The world has a large number of pleasant human beings who work diligently to create a better life for themselves and their families. That’s not how I would describe the vermin that created the so-called Safari popup virus support scam that has been around a few years.
Perps And Vermin
Lurking around the interwebs the past few years is a scam; a browser-based popup window scam which tells you that your Mac has been infected with a virus and you need to call a specific phone number for assistant. Can you imagine how many unwitting, inexperienced Mac users may have done just that? Why? Because the popup window cannot be closed. Here’s a fix and a prevention.
The actual fix– the one that does not cost money– should be to close the popup because the warning is a scam. There is no virus. But the popup window will not close and you can’t use Safari; pages just won’t load and in some cases you can’t even click to quit Safari. You’re stuck. There are some cumbersome, non-intuitive ways around the popup window, but the easiest way is ScamZapper, a free Mac utility which prevents the bogus technical support popup from locking up Safari.
The popup warnings that infect Safari are blocked before they activate. ScamZapper is not an ad blocker, but because it blocks popups, it might also block some ads. I know. Win-win, right? The way the app works is straightforward. It’s actually an app that installs an extension in Safari that captures and blocks those scurrilous scam popup windows.
That also means that if one popup gets through and locks up Safari, the app can be used to walk you through a solution to rid your browser of the offending script.
All of this protection is free and even runs on older Macs. It also detects when a website tries to redirect Safari to an offending website and then lets you know even that page has been blocked.
Why is this free utility so valuable?
I work as a Mac and PC system administrator and support tech for a private school in Chicago and we have many hundreds of computers in use during the day– Macs, Windows PCs, Chromebooks, plenty of iPads, and even a few Samsung Galaxy Tab tablets (by the way; Chromebooks don’t do much, but they’re also mostly trouble and support free, while students and staff have little trouble finding ways to infect their PCs). It doesn’t take long for one online mishap to translate into dozens of copycat problems, so a simple script like ScamZapper that zaps the problem before it gets far is a godsend.