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Do not download/install software promoted by protectad.online

Also Known As: protectad.online pop-up
Type: Mac Virus
Damage level: Medium

What is the protectad[.]online website?

protectad[.]online is a deceptive web page designed to promote various scams. The schemes run on this site mainly target iPhone users (but might be accessed via other Apple devices). At the time of research, the website promoted a scam claiming that users' iPhones were exposed to malware and adware.

To rectify this, the scheme urges users to download/install the recommended ad-blocker. The purpose of this type of scam is to endorse a variety of dubious and possibly malicious software. For example, they commonly promote fake anti-virus tools, adware, browser hijackers, and different Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUAs).

These schemes might even proliferate malware (e.g., Trojans, ransomware, etc.). Typically, deceptive web pages are accessed via mistyped URLs, redirects caused by untrusted sites, intrusive advertisements, or installed PUAs.

Note that the tionscalen[.]top scam website has been observed redirecting to protectad[.]online.

protectad[.]online scam

When entered, the scam run on protectad[.]online presents visitors with a pop-up window. The text presented in it instructs users to continue to the AppStore. The background page states that there is an ad-blocking software recommendation. The scheme informs visitors that their iPhone is vulnerable to advertisements and malware.

To protect the device against this vexing and malicious content, users are to download/install the advertised ad-blocker. The scam provides steps about how to obtain and use the recommended tool. It must be emphasized that the products promoted by protectad[.]online are highly untrustworthy, and installing them can lead to serious problems.

By trusting the protectad[.]online website, users may experience system infections, financial losses, severe privacy issues, and even lead to identity theft. Online scams often endorse PUAs. These rogue applications typically seem legitimate and offer various features, which are seldom operational.

Fake anti-virus tools are an example of this type of PUA. They require activation (i.e., purchase) to perform the functions, yet following activation, they remain nonoperational. Furthermore, PUAs can have dangerous capabilities. Some can force-open dubious/dangerous websites (including protectad[.]online).

Adware-types run intrusive ad campaigns. The delivered ads diminish the browsing experience and pose a threat to device/user safety. Once clicked, intrusive ads can redirect to harmful sites and may be able to download/install software without users' permission.

Other PUAs called browser hijackers operate by making changes to browser settings and restrict/deny access to them to promote fake search engines. The promoted web searchers can rarely provide search results, and so they redirect to Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other legitimate search engines.

Furthermore, most PUAs have data tracking capabilities. Information of interest includes browsing and search engine histories, IP (Internet Protocol) addresses, geolocations, and even personally identifiable details. The collected data is then monetized by being shared with and/or sold to third-parties (potentially, cyber criminals).

Therefore, you are strongly advised to remove all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins immediately upon detection.

Threat Summary:
Name protectad.online pop-up
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Mac malware, Mac virus
Fake Claim Scam claims users' iPhones are exposed to threats and recommends downloading/installing an untrustworthy product.
Promoted Unwanted Application Various dubious applications
Serving IP Address 104.21.70.180
Related Domains tionscalen[.]top
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 seven days free trial available. Combo Cleaner is owned and operated by Rcs Lt, the parent company of PCRisk.com read more.

phone-security[.]meveniamad[.]comprotected-connect[.]com, and protect-connection[.]com are some examples of other deceptive websites similar to protectad[.]online. The internet is full of this deceptive and dangerous material.

Popular scam models include: alerts that an essential piece of software is outdated or missing, warnings that the device is infected or at risk, fake prize giveaways, "unbelievable" offers, and so on.

The sole purpose of these deceptive sites is to generate revenue for the scammers/cyber criminals behind them. Due to the widespread nature of these scam web pages, you are strongly advised to exercise caution when browsing.

How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?

PUAs 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 PUAs have "official" download sites. Intrusive advertisements proliferate these applications as well. Once clicked, they can execute scripts to download/install PUAs without users' consent.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications

You are advised to research all software before download/installation. Use only official and verified download channels. Unofficial and free file-hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks (BitTorrent, Gnutella, eMule), and other third party downloaders commonly offer harmful and bundled content, and are therefore untrusted and should be avoided.

When downloading/installing, read the terms, study all possible options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings and opt-out of additional apps, tools, features, and so on.

Intrusive advertisements typically seem legitimate, however, they can redirect to dubious and malicious sites (e.g. gambling, pornography, adult-dating, and many others). If you encounter ads or redirects of this kind, inspect the system and remove all dubious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins immediately.

Installed programs must be activated and updated with tools or implemented functions that are provided by the official developers. No other third party, unofficial tools should be used.

Note that it is illegal to activate licensed software with ‘cracking’ tools. Files and programs should be downloaded from official websites and via direct download links. Avoid third party installers and the tools/sources mentioned above.

Do not open website links or files in irrelevant emails that are received from unknown, suspicious addresses. These bogus emails are often disguised as official and important. Regularly, scan your computer with reputable, up-to-date antivirus or anti-spyware software.

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 the scam prompted by the protectad[.]online website:

Pop-up:

 

Continue to AppStore

OK

 

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

 

Background page:

 

Back Software update

 

iOS AdBlock recommendation
profile
23 MB

 

Your iPhone is exposed to ads and malware.

 

If you do not install an appropriate Ad-Blocker, You are exposed to annoying ads and malwares.

 

Follow the simple steps below to protect all your data and block ads:

 

Detailed
Step 1: Click the button below to install the Ad-Blocker.

 

Step 2: Use an Ad-Blocker to get complete data protection 24/7

 

Step 3: Use an Ad-Blocker when you want to block all ads.

 

Download and install

Appearance of protectad[.]online website promoted scam background page:

Background page of the scam promoted by protectad[.]online

Appearance of the application promoted by protectad[.]online website scam:

App promoted by protectad[.]online

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 seven days free trial available. Combo Cleaner is owned and operated by Rcs Lt, the parent company of PCRisk.com read more.

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 protectad.online 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.

protectad.online pop-up removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove protectad.online 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 protectad.online 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 protectad.online 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
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