How to uninstall unwanted apps that open prizeseeker web pages

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

What is prizeseeker?

prizeseeker is a family of deceptive pages designed to trick people into providing personal information, installing potentially unwanted applications (PUAs) such as browser hijackers and adware, or even malicious programs including Trojans and ransomware.

In any case, none of the prizeseeker web pages are trusted. These websites are often opened when people click deceptive advertisements, visit other dubious web pages or have PUAs installed on the browser and/or operating system. Therefore, people do not often open prizeseeker or other, similar websites intentionally.

prizeseeker scam

At the time of research, prizeseeker loaded a number of deceptive websites ("Latest version of Adobe Flash Player" and "Flash Player Might Be Out Of Date") designed to trick visitors into using a fake Adobe Flash Player. Furthermore, it loaded "Dear Safari User, You Are Today's Lucky Visitor", a website that attempts to trick visitors into providing personal information.

Typically, fake Adobe Flash Player installers deploy browser hijackers, adware and other PUAs, or even malicious software such as ransomware and Trojans. Browser hijacking applications promote fake search engines by changing browser settings and gathering information.

Typically, they target browsing data, however, in some cases, these PUAs record personal, sensitive information. Adware-type apps feed users with intrusive advertisements and often gather information.

Ransomware encrypts victims' data and ensures that victims cannot recover files without specific tools that can only be purchased from the cyber criminals who designed the program. Trojans are malicious programs that often cause chain infections - they infect operating systems with other malware.

Fake Adobe Flash Player installers can cause problems such as identity theft, monetary and/or data loss, installation of unwanted or even malicious software, issues relating to privacy, browsing safety, and so on. The "Dear Safari User, You Are Today's Lucky Visitor" web page is used to trick visitors into believing that they were selected as winners of prizes.

To receive them, they are encouraged to complete a survey and provide various information. Typically, websites of this type are designed by scammers who attempt to extort personal information (such as credit card details) that could be misused to generate revenue (make fraudulent transactions, purchases, etc.).

Therefore, never trust these sites. There are also other deceptive, untrusted pages that are part of the prizeseeker family. As mentioned, none can be trusted and you should ignore them.

Threat Summary:
Name prizeseeker pop-up
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Mac malware, Mac virus.
Related Domain prizeseeker34[.]live
Serving IP Address (prizeseeker34[.]live)
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.
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More examples of families of untrustworthy websites similar to prizeseeker include hndry, vnbue and noname. Typically, they load pages designed to trick visitors into installing unwanted, malicious software and providing sensitive information. Browsers commonly open these dubious, potentially malicious pages due to installed PUAs.

How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?

In most cases, people download and install unwanted software (PUAs) by clicking deceptive advertisements that execute certain scripts, or by downloading/installing programs that have PUAs included in their set-ups as additional offers.

This latter PUA distribution method is called "bundling" and is used to trick people into downloading and installing unwanted programs together with regular software. Generally, offers to download and install PUAs can be found in "Custom", "Advanced", and other similar settings.

People often download and install programs without checking or changing these settings, thereby allowing additional rogue software to be downloaded and installed.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications

Do not download or install software from dubious websites, through Peer-to-Peer networks (e.g., torrent clients, eMule), third party downloaders, installers or other similar channels/tools. Use official websites and direct links. Check all download/installation settings such as "Custom", "Advanced", and so on.

Decline any offers to download or install PUAs. Do not click ads that are displayed on dubious web pages (e.g., on those relating to gambling, adult dating, pornography). These can run scripts to download and install unwanted apps. These ads can also open untrusted websites.

Remove any unwanted apps (extensions, plug-ins and add-ons) installed on the browser immediately. Also remove programs of this kind that are installed on the computer/operating system. If your computer is already infected with PUAs, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate them.

Prizeseeker loads "Latest version of Adobe Flash Player" scam (GIF):

prizeseeker loads fake adobe flash player installer download website

Prizeseeker loads "Flash Player Might Be Out Of Date" scam (GIF):

prizeseeker loads fake adobe flash player installer download page

Prizeseeker loads "Dear Safari User, You Are Today's Lucky Visitor" scam (GIF):

prizeseeker loads dear safari user you are todays lucky visitor scam

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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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