How to remove apps that promote sites like privex-protection.com?

Also Known As: privex-protection.com pop-up
Type: Mac Virus
Distribution: Moderate
Damage level: Medium

How to remove apps that are designed to promote the privex-protection[.]com site from Mac?

What is privex-protection[.]com?

Privex-protection[.]com is an untrustworthy website that pretends to have found an infection on the visitor's device and encourages to remove it with some potentially unwanted application (PUA) that can be downloaded via provided website link. As a rule, users do not visit websites like privex-protection[.]com by themselves/intentionally, they get opened via other visited untrustworthy pages, clicked deceptive advertisements and/or by already installed PUAs.

privex-protection[.]com scam

There are at least a couple of variants of the privex-protection[.]com page. As mentioned in the first paragraph, one on them says that it has detected malware (Trojan) on visitor's device. It is designed to trick a visitor into believing that accounts, photos, and payment data will be available to third parties if a detected threat will not be removed as soon as possible and downloading (and installing) some PUA via the provided website link ("Remove Virus"). Another privex-protection[.]com variant suggests that visitor's connection may be not secure and offers to protect it with an app called VPN iNinja that can be downloaded via App Store. Apps that websites like privex-protection[.]com promote are not necessarily untrustworthy, potentially malicious. However, apps should be downloaded only from official pages and sites like privex-protection[.]com should be ignored - virus or other notifications on them are fake. It is worthwhile to mention that pages like privex-protection[.]com often are designed to look like official pages, this particular site is disguised as Apple Security page. Although, the actual Apple (or any other) company has nothing to do with this page (or other similar pages).

Threat Summary:
Name privex-protection.com pop-up
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Mac malware, Mac virus
Fake Claim Device is infected with a Trojan
Detection Names Cyan (Malicious), Forcepoint ThreatSeeker (Suspicious), Full List (VirusTotal)
Serving IP Address 134.209.23.134
Promoted Unwanted Application VPN iNinja (promoted apps may vary)
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.

Some more examples of websites that are similar to privex-protection[.]com are mobile-detection[.]com, 24-support-global[.]expert and oc-protection[.]com. As mentioned in the introduction, it is common that pages like privex-protection[.]com re promoted by PUAs. It is worthwhile to mention that apps of this type can be designed to serve ads (e.g., coupons, banners, surveys, pop-up ads) and/or promote some fake search engine by changing certain browser settings. Also, they can be designed to function as data collectors and gather browsing-related data (like IP addresses, geolocations, entered search queries, addresses of visited sites) or even sensitive information. If an app of this type is installed on a browser, then it should be removed as soon as possible.

How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?

It is common that PUAs are distributed by including them in setups of other programs as extra offers. Such method for distributing PUAs is known as "bundling". As a rule, users can decline offers to download and/or install potentially unwanted apps via setup's settings like "Advanced", "Custom", or certain checkboxes. Although, not all users check and change the aforementioned settings when they download and/or install programs and that is how they allow for PUAs to be downloaded and/or installed too. In some cases users cause unintentional downloads and/or installations by clicking deceptive ads that are designed to run certain scripts.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

Download and/or installation setups that have settings like "Custom", "Advanced" (or certain checkboxes) tend to be used to distribute PUAs. Therefore, those settings should be always checked before completing downloads and/or installations. Files and programs should be downloaded only from official websites and via direct links. Unofficial, pages, Peer-to-Peer networks (like eMule, torrent clients), third party downloaders, installers and other tools, channels often are used as tools to distribute unwanted, in some cases even malicious apps. Advertisements that appear on shady websites can be designed to open untrustworthy websites, or even cause downloads and/or installations. For these reasons such ads should not be clicked as well. Additionally, there should be no unwanted, suspicious extensions, add-ons and plug-ins installed on a browser, or programs of this kind that installed on the operating system. If your computer is already infected with PUAs, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate them.

Text in the pop-up window of the privex-protection[.]com page:

YOUR IPHONE HAS BEEN COMPROMISED
Immediate Action Is Required!
OK

Screenshot of the background page:

privex-protection.com background page

Text in this page:

Apple SecurityMonday
16 November 2020
Important notice. Your device is currently infected with a Trojan virus!


Your phone's memory is already having 17% of damage. Prompt action is required, otherwise,
the device will become defective and all your data including accounts, photos, and payment data will be available to third parties.

Immediately install the trusted free app from the AppStore to remove the virus and secure your device.

1 minutes and 45 seconds
Remove Virus
Detected By Apple.

Screenshot of the second privex-protection[.]com variant:

privex-protection.com second variant

Text in this variant:

Your Connection
May Be Unsecure
Your IP 104.243.238.154 could be exposed.
Someone can track your online activities
Follow this steps to protect your device from tracking programs and malicious sites:
    
Click the button below to download VPN iNinja from the AppStore.
Open app and activate protection
Browse web and apps anonymously.
Cancel Protect Device

Screenshot of the download page for the VPN iNinja app:

privex-protection.com app promoted on second variant

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 privex-protection.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.

privex-protection.com pop-up removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove privex-protection.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 privex-protection.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 privex-protection.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
privex-protection.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 privex-protection.com pop-up on your mobile device.
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