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How Do I Safely Dismiss Bogus “Apple Virus” Messages?

While working online all of a sudden one of these windows pops up with a virus warning and a phone number to call, supposedly Apple’s. It doesn’t go away with anything I do. What is your suggestion, please, for how to handle this situation safely? You addressed this years ago, but maybe your advice has changed. (I’m a senior trying to advise fellow seniors in our community on this problem.) Many thanks.
John Russell

Comments: 4 Responses to “How Do I Safely Dismiss Bogus “Apple Virus” Messages?”

    2 years ago

    This could happen for two reasons. One is that it is a simply browser-based pop-up window that appears when you go to a website. The good news with this one is that nothing is at all wrong with your Mac. (Something is very wrong with the website, though, and it should be avoid in the future).

    To get rid of this, all you need to do is to close the window. But in some cases this is difficult as the window is lacking any obvious way to close it. In this case, Quit Safari. If you can’t do that with File, Quit, then use Command+Option+Esc to force it to quit. Then hold the shift key down and launch Safari again. With the Shift key held down, Safari doesn’t reload the same pages you were viewing when you quit, so you don’t re-visit the same bad website.

    If that isn’t the try of message you, then you may have something wrong with your Mac. It could be something simple, like a Safari extension you installed that is causing this. In that case, go to Safari, Preferences, Extensions and remove it.

    If it isn’t that, then you may have installed something from a third-party site that is causing this. In that case, I’d get the Mac to an expert (Genius Bar) to have them diagnose and remove the malware.

    But hopefully this is just the simple bogus website pop-up.

    2 years ago

    Simple: close the window, close the window of the originating site, close all consecutive pop-up windows, delete any drive-by downloads. But the first (and in many scenarios most important) step for macOS security & privacy is to use an adblocker. I know these bogus Apple Virus popups exists, and I remember them from a time when I was using adblockers as browser extensions. I’ve since switched to Adguard Desktop for macOS, a system-wide (!) adblocker, and it has been smooth sailing ever since.

    2 years ago

    Joss: AdBlockers won’t work. I believe the type of pop-up windows that John is referring to doesn’t allow itself to be closed. That is why you can’t simply close the window. And an ad blocker won’t work because these aren’t ads coming from legitimate advertisers that the ad blocker will recognize and block. Usually these are compromised web sites (and the owners don’t know it) and the ad blocker wouldn’t see these as ads. In addition, I dislike ad blockers because they then would harm all of the sites you visit throughout the day. Remember that even though MacMost is ad-free now thanks to its Patreon supporters, MacMost wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for the web ads that supported it for 10 years!

    2 years ago

    He should also clear the History from the History Menu

Comments Closed.