Avoid being scammed by netuniverse websites

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

What are the Netuniverse sites?

Netuniverse is a group of deceptive websites running various schemes. Sites belonging to this family have been observed promoting the "Dear Safari User, You Are Today's Lucky Visitor" scam, however, they might also promote other dubious schemes.

Few users access Netuniverse web pages intentionally - most are redirected to them by intrusive advertisements or Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUAs) already installed on the system.

Netuniverse scam

"Dear Safari User, You Are Today's Lucky Visitor" uses the fake prize giveaway model. These schemes claim that people have won (or can win) a gift (e.g. for completing a survey). To receive the nonexistent prize, users are asked to provide personal information: names, addresses, emails, banking account and credit card details, etc.

This sensitive data can be misused by the scammers in various ways. For example, to make online purchases or fraudulent transactions, and so on. Scams of this type can also request users to pay bogus shipping, registration, subscription and other likewise fake fees. Therefore, you are strongly advised against visiting or trusting Netuniverse and similar web pages.

One of the main causes of rogue redirects are PUAs. They can force-open sale-oriented, untrusted, rogue, deceptive/scam, compromised and malicious websites, however, these applications also have additional capabilities. They can enable the placement of various intrusive ads on any visited website.

These ads reduce browsing speed and overlay page content. When clicked, intrusive advertisements redirect to similarly dangerous sites, and some can even execute scripts designed to download/install rogue software (e.g. PUAs) without users' permission.

Other PUAs can hijack browsers by modifying their settings and restricting access to them - this, to promote fake search engines. These bogus web search tools are useless and unable to generate unique results - they simply redirect to other, legitimate search engines. Most PUAs can track data.

They monitor browsing activity (browsing and search engine histories) and gather personal information (IP addresses, geolocations and other details).

The collected data is typically shared with third parties seeking to misuse it for profit. In summary, PUAs can cause various system infiltration/infections, financial loss, serious privacy issues and identity theft. To ensure device and user safety, remove all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-in without delay.

Threat Summary:
Name netuniverse pop-up
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Mac malware, Mac virus.
Fake Claim Some variants claim that users can win a prize.
Related Domains netuniverse1[.]live; netuniverse2[.]live; netuniverse4[.]live; netuniverse6[.]live; netuniverse9[.]live; netuniverse13[.]live; netuniverse15[.]live
Detection Names (netuniverse4[.]live)
Kaspersky (Malware), CLEAN MX (Malicious), Fortinet (Spam), Spamhaus (Spam), Full List (VirusTotal).
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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ChickimeetIncreaseofprofit, and Hotrivsaln are some examples of website groups similar to Netuniverse. The fake prize giveaway is just one model employed by online scams. Other popular models include (but are not limited to) "amazing" offers and deals, claims that a crucial piece of software is outdated or missing, warnings that the system is infected or at risk.

These schemes often trick people into performing certain actions. For example, providing their personal information, making fraudulent payments, calling expensive service/support lines, downloading/installing or purchasing dubious or malicious software, etc. While these models differ, the purpose is to simply to generate revenue for the designers.

How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?

PUAs spread through the download/installation set-ups of other products. This deceptive marketing technique of pre-packing regular content with unwanted or malicious additions is called "bundling". By rushing through download/installation processes (e.g. ignoring terms, skipping steps, using presets, etc.), many users risk unintentional installation of bundled software.

Some PUAs have "official" download pages, which are often promoted by deceptive/scam sites. Once clicked, intrusive ads can execute scripts to stealthily download/install PUAs.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications

Research all products to verify their legitimacy, before download/installation. Use only official and verified download channels. Avoid untrusted sources, including unofficial and free file-hosting sites, P2P sharing networks (BitTorrent, Gnutella, eMule, etc.) and other third party downloaders, as they can offer deceptive or bundled content.

When downloading and installing, read the terms, study all possible options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings and opt-out of supplementary apps, tools, features and so on. Intrusive advertisements may seem normal but often redirect to dubious web pages (e.g. pornography, adult-dating, gambling and others) when clicked.

If you experience these ads/redirects, inspect the system and immediately eliminate all suspect applications and browser extensions/plug-ins. 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 a Netuniverse website promoting "Dear Safari User, You Are Today's Lucky Visitor" scam (GIF):

Appearance of Netuniverse scam (GIF)

Instant automatic Mac malware removal: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced IT 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:
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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.

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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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