto systems. Once clicked, intrusive ads can execute scripts designed to download/install PUAs without users' consent.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications
Research content to verify its authenticity, before downloading/installing. Use only official and verified download sources. Peer-to-Peer sharing networks (BitTorrent, eMule, Gnutella, etc.), free file-hosting websites, third party downloaders and similar channels are classed as untrustworthy and should be avoided.
Approach download and installation processes with caution. Read the terms, study all available options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings, and decline offers to download/install supplementary apps, tools, features, etc.
Intrusive advertisements usually seem normal and harmless, however, they often redirect to dubious sites (e.g. gambling, pornography, adult-dating and others). If you encounter ads/redirect of this kind, check the device 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 the "Your Mac/iOS may be infected with 5 viruses!" pop-up window:
Apple Security Center
Your Mac/iOS may be infected with 5 viruses!
The removal of viruses is required immediately to prevent further system damage, loss of programs, photos, videos or other files. Personal and banking information are at risk.
Name | Infected file | Type | Threat level
OSX/Hoax.Renos.HX | ~/Library/Application Suppo... | Virus | Medium
Trojan IRC/Backdoor.SdBot4.FRV | ~/Library/Application Suppo... | Virus | Medium
Adware. OSX.Look2me.ab | ~/Library/Containers/.PKIns... | Virus | Critical
Trojan.Qoologic - Key Logger | ~/Applications/.iCloudPhoto... | Virus | High
Trojan.Fakealert.356 | ~/Library/CoreServices/Core... | Virus | Medium
Action required! Your antivirus software requires an update. To remove all detected viruses, you must update the antivirus software. Click "Proceed" then on the next page click "Download" to download and install the latest version of antivirus software.
Appearance of "Your Mac/iOS may be infected with 5 viruses!" scam (GIF):
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 "Your Mac/iOS may be infected with 5 viruses!" 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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