Avoid getting scammed by the prizesfinder websites

Also Known As: prizesfinder pop-up
Type: Mac Virus
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Medium

How to remove redirects to "Prizesfinder" sites from Mac?

What are the "Prizesfinder" websites?

Prizesfinder is a group of deceptive sites, which promote various scams. It has been noted pushing various "Latest version of Adobe Flash Player" and "Dear Chrome User, Congratulations!" schemes. Trusting such scams can lead to a variety of serious issues. Few users enter Prizesfinder and other similar pages intentionally, most get redirected to them by intrusive adverts or by PUAs (Potentially Unwanted Applications), already installed onto their devices. Users should note that these apps do not need express permission to infiltrate systems.

Prizesfinder scam

Deceptive websites have just one purpose - to generate revenue for their developers. The "Latest version of Adobe Flash Player" uses the outdated/missing piece of software scam model. These schemes alter users that Flash Player is or may be out-of-date and offer illegitimate updates. Typically, fake updaters proliferate adware, browser hijackers and other PUAs. What is more, they can infect systems with malware (e.g. ransomware, trojans, etc.). As for "Dear Chrome User, Congratulations!" scam, it uses the fake prize giveaway model. These scams abuse users' trust in various ways. Once attempts are made to receive the promised prizes, users can be asked to make fraudulent transactions (e.g. shipping, registration fees and other bogus payments) and/or have their personal information stolen (e.g. names, surnames, addresses and/or email, social and banking accounts) and so on. In summary, online schemes can endanger device and user safety.

Unwanted applications force-open deceptive/scam, sale-oriented, untrustworthy, rogue, compromised and malicious websites. However, PUAs can also deliver intrusive ads (e.g. pop-ups, surveys, banners, coupons, etc.). When clicked on, these advertisements redirect to harmful sites and can even execute scripts, designed to stealthily download/install software. PUAs can hijack browsers as well, by modifying them and restricting/denying access to their settings. Most unwanted applications have data tracking abilities, which are employed to spy on users' browsing activity. Information of interest includes: browsing and search engine histories, IP addresses, geolocations and personal details. This vulnerable data is likely to be shared with third parties (potentially, cyber criminals), seeking to misuse it for profit. Therefore, PUAs can lead to system infiltrations/infections, severe privacy issues, financial losses and even identity theft. To ensure device integrity and user safety, it is strongly recommended to eliminate all suspect applications and browser extensions/plug-ins without delay.

Threat Summary:
Name prizesfinder pop-up
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Mac malware, Mac virus
Fake Claim Sites make various false claims, e.g. that Flash Player is outdated or that users can win a prize.
Related Domains prizesfinder12[.]live; prizesfinder18[.]live; prizesfinder21[.]live; prizesfinder23[.]live; prizesfinder32[.]live; prizesfinder37[.]live; prizesfinder41[.]live
Detection Names (prizesfinder12[.]live)
Spamhaus (Spam), Full List (VirusTotal)
Serving IP Address (prizesfinder12[.]live) 185.89.102.158
Promoted Unwanted Application Some 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.
Removal

To eliminate malware infections our security researchers recommend scanning your Mac with Combo Cleaner.
▼ Download Combo Cleaner for Mac
Free scanner checks if your computer is infected. To remove malware, you have to purchase the full version of Combo Cleaner.

There are thousands of deceptive/scam webpages on the Internet. HotrivsalnPrizeseeker and Vnbue are just a few examples of groups similar to Prizesfinder. Social engineering and scare tactics are used to further these scams. Popular models include (but are not limited to): claims that a crucial piece of software is outdated or missing, alerts that the device is infected or at risk, fake prize giveaways, unbelievable offers and many others.

How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?

PUAs can be downloaded/installed alongside other products. "Bundling" is the term used to describe this false marketing method of pre-packing ordinary software with unwanted or malicious additions. Rushed download and installation processes (e.g. ignored terms, skipped steps and sections, etc.) - endanger systems with potential infiltrations and infections, originating from bundled content. Select PUAs have "official" promotional pages, from which they can be downloaded. Intrusive ads also spread PUAs, once clicked - they can execute scripts to download/install such apps without user consent.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

All products should be researched, before download/installation and/or purchase. It is recommended to always use official and verified download channels. Untrustworthy ones, like: Peer-to-Peer sharing networks (BitTorrent, Gnutella, eMule, etc.), free file-hosting sites and other third party downloaders - can offer deceptive and/or bundled content. When downloading/installing, it is important to read terms, study all possible options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings and opt-out from supplementary apps, tools, features and so on. Intrusive adverts tend to appear legitimate and harmless, however they redirect to highly dubious webpages (e.g. gambling, pornography, adult-dating and others). Should users encounter advertisements/redirects of this type, they are advised to check the system and remove all suspicious applications and/or browser extensions/plug-ins immediately. If your computer is already infected with PUAs, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate them.

Appearance of Prizesfinder site, promoting "Dear Chrome User, Congratulations!" scam (GIF):

Appearance variant of Prizesfinder scam (GIF)

Appearance variant of Prizesfinder site, promoting "Latest version of Adobe Flash Player" scam (GIF):

Prizesfinder scam appearance variant (GIF)

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

Another appearance variant of Prizesfinder 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. 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 prizesfinder 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.

prizesfinder pop-up removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove prizesfinder 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 prizesfinder 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 prizesfinder 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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Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

QR Code
prizesfinder 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 prizesfinder pop-up on your mobile device.
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