How to remove Apple Security Alert scam

Name

Apple Security Alert scam

CategoryMalware
Symptoms

Freezing, unwanted pop-ups, and browser redirects

Infection methodDeceptive pop-ups and bundled software

System damage

Browser tracking, private data leak, slow performance, and unwanted pop-up ads

Removal

Manual removal

Is the Apple Security Alert a virus?

The quick answer is no. The fake Apple Security alerts you’re seeing on your Mac are technically not a virus. But it is considered malware. That’s why even if you have an antivirus app on your Mac, these alerts will still go undetected.

However, malware can be just as dangerous as a virus. The way these deceptive pop-ups work is they’ll tell you your computer has been compromised or hacked. Then, it will give you a phone number to call to fix this issue. The problem is when you call the number, you’re connected with a bad actor who will charge you money to “get rid of the virus.” But as they’re removing the virus, the technician will pretend to find other issues and charge you more money.

As you can see, the malware itself is more of a nuisance. It’s what happens when someone falls for this scam that turns it into an expensive problem. But if you’re personally experiencing this issue and you’re reading this article instead of calling the number, then you’re already off to a better start. Keep reading to find out how to remove these annoying pop-ups and what you can do to prevent other malware from installing on your computer.

How did the Apple Security Alert pop-up get on my computer?

There are several ways this pop-up malware can end up on your computer. From the obvious methods like sketchy torrent downloads to more innocuous ones like software bundling or tricky pop-up ads. Here’s what those latter two examples mean and how you can protect yourself:

Software bundling

When you install an app, typically a free one, it might have another app hidden in the install. This means you’re actually installing more apps than you realize.

That’s why you should always opt to do a custom install. When you’re downloading new apps, click through the installation wizard and then click Customize to see if anything else is trying to install on your Mac undetected.

Misleading ads

If you surf to a less than reputable website, it might serve you a pop-up ad that tries to convince you your Mac is infected with a virus. Then it offers an application to help you delete it. The irony is that when you install their app, it’s actually installing malware.

How to remove the Apple Security Alert scam manually

The instructions to getting rid of the Apple Security Alerts will depend entirely on what browsers you have installed on your Mac. Even if you’re only getting these pop-ups in one specific browser, it’s still good to follow these steps for any browser you have installed. The reason is that there’s a good chance that when the malware installed itself, it did so for every browser you have. Not just the one you primarily use.

Safari

Being the browser that comes with macOS by default, you’ll want to check for any nefarious Safari extensions. Just follow these steps:

  1. Open Safari.
  2. Click Safari > Preferences.
  3. Open the Extensions tab.
  4. Select anything that looks suspicious in the sidebar.
  5. Then, click Uninstall.

Firefox

If you have Firefox installed, then you’ll want to follow these steps:

  1. Open Firefox.
  2. Click the menu icon (three horizontal lines) > Settings > Extensions & Themes.
  3. Find any suspicious extensions.
  4. Then, click … > Remove.

Google Chrome

Now, if you’ve done the other two browsers already, then Chrome will be the easiest of the batch for you. Here’s all you need to do:

  1. Open Google Chrome.
  2. Click the puzzle icon > Manage Extensions.
  3. If you see anything odd, click Remove.
  4. Then, click Remove again to confirm.

After you finish removing extensions from any of these browsers, it’s always a good idea to quit and reopen them. Just to make sure every bit of the malicious extensions has been removed.

Delete other malware from your Mac automatically

Maybe you’ve gotten rid of the Apple Security Alerts on your computer, but now you’re worried about other malware that could be lurking on your hard drive. That’s where the app CleanMyMac X can give you peace of mind.

Yes, it’s an app that’s designed to optimize the speed and performance of your Mac. But it can also scan for malware and other potentially unwanted apps. After you download CleanMyMac X, just follow these instructions:

  1. In Finder, go to your Applications folder.
  2. Open CleanMyMac X.
  3. Then, click Malware > Scan.
  4. When it’s finished scanning, click on any malware app found and click Remove.
Malware removal module of CleanMyMacX

That’s seriously all there is to it. It is really that easy to look for and remove any malware hiding on your computer.

Remove other unneeded files

While you’re in the mood for cleaning up your Mac, you can also use CleanMyMac X to get rid of any junk files you might have. Things like system cache files, old support files for apps, or other miscellaneous temporary files. This is all you have to do:

  1. Open CleanMyMac X.
  2. Click System Junk > Scan.
  3. Then, after the scan is done, you can click Review Detail or Clean.
CleanMyMac X - System junk scan complete

The first time you see the Apple Security Alert, it can be a little alarming. You’re not sure if you can trust it, but you also want to make sure you’re taking care of it if there really is a problem. But the silver lining is that now you know what to do if this happens on your Mac. And hopefully, after reading this article, you’re feeling a little more empowered to take care of it.

Laptop with CleanMyMac
CleanMyMac X

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