How to spot scams like Apple Platform Security
Written by Tomas Meskauskas on (updated)
What kind of scam is Apple Platform Security?
Technical support scam websites typically display pop-up windows windows stating that the computer is infected with malware, viruses, etc., and offer a telephone number for help with removing supposedly "detected threats". In most cases, these pop-ups appear on pages claiming to represent well-known software companies such as Microsoft and Apple.
Users do not often visit these web pages intentionally - they are opened via deceptive ads, other dubious pages, or by installed unwanted apps.
Apple Platform Security scam in detail
This particular tech-support scam page is disguised as an official Apple web page. It displays various pop-up windows claiming that the computer has been infected with Trojan spyware (and adware), and data such as email and Facebook credentials, banking passwords, pictures and documents have been compromised.
Both pop-ups contain the +1-888-308-5141 number that visitors must supposedly call for help with removal of the detected threats.
Commonly, when scammers behind such pages are contacted (called), they attempt to trick users into installing applications that allow the criminals to remotely access infected computers and install malware. They can then steal personal information from them. In other cases, scammers attempt to trick users into paying for unnecessary software or "support" services.
More about apps promoting similar scams
None of these pages can be trusted and are often promoted by shady apps. Therefore, if a browser opens these pages automatically, it is likely that an unwanted application is installed on the browser and operating system.
Note that apps of this kind can be designed to collect IP addresses, entered search queries, addresses of visited pages, geolocations, other browsing data, and even sensitive, personal details. They can also generate advertisements (coupons, banners, surveys, pop-ups, etc.) and others that are used to promote untrusted pages or even cause unwanted downloads and installations.
|Name||Apple Platform Security pop-up|
|Threat Type||Phishing, Scam, Mac malware, Mac virus|
|Fake Claim||A computer has been infected with Trojan spyware, adware|
|Disguise||Official Apple page|
|Tech Support Scammer Phone Number||+1-888-308-5141, +1-888-523-6758|
|Detection Names (wellupdateweather[.]online)||Google Safebrowsing (Phishing), Netcraft (Malicious), Full List (VirusTotal)|
|Serving IP Address||184.108.40.206;|
|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.
Examples of similar scams
heiipiossuport[.]info, iossecure[.]com and connection-protect[.]com are some of examples of other similar web pages. They may appear similar to official, legitimate websites from Apple or other well-known companies. In fact, the official sites have nothing to do with tech-support scams or other untrustworthy, potentially malicious sites.
How did unwanted applications install on my computer?
Apps of this kind are distributed via download/installation set-ups of other products. This deceptive marketing tactic of packing regular software with unwanted or malicious additions is called "bundling".
Rushing download/installation processes (e.g. ignoring terms, skipping steps and settings, etc.) increases the risk of inadvertently allowing bundled content into the system.
Some of these apps have "official" download sites. Intrusive advertisements proliferate these applications as well. Once clicked, they can execute scripts to download/install unwanted apps without users' consent.
How to avoid installation of unwanted applications
Download software and files from official websites and via direct links. It is not safe to use torrent clients, eMule (or other Peer-to-Peer networks), third party downloaders, unofficial websites or other sources of this kind.
Avoid third party installers. Check "Advanced", "Custom" and other settings, and decline offers to download or install unwanted software. Do not click ads that are displayed on dubious websites, since they can open other untrusted websites or even cause unwanted downloads and installations.
Remove any unwanted, suspicious applications (extensions, add-ons, and plug-ins) that are installed on the browser. The same should be applied to programs of this kind that are installed on the operating system.
Regularly scan your computer with reputable antivirus or anti-spyware software and keep this software up to date.
Appearance of Apple Platform Security scam page (GIF):
Text in the main pop-up window:
Apple Platform Security
** ACCESS TO THIS PC HAS BEEN BLOCKED FOR SECURITY REASONS **
Your computer has alerted us that it has been infected with a Trojan Spyware. The following data has been compromised.
> Email Credential
> Banking Passwords
> Facebook Login
> Pictures & Documents
Apple Platform Security has found potentially unwanted Adware on this device that can steal your passwords, online identity, financial information, personal files, pictures or documents.
You must contact us immediately so that our engineers can walk you through the removal process over the phone.
Call Apple Support immediately to report this threat, prevent identity theft and unlock access to this device.
Closing this window will put your personal information at risk and lead to a suspension of your Mac Registration.
Call Apple Support: +1-888-308-5141 (Toll Free)
[Don't Allow] [Allow]
Text in the pop-up window that appears above the main pop-up:
Apple Secrity Alert - Error Code: #0x83d47d
Access to this PC has been blocked for security reasons.
Contact Mac Support: +1-888-308-5141
Threat Detected - Trojan Spyware
[Run Anyway] [Back to Safety]
Another variant of "Apple Platform Security" pop-up scam:
Text presented within:
Trojan Spyware Alert - Error Code: #0x898778
Access to this PC has been blocked for security reasons.
Contact Mac Support - +1-888-523-6758
Threat Detected - Trojan Spyware
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:
- What is Apple Platform Security pop-up?
- How to identify a pop-up scam?
- How do pop-up scams work?
- How to remove fake pop-ups?
- How to prevent fake pop-ups?
- What to do if you fell for a pop-up scam?
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:
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.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is a pop-up scam?
It is a deceptive message (e.g., a fake virus alert, system notification) claiming that website visitors must perform certain actions to solve the "occurred" problem.
What is the purpose of a pop-up scam?
There are different types of pop-up scams. Most of them are used to extract money or sensitive information, access computers remotely, infect computers with malware, or sell fake (or unnecessary) products or services.
Why do I encounter fake pop-ups?
Pop-up scams are displayed by shady web pages. Most of these pages get opened via deceptive advertisements, other sites that use rogue advertising networks, or installed adware (or other unwanted software).
Will Combo Cleaner protect me from pop-up scams?
This application will scan visited pages and detect the untrustworthy (malicious) ones, including websites displaying pop-up scams. Also, Combo Cleaner will restrict access to such pages.
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