How to stop redirects to Winprizes scam websites

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

What are the Winprizes sites?

Winprizes is a group of deceptive websites, which promote various scams. For example, these web pages have been observed promoting "Latest version of Adobe Flash Player" and "Dear Chrome User, Congratulations!" scams. Note that different schemes or other dubious content might also be accessed via these web pages.

Most users access such websites unintentionally - they are redirected to them by intrusive advertisements or Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUAs) already infiltrated into the system. These apps do not need explicit permission to be installed onto devices.

winprizes scam

The only purpose of online scams is to generate profit for the designers. To elaborate on the schemes run by Winprizes, "Latest version of Adobe Flash Player" operates by claiming that Flash Player is (or might be) outdated. These claims are geared towards encouraging users into downloading/installing fake Flash updaters.

These bogus updates are commonly employed to proliferate browser hijackers, adware and other PUAs. Fake updaters often cause Trojan, ransomware and other malware infections. "Dear Chrome User, Congratulations!" scams abuse users' trust in various ways by claiming they can win prizes.

This model is used to steal personal information (e.g. details relating to identities, emails, social and banking account details, credit card details, etc.), trick users into making monetary transactions (e.g. fake fees/payments), and so on. Therefore, you are strongly advised against trusting Winprizes or other similar sites.

As well as force-opening deceptive/scam, untrusted, rogue, compromised and malicious websites, PUAs have additional capabilities. They can run intrusive advertisement campaigns. The delivered ads (e.g. pop-ups, banners, coupons, etc.) significantly affect the browsing experience, as they limit browsing speed and site visibility.

Furthermore, once clicked, these ads redirect to various dangerous web pages and can even stealthily download/install software (e.g. PUAs). Unwanted apps can hijack browsers by modifying their settings and promoting fake search engines. Regardless of their specific capabilities, PUAs can also track data.

They record browsing activity (URLs visited, pages viewed, search queries typed, etc.) and collect users' personal information (IP addresses, geolocations and other sensitive details). The gathered data is often shared with third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) intent on misusing it for financial gain.

Therefore, the presence of PUAs on systems can lead to various infiltration and infections, serious privacy issues, financial loss 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 Winprizes pop-up
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Mac malware, Mac virus.
Fake Claim Some scam variants claim that visitors' Flash Player is outdated.
Related Domains winprizes21[.]live; winprizes27[.]live; winprizes28[.]live; winprizes29[.]live; winprizes41[.]live; winprizes42[.]live
Detection Names (winprizes42[.]live) Kaspersky (Malware), Fortinet (Spam), Spamhaus (Spam), Full List (VirusTotal)
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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HotrivsalnNoname, and Finderprize are some examples of deceptive site groups similar to Winprizes. These web pages are quite common and use various scam models. For example, claims that a piece of essential software is outdated, alerts that the system is infected or at risk, prize giveaways and many others.

The goal is to encourage users into performing certain actions, such as downloading/installing or purchasing nonoperational, untrusted or malicious content, calling fake and expensive support/service lines, making monetary transactions (e.g. fake fees and payments), revealing personal information, and so on. You are strongly advised to exercise caution when browsing.

How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?

PUAs can be downloaded from "official" promotional websites, which are frequently promoted by deceptive/scam sites. These apps also proliferate via download/install set-ups of other products. "Bundling" is the term used to define this deceptive marketing method of pre-packing normal software with unwanted or malicious additions.

By rushing through download/installation processes (e.g. ignoring terms, skipping steps and sections, etc.), many users unintentionally endanger their devices with potential infiltration and infections. Once clicked, intrusive advertisements can execute scripts designed to download/install PUAs without users' consent.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications

You are advised to research all software and download it only from official/verified sources. Avoid download channels such as unofficial and free file-hosting sites, P2P sharing networks (BitTorrent, eMule, Gnutella, etc.) and other third party downloaders, as they can offer deceptive or bundled content.

When downloading/installing, read the terms, study all available options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings and opt-out of supplementary apps, tools, features and other additions. Intrusive ads may seem legitimate and harmless, however, they can redirect to highly suspect web pages (e.g. gambling, pornography, adult-dating, etc.).

If you experience ads/redirects of this kind, check the system and remove all dubious applicants 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 of the "Dear Chrome User, Congratulations!" scam variant run on a site belonging to Winprizes group (GIF):

Another appearance variant of winprizes scam

Appearance of the "Latest version of Adobe Flash Player" scam variant run on a site belonging to Winprizes group (GIF):

Appearance scam promoted by of Winprizes website (GIF)

Appearance variant of the "Latest version of Adobe Flash Player" scam variant run on a site belonging to Winprizes group (GIF):

Another appearance variant of winprizes scam

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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.

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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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