Avoid installing rogue apps through a Fake Software Update

Also Known As: Fake Software Update pop-up
Type: Mac Virus
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Medium

How to remove "Fake Software Update" from Mac computers

What is "Fake Software Update"?

Fake Software Update refers to a deceptive pop-up window, which claims that the Adobe Flash Player is outdated and requires an update. This scam promotes various rogue applications (e.g., browser hijackers and adware) and other potentially malicious content via fake Flash Player updaters/installers. These pop-ups are usually displayed by deceptive/scam websites that are rarely accessed intentionally - most visitors to them are redirected by Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUAs) or intrusive advertisements.

Fake Software Update scam

There are several variants of the Fake Software Update. One of these variants firstly displays a pop-up window claiming that Adobe Flash Player is out-of-date. Its second pop-up states that, due to this, the current version does not have the latest security updates and cannot be used until it is updated. It shows another window in the bottom right corner of the web page, which urges users to install the updates to continue using the Flash Player. The background page states that the newest updates are necessary to encode and/or decode audio files for the best experience (i.e., play them effectively). It also adds that Adobe Flash Player is a vital browser plug-in, allowing users to view content ranging from videos and animation to playing games online. Since the software it outdated, it has supposedly been blocked and will not perform any functions. As with the pop-up windows, this page also has several buttons for downloading the alleged Flash Player updates. Another variant of the scam shows a pop-up window informing users that Adobe Flash Player may be out of date. Additionally, the installed version might not have the latest security updates, and therefore might not be currently operational. This pop-up reassures users that these updates do not require a system reboot. Despite a legitimate appearance, these alerts are bogus and fake. Clicking the "update/download" buttons leads to download of the supposed updates. The installation setup bears many similarities to the genuine Flash Player updater, however, it is fake. Any content installed through these false set-ups is rogue and possibly even malicious. You are strongly advised to ignore such alerts and immediately leave any web page displaying them. Should that be impossible by closing the browser tab/window (some scam sites prevent users from doing so), use the activity monitor to terminate the browser process. When the browser is reopened, do not restore the previous browsing session, otherwise the deceptive web page is also reopened (or the website that redirected to it).

PUAs can infiltrate the Fake Software Update scam into the system. These applications appear normal and offer a broad array of "useful" and "beneficial" features to lure users to install. The functions rarely work as advertised and, in most cases, are nonoperational. PUAs generate redirects to deceptive/scam pages and various sale-based, untrustworthy, compromised, or even malicious websites. They can deliver intrusive ad campaigns by employing tools to enable third party graphical content to be displayed on any site, thereby delivering unwanted and harmful ads, which diminish the browsing experience, cause redirects to likewise dangerous web pages, and stealthily download/install other PUAs. Other types can make unauthorized changes to browsers (hijack them) and promote fake search engines. PUAs commonly have data tracking capabilities. They record browsing activity (browsing and search engine histories) and collect users' 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 present on devices can lead to browser and system infiltration/infections, 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.

Threat Summary:
Name Fake Software Update pop-up
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Mac malware, Mac virus.
Fake Claim Scam claims that the Adobe Flash Player is outdated and recommends that it is updated.
Detection Names Avast (Other:Malware-gen [Trj]), BitDefender (Adware.MAC.Bundlore.DPS), AVG (Other:Malware-gen [Trj]), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan-Downloader.OSX.Shlayer.a), Full List (VirusTotal)
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.
Removal

To eliminate Fake Software Update pop-up our malware researchers recommend scanning your computer with Combo Cleaner.
▼ Download Combo Cleaner
Free scanner checks if your computer is infected. To remove malware, you have to purchase the full version of Combo Cleaner.

The Internet is rife with deceptive websites. Scams similar to Fake Software Update include "Your Mac/iOS may be infected with 5 viruses!""Your Mac OS Might Be Infected""You-Have-1-Message-About-Your-Device", and many others. They typically use scare tactics to tempt visitors into downloading/installing and/or purchasing untrustworthy applications. For example, they warn users that a crucial piece of software is outdated and offer updates for it. These web pages can also show alarms claiming that the device is infected and promote certain apps for elimination of the fake problem. Note that no site can find threats/issues on an operating system. Any that make such claims are deceptive and must not be trusted. The same extends to the software they advertise. You are advised against downloading/installing/purchasing content endorsed on these pages.

