What is MacKeeper and why you should get rid of it?
It was believed that MacKeeper is an all in one tool which cleans, optimizes and protects your system in one go.
But, what we witnessed was the complete opposite of what was blabbered.
Due to which most security companies have blacklisted MacKeeper.
And, because of its malicious nature, MacKeeper is categorized as Potentially Unwanted Program (PUP).
Objective behind MacKeeper
Mac Operating system has catered an enormous user base, which makes it vulnerable to ‘n’ number of threats.
Consequently, programs like MacKeeper target operating system with the wide user base. The more users they gain, the more revenue is made by scaring them.
The primary objective of a PUP like MacKeeper is to make money for its developers either by demanding it or by stealing it from a user.
How MacKeeper works?
Scanning takes place automatically once the installation is done. But, one thing which appears to be odd; a chat pop-up emerges out of nowhere during the process.
Here, you will be assisted by a MacKeeper chat technician despite the fact that you never asked for it.
Since the app forces us into the chat, we were not left with many options other than talking to the technician.
Supposing it to be helpful, we did have a conversation with the tech guy, and this is where the things turned weird.
Shockingly, after a few chats, we found that it’s not an actual chat as it had the same bottled response to all our questions.
Meanwhile, the scan was completed and as we expected it came up with some significant issues.
Now, that’s not it! After displaying these errors, MacKeeper had an option to fix them called “fix them safely.”
So, we proceeded and clicked on the “Fix them safely” button which took us straight to the payment page. There’s a catch to it.
Yes, you are right, the only option to get these issues fixed was by paying for it.
We also tried it out on several other systems it had the similar scan results.
Such programs designed to scare users and make money out of it are classified as Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUP).
Background processes of MacKeeper:
Unfortunately, money is not the only thing a user would be losing.
MacKeeper runs several other processes in the background to weaken the internal firewall of the system, this itself is a clear indication that in time your system will be vulnerable to various threats.
In the worst-case scenario, your Mac might also crash as the background process consumes around 70% of graphic and CPU’s power resource which would gradually result in slow system performance and with time you would face heating issue which directly hampers the hardware.
And while it’s still on the system we would recommend you practice utmost caution while interacting with web locations, attractive offers, pages offering free installation and downloading facilities, random pop-up messages, free flash players and most of all your banking details.
It might look apparently harmless but is highly capable of exposing your system to harmful and nasty malware and other system infections.
Finally, keeping in mind the lethal effects of “MacKeeper,” we highly recommend that you get rid of the application asap.
Distribution Techniques used by MacKeeper/PUP:
MacKeeper is being promoted inappropriately and aggressively through various rogue affiliate marketing campaigns.
These kinds of campaigns are directed to trick a user into downloading the application, i.e., advertising campaigns, bundling, social clickjacking, spam emails, torrents, etc.
- Social Clickjacking: Developers of such program use online media such as Social Network and tempting advertisements to provoke or let us say in fooling the users to click on the ads, i.e., update your flash player or win an iPhone X, fake security alert or system updates.
A malicious program can also get through the firewall of a system if a user frequently visits insecure websites like Porn sites or betting sites which contain illegal stuff.
So, users should avoid clicking on such misleading ads and random links which frequently show up on the screen while viewing social websites.
- Spam Emails: Spam emails or email frauds are the quickest and easiest approach towards PUP/malware distribution.
These campaigns are majorly carried through phishing emails, they disguise themselves to be from a reputed organization or from a bank.
Such emails are usually loaded with malware as an attachment, and once these attachments are opened, it would straight away install the malicious application on the system.
These spam messages are an exceptionally simple strategy followed to distribute undesirable software like MacKeeper.
Although a spam message goes straight into the spam folder, it won’t hurt being watchful while opening messages from the regular inbox.
These are the best way to avoid a PUP or malicious application from being downloaded to your system without your permission.
And if you find a mail to be threatening or in the form of advertisements, do not open the attachments that come along to avoid any kind of infection.
- Bundling: Through third-party installers by covering itself in freeware installation.
MacKeeper comes bundled with free applications hosted by unreliable websites.
When a user installs these free applications, MacKeeper automatically gets installed.
This is one of the quickest, and the easiest way of infecting a user’s PC with PUP is through a third-party website.
In such case, the user is equally responsible for authorizing the installation of a program from an untrusted or third-party website.
Unfortunately, some freeware programs cover that a malicious program will also be installed with it.
- Torrent and Peer to peer file sharing: Document/file sharing through distributed (P2P) networks is a prominent method to share music, movies, games and different files on the web.
A P2P network is a virtual system of participants that make their very own section of computing resources accessible to other network participants.
This is altogether managed without the requirement for any centralized servers. P2P is very commonly used to distribute malware and can also perform other malicious activities.
To interface with a P2P network or to share and download files, a PC user downloads different software from the Web that empowers his PC to communicate with others on a network.
There are various prominent and well-known file sharing applications and P2P network.
The potential threats of utilizing P2P network begins immediately after that, as adware is attached to free variants of such well-known file sharing programs.
Adware is an undesirable program, or a malware that forces advertisements on the user’s screen and clicking on these ads can cause redirects to target portal or can open the back door to other malware.
The issues don’t stop there, however, despite the fact that huge numbers of the files accessible by means of P2P file sharing are genuine, attackers frequently attempt to trap PC users into downloading malware using basic P2P file sharing applications.
They do this by transferring malware to shared directories made accessible to users. They give malware misleading or fascinating names to trick the users into downloading them.
At this point when a user opens the file, rather than being welcomed by what he expected, he ends up with an infected system.
These are the standard distribution techniques followed by the cyber-criminals to trick the users into various frauds they do.
MacKeeper also uses scareware or scare ads that are displayed as “pop-under” ads on third-party websites, with a message that asks the user to clean their Mac as it has a virus on it.
The pop-under business is the first thing we don’t like about it. We frankly think it’s a real bottom-feeder technique and a low-class way of doing business, and it tells us that they’re not concerned with what people think of them.
MacKeeper’s designers have been called out in the past for facilitating third-party websites advancing their items and furthermore for manipulating phony user reviews.
When they’ve been held responsible for this behavior in the past, they’ve plainly held the aggressive affiliate marketers accountable for it, saying it’s not them, it’s someone else. We would post it that if your affiliate marketing strategy is attracting lying douchebags and scum, then you’re the problem as much as they are.
But the real problems with MacKeeper that we witnessed was that it provides questionable value to most users, can destabilize a stable Mac, and implants itself in the operating system so thoroughly that expelling it is an uncomfortable and weird process.
Eliminating a Mac application should never be more complicated than dragging it into the Trash and emptying the Trash, and maybe entering an administrative password if it’s an authentic app that you have downloaded from the App Store.
Also, “uninstalling” MacKeeper doesn’t dispose of every last bit of it — you’ll come across different traces of it in your Mac’s system library folder and eliminating them would require technical assistance.
We have seen huge masses of forum posts and comments on websites calling MacKeeper a virus or a malware package.
We don’t really understand the reason of MacKeeper destabilizing an operating system, but what we can assure is when we eliminated MacKeeper from the test Macs, they didn’t have the same problems anymore.
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