Avoid downloading dubious software from the apple-online-guard.com scam

Also Known As: apple-online-guard.com pop-up
Type: Mac Virus
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Medium

How to remove redirects to apple-online-guard[.]com from Mac computers

What is apple-online-guard[.]com?

apple-online-guard[.]com is a scam website designed to target iPhone users, however, it might also be accessed by other Apple products. This deceptive site claims that visitors' devices are infected and recommends download/installation of a promoted application. No web page can detect threats/issues present on a system, and any that make such claims are scams. Furthermore, software endorsed using these deceptive techniques is often nonoperational, untrusted, and even malicious. Many visitors access apple-online-guard[.]com and similar websites unintentionally via redirects caused by intrusive ads or Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUAs).

apple-online-guard[.]com scam

Once accessed, apple-online-guard[.]com displays a pop-up window stating that users must read an important notification concerning their device. When the pop-up is closed, the background page informs users that their iPhones have been infected with three viruses. These nonexistent infections have supposedly damaged the device's battery and might cause more damage. To fix this, users are instructed to click "Download and Install" to acquire the promoted virus protection tool from the AppStore. They are then to run this app and remove the so-called viruses. All claims made by apple-online-guard[.]com are false. Furthermore, these scams commonly promote fake anti-viruses, adware, browser hijackers and other PUAs, as well as malware (Trojans, ransomware, etc.). Therefore, never trust apple-online-guard[.]com or other, similar websites.

PUAs can force-open, not just deceptive/scam pages, but also sale-based, untrusted, rogue, compromised and malicious websites, however, these apps have additional capabilities. They can enable the placement of intrusive ads onto any visited site. When clicked, the delivered ads can redirect to dangerous sites and stealthily download/install rogue software (e.g PUAs). These unwanted applications can hijack browsers by modifying settings and denying access to them to promote fake search engines. Most PUAs can track data. They can monitor browsing activity (browsing and search engine histories) and collect personal information (IP addresses, geolocations and other details). This vulnerable data is often shared with third parties seeking to misuse it for profit. To summarize, PUAs can cause system infiltration/infections, financial loss, serious privacy issues and even identity theft. To ensure device and user safety, remove all suspect applications and browser extensions/plug-ins immediately upon detection.

Threat Summary:
Name apple-online-guard.com pop-up
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Mac malware, Mac virus.
Fake Claim The scam claims that users' devices are infected.
Detection Names ESET (Phishing), CLEAN MX (Phishing), Fortinet (Spam), Spamhaus (Spam), Full List (VirusTotal)
Serving IP Address 95.217.111.214
Promoted Unwanted Application Scam promotes dubious apps.
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.
▼ Download Combo Cleaner for Mac
To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Combo Cleaner. Limited three days free trial available.

guardapl.comcontentfilled.com and protected-connection.com are some examples of other scam sites targeting iPhone users. Social engineering and scare tactics are used to trick people into performing certain actions. Popular scam models include (but are not limited to) warnings that the device is infected, a piece of essential software is outdated, claims that a prize can be won, "amazing" offers, and so on. While these schemes operate differently, the end-goal is identical: to generate revenue for the scammers/cyber criminals behind them.

How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?

PUAs proliferate via the download/installation set-ups of other software. This deceptive marketing method of pre-packing regular products with unwanted or malicious additions is called "bundling". Rushing download/installation processes (e.g. skipped steps and sections, etc.) increases the risk of inadvertent installation of bundled content. Some PUAs have "official" download pages, which are often promoted by deceptive/scam sites. Once 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 and downloaded only from official and verified sources. Unofficial and free file-hosting sites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks and other third party downloaders are untrusted and should be avoided. When downloading/installing, you are advised to read the terms, explore all possible options, use "Custom/Advanced" settings and opt-out of additional apps, tools, features, etc. Intrusive ads may seem normal and harmless, however, they can redirect to dubious web pages (e.g. gambling, pornography, adult-dating and others). If you encounter these ads/redirects, inspect the system and remove all suspicious 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.

Text presented in the pop-up displayed by apple-online-guard[.]com:

(1) SYSTEM NOTIFICATION
Please Read Important Notification Regarding Your iOS Device.
OK

Appearance of the background web page of apple-online-guard[.]com:

apple-online-guard[.]com scam background page

Text presented in this page:

Apple Security
Thursday
9 April 2020
(3) Viruses has been detected on your iPhone and battery has been infected and damaged.

 

If you do not remove this malware now, it may cause more damage to your device. How to fix this:

 

Step 1: Tap the button below & install the recommended virus protection tool for free from the AppStore.

Step 2: Run the app to remove all malware to repair your phone to 100%

 

1 minutes and 10 seconds
Download and Install
Detected By Apple.

 Screenshot of the apple-online-guard[.]com scam desktop version:

apple-online-guard[.]com scam alternative variant

Screenshot of the background page of this version:

apple-online-guard[.]com scam alternative variant background page

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. To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Combo Cleaner. Limited three days free trial available.

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 apple-online-guard.com 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.

apple-online-guard.com pop-up removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove apple-online-guard.com 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 apple-online-guard.com 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 apple-online-guard.com 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
apple-online-guard.com 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 apple-online-guard.com pop-up on your mobile device.
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