How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?

Some PUAs have "official" download pages, however, they can also be installed together with other products. This deceptive marketing method of packing regular software with unwanted or malicious content is called "bundling". Rushing download/installation processes (e.g. ignoring terms, skipping steps and sections, etc.) increases the risk of unintentionally allowing bundled applications onto devices. 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 carefully before downloading/installing. Use only official and verified download channels. Peer-to-Peer sharing networks (BitTorrent, eMule, Gnutella), unofficial and free-file hosting websites, third party downloaders and similar sources are untrusted and should be avoided. Use tools/functions provided by legitimate developers to update software. Treat download/Installation processes with caution. Read the terms, study available options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings to decline downloading/installing additional apps, tools, features, etc. Intrusive ads may not seem suspicious, however, when clicked they redirect to dubious sites (e.g. gambling, pornography, adult-dating and others). If you encounter ads/redirects of this kind, inspect the device and remove all suspicious 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.

Screenshot of the initial pop-up window:

Fake Software Update pop-up 1

Text displayed in the pop-up windows:

Initial pop-up:

Update to the latest version of Flash Player. Your current Adobe Flash Player version is out of date.

 

--------------------

 

Second pop-up:

“Adobe Flash Player” is out-of-date

The version of this plug-in on your computer doesn't include the latest security updates. Flash cannot be used until you download an update from Adobe.Update Download Flash..

 

--------------------

 

Bottom-right pop-up:

Flash Player Update
Install latest version of Adobe Flash Player in order to continue watching.

Screenshot of the background page:

Fake Software Update background page

Text displayed in this page:

Latest version of Flash Player is required to encode and/or decode (Play) audio files in high quality. - Click here to update for latest version.

Software update
Adobe Flash Player
Install the latest update
Update Now

"Adobe Flash Player" is an essential plugin for your browser that allows you to view everything from video to games and animation on the web. The version of “Adobe Flash Player" on your system does not include the latest security updates and has been blocked.

To continue using “Adobe Flash Player", download an updated version.
UpdateDownload Flash...
Software update

Screenshot of another variant of the Fake Software Update scam pop-up:

Fake Software Update another variant

Text presented in this pop-up window:

Software update

Software Update
This update is recommended and no restart is needed

macOS Catalina Beta
10.15 - 6.45 GB

Your Adobe Flash Player may be out of date

The version of this plug-in on your computer might not include the latest security updates. Flash might not work until you download an update

Screenshots of the fake Adobe Flash Player installer promoted via Fake Software Update pop-up scam:

Fake Software Update installation 1 Fake Software Update installation 2 Fake Software Update installation 3

Instant automatic removal of Fake Software Update pop-up: 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 Fake Software Update pop-up. 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. Free scanner checks if your computer is infected. To remove malware, you have to purchase the full version of Combo Cleaner.

Quick menu:

Video showing how to remove adware and browser hijackers from a Mac computer:

Potentially unwanted applications removal:

Remove potentially unwanted applications from your "Applications" folder:

mac browser hijacker removal from applications folder

Click the Finder icon. In the Finder window, select "Applications". In the applications folder, look for "MPlayerX","NicePlayer", or other suspicious applications and drag them to the Trash. After removing the potentially unwanted application(s) that cause online ads, scan your Mac for any remaining unwanted components.

Remove fake software update pop-up related files and folders:

Finder go to folder command

Click the Finder icon, from the menu bar. Choose Go, and click Go to Folder...

step1Check for adware-generated files in the /Library/LaunchAgents folder:

removing adware from launch agents folder step 1

In the Go to Folder... bar, type: /Library/LaunchAgents

removing adware from launch agents folder step 2
In the “LaunchAgents” folder, look for any recently-added suspicious files and move them to the Trash. Examples of files generated by adware - “installmac.AppRemoval.plist”, “myppes.download.plist”, “mykotlerino.ltvbit.plist”, “kuklorest.update.plist”, etc. Adware commonly installs several files with the same string.

step2Check for adware generated files in the /Library/Application Support folder:

removing adware from application support folder step 1

In the Go to Folder... bar, type: /Library/Application Support

removing adware from application support folder step 2
In the “Application Support” folder, look for any recently-added suspicious folders. For example, “MplayerX” or “NicePlayer”, and move these folders to the Trash.

