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Do not trust Install-plug-s3.com or other similar websites

Also Known As: install-plug-s3.com pop-up
Type: Mac Virus
Damage level: Medium

What is install-plug-s3[.]com?

install-plug-s3[.]com is designed by scammers who seek to deceive unsuspecting visitors into installing potentially unwanted applications (PUAs), such as browser hijackers, adware or other apps of this kind, through a fake Adobe Flash Player installer. In some cases, these websites are used to spread malicious programs including ransomware, Trojans, and other malware.

Neither install-plug-s3[.]com nor other similar websites (there are many ) can be trusted. Typically, they are opened through other untrustworthy websites, deceptive advertisements or PUAs already installed on browsers and/or operating systems. People generally arrive at sites such as install-plug-s3[.]com unintentionally.

install-plug-s3[.]com scam

When visited, install-plug-s3[.]com displays a pop-up window suggesting that the installed version of Adobe Flash Player is out of date and that there is a new version available for download. In fact, this site has nothing to do with the Adobe Flash Player and actually downloads a file (AdobeFlashPlayer.dmg) that installs a potentially unwanted application.

Typically, websites such as install-plug-s3[.]com trick people into installing adware, browser hijackers or other PUAs. Adware is a type of software that serves intrusive advertisements. The ads lead people who click them to various untrustworthy websites and, in some cases, they execute scripts that cause download/installation of PUAs.

Furthermore, adware might be designed to gather various information. For example, addresses of visited websites, entered search queries, geolocations, IP addresses, and other browsing data. Some of these apps can also access and collect personal, sensitive information.

Developers misuse the gathered data to generate revenue and might sell it to third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) who also misuse it. Browser hijackers can also operate as information tracking tools. Additionally, most promote various fake search engines by changing certain browser settings.

Fake Adobe Flash Players can also be used to distribute malware (ransomware, Trojans). They can lead to installation of software that causes data/financial loss, installation of other malware, identity theft, problems relating to browsing safety, privacy, and so on. Therefore, it is never safe to open files that are downloaded through websites such as install-plug-s3[.]com.

Threat Summary:
Name install-plug-s3.com pop-up
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Mac malware, Mac virus.
Fake Claim This website suggests that Adobe Flash Player is out of date and encourages users to download a fake installer.
Detection Names (AdobeFlashPlayer.dmg) Avast (MacOS:Bundlore-CJ [Adw]), BitDefender (Adware.MAC.Bundlore.DXI), Emsisoft (Adware.MAC.Bundlore.DXI (B)), Kaspersky (Not-a-virus:HEUR:AdWare.OSX.Bnodlero.x), Full List (VirusTotal)
Serving IP Address 34.237.153.102
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)

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Other examples of websites that are designed to trick people into using fake installers (that supposedly update/install Adobe Flash Player) include managervanilla[.]pw, startnewestmostprogram[.]icu and fineplayerreliablenew[.]best.

None update or install Adobe Flash Player - they simply download files that infect systems with malware, or install potentially unwanted applications (or multiple PUAs). As mentioned, browsers often open pages such as install-plug-s3[.]com due to installed PUAs.

How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?

In most cases, people download and/or install PUAs when they are distributed by including them into the download/installation set-ups of other software. This distribution method of potentially unwanted software is called "bundling". Generally, offers to download and/or install additional apps can be found in "Custom", "Advanced" and other similar settings of the set-ups.

Unfortunately, many people leave these settings unchanged, thereby agreeing by default with offers to download or install additionally-included apps. PUAs are sometimes downloaded or installed by clicking deceptive ads that run certain scripts.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications

Software should not be downloaded/installed through third party downloaders, installers, Peer-to-Peer networks such as eMule, torrent clients, unofficial pages, and so on. The safest way is to use official websites and direct download links. Furthermore, download/installation set-ups often contain "Custom", "Advanced" and other similar settings.

Do not leave these unchecked, since they might contain offers to download or install unwanted software, which can be dismissed before completing the process. Ads that are displayed on dubious web pages tend to redirect people to potentially untrustworthy sites or cause download/installation of unwanted apps.

Therefore, do not click these ads. If unwanted, suspicious extensions, plug-ins or add-ons are already installed on the browser, or programs of this kind on the computer, remove them immediately. If your computer is already infected with PUAs, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate them.

Text in a pop-up window displayed by this website:

Software Update

 

Flash Player Update
Download new version

 

Update now

 

Flash Player is essential plugin for your browser that allows you to view everything from video to games and animation on the web.

 

Flash Player supports several data formats including AMF, SWF, XML and JSON. The multimedia formats which are supported by Flash Player include .MP3, .FLV, .JPEG, .GIF, .PNG and .RTMP.

 

Other supported features include accelerated graphics rendering, multi-thread video decoding and webcam support.

 

Later Install

Screenshot of a fake Adobe Flash Player installer:

fake Adobe Flash Player installer

Another screenshot of a fake Adobe Flash Player installer:

fake Adobe Flash Player installer

Appearance of install-plug-s3[.]com scam (GIF):

Appearance of install-plug-s3[.]com 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:
▼ 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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