Avoid being scammed by hotrivsaln websites

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

What are "Hotrivsaln" sites?

Hotrivsaln is a group of deceptive websites running various scams. Sites belonging to Hotrivsaln have been observed promoting "Latest version of Adobe Flash Player" and "Dear Chrome User, Congratulations!" schemes, yet other scams might also be accessed through or run on these web pages.

Most people enter deceptive/scam pages via redirects caused by intrusive advertisements or Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUAs) already installed on their systems.

Hotrivsaln scam

Online scams have just one purpose: to generate profit for their designers. To elaborate, "Latest version of Adobe Flash Player" scams claim that Flash Player is (or might be) outdated and offer bogus updates. Fake updaters are often used to proliferate adware, browser hijackers and other PUAs.

Furthermore, they can cause high-risk infections such as ransomware, trojan and other malware. "Dear Chrome User, Congratulations!" employs a different scam model. These schemes offer a chance to win a prize, however, the rewards are fake and users' trust is abused in various ways.

For example, people are tricked into making monetary transactions such as paying fake shipping fees or other bogus payments, revealing personal information such as account credentials (emails, social networking, social media, banking, etc.), credit card details, and so on.

Therefore, never trust Hotrivsaln or similar scam sites. Despite the seemingly "useful" software they offer or the "unbelievable prizes" they promise, these scams can significantly endanger device and user safety.

PUAs have varied capabilities. As well as force-opening deceptive/scam, sale-oriented, untrusted, rogue, compromised and malicious websites, these apps can also deliver intrusive ads (pop-ups, banners, surveys, etc.). The delivered ads redirect to likewise dangerous web pages and stealthily download/install unwanted content (e.g. PUAs).

Other unwanted applications hijack browsers by modifying their settings and promoting fake search engines. Furthermore, most PUAs can track data as well. They record browsing activity (URLs visited, pages viewed, search queries typed, etc.) and collect sensitive information derived from it (IP addresses, geolocations and personally identifiable details).

The gathered data is often shared with third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) seeking to misuse it for financial gain. To summarize, PUAs can cause system infiltration and infections, lead to serious privacy issues, financial loss and even identity theft. Therefore, remove all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins immediately upon detection.

Threat Summary:
Name hotrivsaln pop-up
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Mac malware, Mac virus
Fake Claim Some scam variants claim that Flash Player is outdated, others that users can win a prize.
Related Domains hotrivsaln3[.]live; hotrivsaln4[.]live; hotrivsaln5[.]live; hotrivsaln6[.]live; hotrivsaln7[.]live; hotrivsaln8[.]live; hotrivsaln31[.]live
Detection Names (hotrivsaln31[.]live)
Fortinet (Phishing), G-Data (Phishing), Kaspersky (Malware), Spamhaus (Spam), Full List (VirusTotal)
Serving IP Address (hotrivsaln31[.]live)
Promoted Unwanted Application Some scam variants promote fake software updaters.
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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NonameFinderprize, and Prizeseeker are some examples of scam groups similar to Hotrivsaln. These schemes work using social engineering and scare tactics to trick users into performing specific actions.

Popular scam models include (but are not limited to) alerts that a piece of essential software is out of date or missing, warnings that the system is infected or at risk, claims users can win (or have won) a prize, offers of "amazing" deals, and many others.

The internet is rife with deceptive sites, which can seem legitimate and harmless. Therefore, always exercise caution when browsing.

How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?

Some PUAs have "official" download web pages, which are frequently promoted by other deceptive/scam sites. These apps also proliferate via download/installation set-ups of other software. This deceptive marketing method of packing regular products with unwanted or malicious additions is called "bundling".

It is often possible to opt-out of these additions, however, rushing download/installation processes (e.g. ignoring terms, using pre-set options, etc.) increases the risk of unintentionally allowing bundled content onto the system. When clicked, intrusive advertisements can execute scripts to download/install PUAs without users' permission.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications

All products should be researched prior to download/installation. Use only official and verified download channels. Unofficial and free file-hosting websites, P2P sharing networks (BitTorrent, Gnutella, eMule, etc.) and other third party downloaders are untrusted and can offer deceptive/bundled content.

Treat download/Installation processes with caution. Read the terms, study all available options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings and opt-out of additional apps, tools, features and so on. Intrusive ads usually seem normal and innocuous, however, they can redirect to dubious web pages (e.g. pornography, adult-dating, gambling, etc.).

If you encounter these ads/redirects, inspect the system and eliminate all suspect applications and 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.

Appearance variant of Hotrivsaln, "Dear Chrome User, Congratulations!" scam (GIF):

Appearance of Hotrivsaln scam (GIF)

Appearance variant of Hotrivsaln, "Latest version of Adobe Flash Player" scam (GIF):

Hotrivsaln scam appearance variant

Another appearance variant of Hotrivsaln, "Latest version of Adobe Flash Player" scam (GIF):

Hotrivsaln scam another appearance variant

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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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