What is "Smmhck"?
Smmhck is a group of scam websites, which operate by using scare tactics to trick visitors into downloading/installing dubious software. The researched variant endorsed the Smart Mac Booster Potentially Unwanted Application (PUA) in this manner.
When Smmhck is accessed, it warns users of 'viruses' detected on their MacOS (Mac Operating System) and recommends an application for their elimination. Note that no web page can find threats/issues on users' devices - these claims are false, deceptive and must not be trusted.
Furthermore, apps promoted on these pages are often bogus and nonfunctional. Few visitors enter Smmhck intentionally - most are redirected by PUAs or intrusive advertisements.
Visitors first see a pop-up window when they enter Smmhck. This alerts them that a site they visited earlier has infected their MacOS with a virus. The repair process can allegedly begin when users press "OK".
After the pop-up is closed, Smmhck displays a different web page, which repeats the initial claim and adds that a 'full system scan' is required to locate and delete hazardous files/applications from the device. In an attempt to appear legitimate, the web page also lists device details, such as brand, OS version, browser, IP address, Internet provider and location.
After consent is given to the scan (the "Scan Now" button is clicked), Smmhck shows an emulation if the scan process. This fake system scan 'finds' a high-risk virus called "Bankworm". The website offers Advanced Mac Cleaner for the removal of the threat. In fact, clicking "REMOVE VIRUS NOW" redirects visitors to the promotional page of Smart Mac Booster.
Following the directions therein results in download of the maccleaner.pkg file, which is used to spread PUAs. It proliferates other applications as well as Smart Mac Booster including, for example, Mac Cleanup Pro, MacKeeper, and Mac Auto Fixer to name a few. Software of this type is untrustworthy and potentially harmful.
Additionally, it usually requires activation (i.e., purchase) to become operational. Despite being activated, however, these apps remain nonoperational.
In general, all PUAs share common traits, and this does not only extend to fake Mac cleaners and optimizers. Unwanted applications offer a wide variety of functions, ranging from system enhancers to content providers. Despite how good these offers may sound and how legitimate the apps appear, they rarely work as advertised.
In most cases, the features promised do not work at all. The only purpose of all PUAs is to generate revenue for the developers. This software has many dangerous capabilities. The applications can cause redirects to sale-oriented, untrustworthy, deceptive/scam and malicious web pages.
They run intrusive advertisement campaigns, delivering unwanted and harmful ads, which diminish the browsing experience. Other types make unauthorized changes to browsers and promote fake search engines. PUAs tend to track private data as well.
By monitoring browsing habits (URLs visited, search queries typed, etc.), they collect users' personal information (IP addresses, geolocations and other details). This sensitive data is then shared with third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) intent on misusing it for financial gain.
Therefore, PUAs can cause browser/system infiltration and infections and lead to serious privacy issues, financial loss and even identity theft. Due to these risks, you are advised to remove all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plugins immediately upon detection.
|Threat Type||Phishing, Scam, Mac malware, Mac virus.|
|Fake Claim||Smmhck websites claim that visitors' devices are infected with a virus and encourage them to download cleaning software.|
|Detection Names||Spamhaus (Spam), Full List (VirusTotal)|
|Serving IP Address||22.214.171.124|
|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.
There are countless deceptive sites online including, for example, apple.com-mac-optimization.live, apple.com-optimizing-mac.live, etc. Some of these websites might even be identical. Chksumm, Trksmm, Hj8gjh are relevant examples of those sites practically indistinguishable from Smmhck.
Scam web pages usually employ similar tactics to tempt users into downloading/installing and/or purchasing dubious content. These pages can also operate by generating redirects or have other malicious purposes. Typically, access to them is gained via redirects generated by PUAs or intrusive ads.
How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?
The most common mode of PUA proliferation is through the download/install set-ups of other products. This deceptive marketing technique of packing regular software with unwanted or malicious content is called "bundling".
Rushing download/installation processes (e.g. ignoring terms, skipping steps, etc.) increases the risk of inadvertently allowing bundled content onto systems. Some apps within this classification (e.g. Smart Mac Booster) have "official" download websites. When clicked, intrusive ads can execute scripts to download/install PUAs without users' permission.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications
Research all content prior to download and installation. Use official and verified download sources. P2P sharing networks (BitTorrent, Gnutella, eMule, etc.), unofficial and free file-hosting sites, third party downloaders and similar channels are untrustworthy and should be avoided. Treat download and installation processes with caution.
Read the terms, explore all available options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings, and opt-out of additional apps, tools, functions, etc. Intrusive ads often seem normal and harmless, however, they redirect to dubious web pages (e.g. gambling, pornography, adult-dating and others).
If you encounter ads/redirects of this kind, 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 Smmhck pop-up window:
A website you visited today has infected your Mac with a virus.
Press OK to begin the repair process.
Screenshot of second page displayed by Smmhck:
Text presented 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.
Device: Mac OS X 10_13_6
Browser: Safari 12.0.1
Provider: Telia Lietuva, AB
Location: - LT
Screenshot of the fake scan results:
Text presented in this page:
Please download the Advanced Mac Cleaner application to remove Bankworm from your Mac.
Virus Name: Bankworm
Infected File: /os/apps/worm.icv
Application: Advanced Mac Cleaner
REMOVE VIRUS NOW
Appearance of Smmhck scam (GIF):
List of domains related to the Smmhck website family:
Screenshot of Smart Mac Booster installation set-up:
Screenshot of 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:
- What is Smmhck 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.