step3Check for adware-generated files in the ~/Library/LaunchAgents folder:

removing adware from ~launch agents folder step 1


In the Go to Folder bar, type: ~/Library/LaunchAgents

removing adware from ~launch agents folder step 2

In the “LaunchAgents” folder, look for any recently-added suspicious files and move them to the Trash. Examples of files generated by adware - “installmac.AppRemoval.plist”, “myppes.download.plist”, “mykotlerino.ltvbit.plist”, “kuklorest.update.plist”, etc. Adware commonly installs several files with the same string.

step4Check for adware-generated files in the /Library/LaunchDaemons folder:

removing adware from launch daemons folder step 1
In the Go to Folder... bar, type: /Library/LaunchDaemons

removing adware from launch daemons folder step 2
In the “LaunchDaemons” folder, look for recently-added suspicious files. For example “com.aoudad.net-preferences.plist”, “com.myppes.net-preferences.plist”, "com.kuklorest.net-preferences.plist”, “com.avickUpd.plist”, etc., and move them to the Trash.

step 5 Scan your Mac with Combo Cleaner:

If you have followed all the steps in the correct order you Mac should be clean of infections. To be sure your system is not infected run a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus. Download it HERE. After downloading the file double click combocleaner.dmg installer, in the opened window drag and drop Combo Cleaner icon on top of the Applications icon. Now open your launchpad and click on the Combo Cleaner icon. Wait until Combo Cleaner updates it's virus definition database and click "Start Combo Scan" button.

scan-with-combo-cleaner-1

Combo Cleaner will scan your Mac for malware infections. If the antivirus scan displays "no threats found" - this means that you can continue with the removal guide, otherwise it's recommended to remove any found infections before continuing.

scan-with-combo-cleaner-2

After removing files and folders generated by the adware, continue to remove rogue extensions from your Internet browsers.

Fake Software Update pop-up removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove fake software update pop-up related Safari extensions:

safari browser preferences

Open Safari browser, from the menu bar, select "Safari" and click "Preferences...".

safari extensions window

In the preferences window, select "Extensions" and look for any recently-installed suspicious extensions. When located, click the "Uninstall" button next to it/them. Note that you can safely uninstall all extensions from your Safari browser - none are crucial for normal browser operation.

  • If you continue to have problems with browser redirects and unwanted advertisements - Reset Safari.

firefox browser iconRemove malicious plug-ins from Mozilla Firefox:

Remove fake software update pop-up related Mozilla Firefox add-ons:

accessing mozilla firefox add-ons

Open your Mozilla Firefox browser. At the top right corner of the screen, click the "Open Menu" (three horizontal lines) button. From the opened menu, choose "Add-ons".

removing malicious add-ons from mozilla firefox

Choose the "Extensions" tab and look for any recently-installed suspicious add-ons. When located, click the "Remove" button next to it/them. Note that you can safely uninstall all extensions from your Mozilla Firefox browser - none are crucial for normal browser operation.

  • If you continue to have problems with browser redirects and unwanted advertisements - Reset Mozilla Firefox.

chrome-browser-iconRemove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:

Remove fake software update pop-up related Google Chrome add-ons:

removing malicious google chrome extensions step 1

Open Google Chrome and click the "Chrome menu" (three horizontal lines) button located in the top-right corner of the browser window. From the drop-down menu, choose "More Tools" and select "Extensions".

removing malicious Google Chrome extensions step 2

In the "Extensions" window, look for any recently-installed suspicious add-ons. When located, click the "Trash" button next to it/them. Note that you can safely uninstall all extensions from your Google Chrome browser - none are crucial for normal browser operation.

  • If you continue to have problems with browser redirects and unwanted advertisements - Reset Google Chrome.

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.

QR Code
Fake Software Update pop-up QR code
A QR code (Quick Response Code) is a machine-readable code which stores URLs and other information. This code can be read using a camera on a smartphone or a tablet. Scan this QR code to have an easy access removal guide of Fake Software Update pop-up on your mobile device.
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Platform: macOS

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Free scanner checks if your computer is infected. To remove malware, you have to purchase the full version of Combo Cleaner.