Avoid downloading dubious software promoted by paluns.xyz website

Also Known As: paluns.xyz pop-up
Type: Mac Virus
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Medium

How to remove redirects to paluns[.]xyz from Mac?

What is the paluns[.]xyz site?

Paluns[.]xyz is a deceptive website, designed to promote various scams. At the time of research, this site ran both desktop and mobile version scams. One of the schemes warned users of nonexistent viruses on their devices (which is something no webpage can detect), others - proclaimed that a VPN app is necessary to continue watching videos online. It must be emphasized that all of the information provided by paluns[.]xyz is false and designed to trick visitors into downloading/installing some sort of dubious software (e.g. fake anti-virus tools, adware, browser hijackers, etc.). Typically, sites likes paluns[.]xyz are entered unintentionally. Most users get redirected to them by intrusive advertisements or by PUAs (Potentially Unwanted Applications), already installed onto their devices.

Variant of the paluns[.]xyz scam

One of the scams promoted by paluns[.]xyz, is a variant of the "Your Apple iPhone is severely damaged" scheme. It claims that the browser has been severely damaged by numerous viruses (in this case "browser trojan viruses"). These infections have supposedly originated from recently visited corrupted websites. To prevent the fake threats from affecting users' "Facebook account, Whatsapp messages, photos and private applications" - they are instructed to download/install the VPN application endorsed by paluns[.]xyz. The other two scams run on this site - present users with practically identical messages. These schemes urge users to download/install a free VPN to continue watching content in safe mode. Some versions claim that users are unable to watch the video due to the restrictions of their respective countries. As mentioned in the introduction, the information provided by paluns[.]xyz is deceptive. Furthermore, any products obtained from this website can be nonoperational (i.e. unable to perform the promised functionalities) and/or have heinous abilities, which can cause various issues. Users should note that aside from promoting unreliable/harmful software, online scams can abuse their trust in other ways as well. To summarize, trusting paluns[.]xyz and webpages similar to it - can result in system infections, financial losses, serious privacy issues and even identity theft.

One of the main culprits behind rogue redirects to paluns[.]xyz and other questionable websites - are PUAs. However, these apps can also have other/additional abilities. Adware-types deliver browsing quality-diminishing intrusive advertisements, which once clicked on - redirect to hazardous sites and some can stealthily download/install software (e.g. PUAs). Browsers hijackers modify browser settings in order to promote fake search engines. The promoted web searchers are rarely capable of providing search results, so they tend to redirect to Google, Yahoo, Bing and other legitimate search engines. What is more, most PUAs (regardless of their type) can track browsing-related data. Information of interest includes (but is not limited to): URLs visited, pages viewed, search queries typed, IP addresses and geolocations. The collected data is usually shared with and/or sold to third parties (potentially, cyber criminals). Therefore, it is strongly advised to eliminate all suspect applications and browser extensions/plug-ins immediately upon detection.

Threat Summary:
Name paluns.xyz pop-up
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Mac malware, Mac virus
Fake Claim Device is infected with multiple viruses or a VPN is necessary to continue watching online videos.
Detection Names Forcepoint ThreatSeeker (Suspicious), Full List (VirusTotal)
Related Domains support.paluns[.]xyz
Promoted Unwanted Application Various dubious applications
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.

Apps-notification.com, securityvpnapp.com, driveandparkgame.com - are some examples of other scam websites akin to paluns[.]xyz. Online schemes use a wide variety of scam models in an attempt to push users into downloading/installing and/or purchasing untrustworthy or malicious software, revealing personal information (e.g. names, emails, banking and/or credit card details), calling fake support/service helplines, allowing remote access and control over their device, paying bogus fees, and so on. Regardless of what deceptive webpages offer, claim, request or demand, the end-goal is the same - to generate revenue to the scammers / cyber criminals behind them.

How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?

Some PUAs have "official" download pages, which are often promoted by scam websites. These applications can also be downloaded/installed together with other products. This false marketing tactic of packing regular software with unwanted or malicious additions - is called "bundling". Rushed download/installation processes (e.g. skipped steps and sections, etc.) - increase the risk of inadvertent installation of bundled content. Intrusive ads proliferate PUAs as well. Upon being clicked, such advertisements can execute scripts to make stealthy downloads/installations.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

It is recommended to research software before download/installation and/or purchase. Only official and verified download channels must be used. Untrustworthy sources, e.g. unofficial and free file-hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks and other third party downloaders - commonly offer bundled content. When downloading/installing, it is important to read terms, study all possible options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings and opt-out from additional apps, tools, functions, etc. Intrusive advertisements typically appear innocuous, however they redirect to highly questionable sites (e.g. gambling, pornography, adult-dating, and so on). In case of encounters with adverts/redirects of this type - the system must be inspected and all dubious applications and/or browser extensions/plug-ins immediately removed from it. 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 by the paluns[.]xyz scam:

Apple Security
Sunday 12 July 2020
WARNING! Your Apple iPhone is severely damaged by 13 viruses!

 

We have detected that your Browser is (62%) DAMAGED by BROWSER TROJAN VIRUSES picked up while surfing recent corrupted sites.
Immediate action is required to prevent it from spreading and infecting sensitive data like your Facebook account, Whatsapp messages photos and private applications.
Here is how you can solve this in just a few seconds (Step by Step)

 

Step 1: Tap REMOVE VIRUS to install VPN from the App Store.

 

Step 2: Open the app to activate the latest update and remove any older (Infected) versions.

Appearance of another mobile variant of the paluns[.]xyz scam:

Another mobile variant of the paluns[.]xyz scam

Text presented in this variant:

VPN Update

 

VPN Update
Please Download The Free VPN App To Continue Watching in safe mode

 

Install

Appearance of the desktop version of the paluns[.]xyz scam:

Desktop version of the paluns[.]xyz scam

Text presented in this variant:

Pop-up:

 

Attention! This video is unavailable due to your country restrictions.
Update your VPN to continue watching.

 

----------------------

 

Background:
    
VPN Update
Please Download The Free VPN App To Continue Watching in safe mode

An application promoted by one of the paluns[.]xyz scam variants:

App promoted by some variants of the paluns[.]xyz scam

To enable pop-up blocking, fraudulent website warnings, and remove web browsing data in mobile Apple devices, follow these steps:

First, go to "Settings", and then scroll down to find and tap "Safari".

remove pop-ups and clear cache step 1

Check if the "Block Pop-ups" and "Fraudulent Website Warning" toggles are enabled. If not, enable them immediately. Then, scroll down and tap "Advanced".

disable pop-ups and clear cache step 2

Tap "Website Data" and then "Remove All Website Data".

disable pop-ups and clear cache step 3

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 paluns.xyz 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.

paluns.xyz pop-up removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove paluns.xyz 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 paluns.xyz 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 paluns.xyz 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
paluns.xyz 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 paluns.xyz pop-up on your mobile device.
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