A Mac user would browse the web in Safari, visit an infected website, and the popup would take over the browser. It displayed an official looking alert and warning, and a number to call for so-called support. Attempts to close the popup window in Safari would fail and the browser would lock up.
Here’s one of the popup scam variations.
I downloaded the ScamZapper extension, installed it, checked it out, but since I didn’t know of a website that was infected with the popup scam, I deleted the extension in Safari.
This weekend we switched internet service providers and I wanted to check out the speed difference between the old and the new ISP. On my iPhone and iPad I used Ookla’s SpeedTest app. On the Mac you can use Ookla’s SpeedTest.net website (needs Flash). Here’s what I did wrong. I typed in speedtest.com instead of speedtest.net. That’s .com instead of .net. That triggered the popup scam window and Safari locked up (the popup scam window may not be on SpeedTest.com any longer, but why chance it?
ScamZapper’s extension, had I left it installed and running on Safari, would have prevented the popup scam window. There are ways to use ScamZapper even if a popup window gets through the filter.
There are a few items of note with ScamZapper. First, it’s free. That’s good. Second, it works. At least, it’s worked every time I went back to SpeedTest.com. Third, ScamZapper doesn’t have an Apple certified developer certificate so to install an app from an ‘unidentified developer’ takes a few extra steps.
Until the online thugs who perpetrate such misdeeds are drawn and quartered, tarred and feathered, or at the very least, forced to watch re-runs of Manimal for 30-days, we’ll need such anti-malware apps and extensions.