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How to remove apps that promote sites like department.limited?

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

How to remove apps that open pages like department[.]limited from Mac?

What is department[.]limited?

The main reason why department[.]limited cannot be trusted is because it is designed to trick users into believing that their device is infected and downloading some potentially unwanted application (PUA) that supposed to remove detected threats. Typically, users do not visit websites like department[.]limited intentionally. It is common that such pages are promoted via deceptive ads, other dubious pages or certain PUAs.

department[.]limited scam

There are different versions/variants of the department[.]limited website that are written not only in English but also in German and Russian languages. The main purpose of all department[.]limited versions/variants is to trick visitors into believing that this website has detected a number of viruses on their device and if visitors will not remove them, then those viruses will cause some serious damage (like data loss, issues related to online privacy, and so on). To remove those viruses visitors are encouraged to use a certain app that can be downloaded by following instructions that are provided on department[.]limited. At the time of the research this page offered to download an app called VPN Jungle Protect, however, it is likely that it could be used to promote other apps as well.

As mentioned in the first paragraph, it is common that pages like department[.]limited are promoted via PUAs. Apps of this type can be designed to generate ads and gather various data as well. Usually they target IP addresses, websites of visited pages, entered search queries, geolocations, etc. However, it is possible that they could capable of accessing sensitive details as well. The biggest issue with it is that collected data could be monetized by selling it to third parties (potentially cyber criminals) or is some another way. Also, PUAs can be deigned to generate coupons, banners, surveys, pop-ups and other ads that, if clicked, would open untrustworthy websites, or even cause downloads, installations of unwanted applications.

Threat Summary:
Name department.limited pop-up
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Mac malware, Mac virus
Fake Claim iPhone is infected with malware, viruses
Serving IP Address 136.243.81.39
Promoted Unwanted Application VPN Jungle Protect
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.

There is a great number of pages that are more or less similar to department[.]limited, for example, spaceshellvpn[.]com, peachlandeu[.]com and moderation-support[.]network. However, despite their differences, all of them are designed to deceive visitors into downloading (and installing) some potentially unwanted application. Another thing that most of these pages have in common is that they are designed to look like official pages, however, neither Apple or any other legitimate company has anything do to with such pages.

How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?

Quite often PUAs are promoted/distributed via download and/or installation setups of other software. This distribution method is known as "bundling". More precisely, it is common that PUAs are included in various download and/or installation setups as additional offers. As a rule, such offers can be declined by unticking certain checkboxes, or via "Custom", "Advanced", or other settings. If users leave those checkboxes unticked, or settings unchanged when they download or install programs, then they agree with offers to download and/or install unwanted apps as well. Another deceptive way to distribute PUAs is by designing advertisements to execute certain scripts. However, such ads cause unwanted downloads and/or installations only if users click them.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

Third party downloaders, installers, unofficial websites, Peer-to-Peer networks (e.g., torrent clients, eMule), etc., should not be used. Software and files should be downloaded from official websites and via direct download links. Downloads and installations should not be finished without checking if there are any settings (like "Custom", "Advanced") that could be used to decline offers to download and/or install unwanted software. Ads on questionable, unofficial websites should not be clicked as well. Those ads could open potentially malicious websites or cause unwanted downloads, installations. Any suspicious, unwanted, unknown extensions, plug-ins and/or add-ons that are already installed on a browser should be removed from it. The same should be done with programs of this kind 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 English department[.]limited version:

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

Screenshot of the background page of this version:

department.limited pop-up scam background page

Text in this page:

Apple Security Tuesday
29 December 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 49 seconds
Install & Remove Virus
Detected By Apple.

Screenshot of the pop-up window of the German department[.]limited version:

department.limited pop-up scam german version

Text in this pop-up window:

IHR IPHONE WURDE KOMPROMITTIERT
Sofortiges Handeln ist erforderlich!
OK

Screenshot of the background page of this version:

department.limited pop-up scam background german version

Text in this page:

Apple Security Dienstag
29 Dezember 2020
Auf Ihrem iPhone wurden (3) Viren erkannt und der Akku wurde infiziert und beschädigt.

Wenn Sie die Malware jetzt nicht entfernen, kann dies zu weiteren Schäden an Ihrem Gerät führen. So beheben Sie das Problem:

Schritt 1: Tippen Sie auf die Schaltfläche unten und installieren Sie das empfohlene Virenschutz-Tool kostenlos im App Store.

Schritt 2: Führen Sie die App aus, um alle Malware zu entfernen und Ihr Smartphone zu 100 % zu reparieren.
1 minuten und 57 sekunden
Virus entfernen
Von Apple erkannt.

Screenshot of a second variant of the department[.]limited page:

department.limited pop-up scam another variant

Text in this page:

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

Screenshot of the app that is promoted via this variant:

department.limited pop-up scam app promoted via another variant

Screenshot of the Russian variant of the department[.]limited page:

department.limited pop-up scam russian version

Text in this variant:

ВНИМАНИЕ!
Ваш Apple iPhone серьезно пострадал от 14 вирусов!
Мы определили, что ТРОЯНСКИЕ ВРЕДОНОСНЫЕ ПРОГРАММЫ ПОВРЕДИЛИ ваш браузер на (50.9%). Ваш телефон был заражен во время посещения сайтов злоумышленников.
Для предотвращения распространения вируса и заражения важной для вас информации, а также доступа к учетной записи в Facebook, сообщениям и фотографиям в WhatsApp, также к вашим личным приложениям, требуется немедленное действие.
Вот, что нужно сделать, чтобы решить данную проблему всего за несколько секунд (пошаговая инструкция)
Шаг 1: Нажмите УДАЛИТЬ ВИРУС, чтобы установить VPN из App Store.
Шаг 2: Запустите приложение, чтобы активировать последнее обновление и удалить старые (зараженные) версии приложения.
Удалить вирус

Another example of a pop-up scam delivered by department.limited:

Department.limited pop-up scam (2021-01-25)

Text presented within:

Pop-up:

 

YOUR IPHONE HAS BEEN COMPROMISED
Immediate Action Is Required!
OK


Background:

 

Apple Security

Friday
22 January 2021
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.
1 minutes and 53 seconds
Remove Virus
Detected By Apple.

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 department.limited 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.

department.limited pop-up removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove department.limited 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 department.limited 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 department.limited 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.

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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.

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
department.limited 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 department.limited pop-up on your mobile device.
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