Do not trust software promoted by protect-connection.com website

Also Known As: protect-connection.com pop-up
Type: Mac Virus
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Medium

How to remove redirects to protect-connection[.]com from Mac?

What is protect-connection[.]com?

Protect-connection[.]com is a deceptive website running various scams, primarily targeted at iPhone users. At the time of research, this page promoted two different schemes. One of them claims that visitors' devices have been infected with high-risk viruses; the other implies that they must download/install the promoted VPN application. The goal of such scams is to endorse untrustworthy and possibly malicious software. For example, they promote fake anti-viruses, adware, browser hijackers, and other PUAs (Potentially Unwanted Applications). It is noteworthy that some of these schemes proliferate trojans, ransomware, cryptominers, and other malware. Users typically access sites like protect-connection[.]com via mistyped URLs, redirects caused by intrusive advertisements or installed PUAs.

Appearance of a scam promoted on protect-connection[.]com

The researched scam variant run on protect-connection[.]com claims that the visitor's device has been infected with eighteen viruses. The infections have supposedly originated from adult-oriented websites. Should the fake viruses be left unaddressed, the SIM card may get corrupted, saved contacts get deleted, and cause other damage to the device. The scheme instructs users to download/install and run the endorsed application to remove the nonexistent malware.

The other scam promoted on this webpage pushes the visitor to protect their Internet connection by downloading/installing the recommended VPN app. This scheme then provides basic download/installation and use instructions. To summarize, by trusting the protect-connection[.]com website's content, users are likely to download/install and/or purchase useless and potentially harmful software. Presence of such applications on devices can lead to system infections, serious privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.

PUAs appear legitimate and offer a variety of "advantageous" functionalities. However, despite how good the functions may sound - they usually do not work. Fake anti-virus tools are a prime example of this kind of PUAs; they require activation (i.e., purchase) to perform the advertised features, yet following activation - they remain nonoperational. PUAs often have unmentioned, heinous abilities. Some can force-open deceptive and malicious sites (e.g., protect-connection[.]com). Adware type PUAs deliver intrusive adverts (e.g., pop-ups, banners, coupons, etc.). Once clicked on, the delivered ads redirect to dangerous pages and may be able to stealthily download/install software. Browser hijacker types make modifications to browser settings and limit/deny access to them - in order to promote fake search engines. The promoted web searchers seldom can provide search results, so they tend to redirect to Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other genuine search engines.

Furthermore, most PUAs (regardless of type) can track data. These apps monitor browsing activity (URLs visited, webpages viewed, search queries typed, etc.) and collect sensitive information extracted from it (IP addresses, geolocations, and even personally identifiable details). PUA developers monetize this information by sharing it with and/or selling it to third-parties. Therefore, to ensure device integrity and user privacy, all suspect applications and browser extensions/plug-ins must be eliminated immediately upon detection.

Threat Summary:
Name protect-connection.com pop-up
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Mac malware, Mac virus
Fake Claim One variant claims visitors' devices are infected, the other pushes them to download/install the promoted VPN app.
Promoted Unwanted Application Various dubious apps
Serving IP Address 142.93.25.104
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.

Protected-connect.comsupport-notify.spacewcsoft.link, and system-protection-required.com are some examples of websites similar to protect-connection[.]com. Schemes akin to those promoted by these pages include - "(3) Viruses have been detected on your iPhone", "Your Apple iPhone is severely damaged", "Fake Flash Player Update", "VPN Update", and so on. The Internet is full of misleading, deceptive, and malicious material. Popular scam models are: warnings that the system is infected or at risk, alerts that a piece of crucial software is outdated or missing, fake prize giveaways and raffles, ludicrous deals and offers, etc. Due to how widespread such scams are, it is strongly advised to exercise caution when browsing.

How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?

Select PUAs have "official" promotional/download sites, which are commonly pushed by deceptive/scam ones. These applications can also be downloaded/installed together with other products. This false marketing technique 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 inadvertently allowing bundled content into the system. Intrusive adverts proliferate PUAs as well; once clicked on, they can execute scripts to make downloads/installations without user consent.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

It is important to research products before download/installation and/or purchase. Only official and verified download channels must be used. Since dubious download sources, e.g., unofficial and free file-hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, and other third-party downloaders - often offer harmful and/or bundled content. When downloading/installing, it is recommended to read terms, explore all possible options, use the "Custom" or "Advanced" settings and opt-out from additional apps, tools, features, etc. Intrusive ads appear ordinary and innocuous; however, they redirect to highly questionable webpages (e.g., gambling, adult-dating, pornography, and so on). In case of encounters with advertisements and/or redirects of this kind, the system must be inspected and all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins detected - removed from it 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 one of the scams run by the protect-connection[.]com website:

Your device has been infected with 18 viruses after visiting an Adult website.

 

If the problem is not resolved immediately, viruses will damage your device, harm the SIM card and delete all your contacts. Here's what you need to do:

 

Step 1: Tap the button below and install Protectily app from the AppStore!

 

Step 2: Open the application and run cleaning procedure!

 

1 minutes and 18 seconds

 

[Clean Device]

Appearance of the other scam run by protect-connection[.]com:

protect-connection[.]com alternative scam variant

Text presented in this scam variant:

Install Hotspot Shield Vpn App From the Appstore For Free and Protect Your Internet Connection!
How to Protect Your Connection:

 

Step 1. Click on the Button “Download” Below and Install the Application from the Appstore (for Free)

 

Step 2. Open the Installed Application and Protect Your Internet Connection


DOWNLOAD

Appearance of the application promoted by this scam variant:

protect-connection[.]com scam variant promoted app

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 protect-connection.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.

protect-connection.com pop-up removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove protect-connection.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 protect-connection.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 protect-connection.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.

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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
protect-connection.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 protect-connection.com pop-up on your mobile device.
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