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How to Remove the Fake “Apple Security Alert” Scam

Sam Boyd Sam Boyd

Short on time? Here’s how to remove the Apple Security Alert scam from your devices:

  • 1. Preliminary Step. Remove any suspicious extensions from your web browser and reset your browser’s default settings.
  • 2. Install an Antivirus and Run a Full Disk Scan. Download and install a comprehensive antivirus program. Intego is best for Mac users. For iOS users, I recommend Norton.
  • 3. Remove Viruses & Malware. Your antivirus will quarantine any malware it finds after the scan is finished. Check each file in the quarantine folder and remove any malware.
  • 4. Stay Protected. Keep your antivirus software installed to protect you from further malware infections, use a secure VPN when browsing (such as ExpressVPN), and be vigilant about malicious websites.

The Apple Security Alert pop-up message is a browser-based scam aimed at tricking users into giving scammers access to their personal and financial information.

Apple will never issue security alerts through your web browser, so if you’re seeing this fake message on your device, then the chances are you’ve clicked on a dangerous link, or unknowingly installed malware such as a PUP (potentially unwanted program) on your device.

Important: Whether the security alert asks you to call a number, click on a link, or download software — ignore it. Your device is not at any risk, and the message is a fake. By following any of the pop-up’s instructions, you’ll only be scammed into paying for software that doesn’t work but that steals your personal data and causes more damage to your device. Simply quit your web browser without pressing any links, and then follow our instructions below.

Sometimes this fake alert is simply displayed on a malicious website, and closing the tab or browser is enough to get rid of it. But it might also be coming from adware or another PUP that you have on your system — in which case you will need to uninstall this malware to get rid of this fake alert.

Whether you’re a Mac or iOS user, you’ll need to close your browser, check for (and uninstall) any dangerous browser extensions, and install a quality antivirus to find and remove any malware on your device — and to prevent the issue from repeating itself in future. Intego is the best software for Mac users, and Norton is best for iOS users.

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Preliminary Step. Remove Suspicious Extensions and Reset Your Web Browser’s Default Settings

These steps vary depending on whether you’re using macOS or iOS, and which macOS browser you are using. Click the option relevant to you:

Remove Suspicious Extensions and Reset Your Safari Browser on macOS

  1. Open the Safari Menu and click Preferences.

Preliminary Step. Remove Suspicious Extensions and Reset Your Web Browser’s Default Settings

  1. Click the Extensions tab at the top of the Preferences window.
  2. Look for any suspicious extensions, click on them, and click Uninstall.

Preliminary Step. Remove Suspicious Extensions and Reset Your Web Browser’s Default Settings4. Now completely close and restart your Safari browser. If this stops the Apple Security Alert from appearing, you don’t need to reset Safari. Proceed to Step 1 to install an antivirus and run a malware scan of your device, to be sure there’s no lingering malware installed on your system.

However, if the Apple security alert is still appearing, reset Safari by following these next steps:

  1. From the same Preferences window, select the Privacy tab.
  2. Click Manage Website Data, then Remove All.
  3. A confirmation box will appear. Click Remove Now.

Preliminary Step. Remove Suspicious Extensions and Reset Your Web Browser’s Default Settings

You now need to enable the develop menu and empty your caches. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Select the Advanced tab at the top of the Preferences window.
  2. Click the checkbox next to “Show develop menu in menu bar.”

Preliminary Step. Remove Suspicious Extensions and Reset Your Web Browser’s Default Settings

  1. Open Safari, select Develop from the main menu, then click Empty Caches.

Preliminary Step. Remove Suspicious Extensions and Reset Your Web Browser’s Default Settings

Finally, you need to clear your browsing history. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Go to History on the Safari menu, then select Clear History.
  2. Choose “all history” from the drop down menu, then click Clear History.

Preliminary Step. Remove Suspicious Extensions and Reset Your Web Browser’s Default Settings

3. Once you’ve done this, close and restart your browser. You’ll have now completely reset Safari. Now proceed to Step 1 to identify any viruses.

Remove Suspicious Extensions and Reset Your Google Chrome Browser on macOS

First check for any suspicious extensions.

  1. Open Google Chrome, and click on the “puzzle” icon in the top right-hand corner of the browser window.
  2. In the pop-up window that appears, click on Manage Extensions.

Preliminary Step. Remove Suspicious Extensions and Reset Your Web Browser’s Default Settings

  1. A window will open showing all current extensions. Identify any that are suspicious, and click Remove.
  2. A confirmation window will appear. Click Remove again.

Preliminary Step. Remove Suspicious Extensions and Reset Your Web Browser’s Default Settings

  1. Now completely close and restart your Chrome browser. If this stops the Apple Security Alert from appearing, you don’t need to reset Chrome. Proceed to Step 1 to install an antivirus and run a malware scan of your device, to be sure there’s no lingering malware installed on your system.

However, if the Apple Security Alert is still appearing, reset Chrome by following these next steps:

  1. Open Chrome, and click on the 3 vertical dots in the top right-hand corner of the browser window.
  2. In the menu that appears, click on Settings.

Preliminary Step. Remove Suspicious Extensions and Reset Your Web Browser’s Default Settings

  1. A new window will open with a Settings pane down the left-hand side. Click on Advanced to expand the menu, and then click on Reset Settings.

Preliminary Step. Remove Suspicious Extensions and Reset Your Web Browser’s Default Settings

  1. Another window will open, with the option to “Restore settings to their original defaults”. Click on this, and then click Reset settings in the next window.

Preliminary Step. Remove Suspicious Extensions and Reset Your Web Browser’s Default Settings

Finally, you need to clear your browsing history. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the 3-dot icon, and click on Settings.
  2. In the screen that appears, navigate to Privacy and security in the side menu.

Preliminary Step. Remove Suspicious Extensions and Reset Your Web Browser’s Default Settings

  1. In the next window, choose “All time” in the dropdown menu, and then select all boxes to clear all your browsing history, cookies, and cached files. Then click Clear data.

Preliminary Step. Remove Suspicious Extensions and Reset Your Web Browser’s Default Settings

  1. Once you’ve done this, close and restart your browser. You’ll have now completely reset your Chrome browser settings. Now proceed to Step 1 to identify any viruses.

Remove Suspicious Extensions and Reset Your Firefox Browser on macOS

First check for any suspicious extensions.

  1. Open Firefox, and click on the 3 horizontal lines in the top right-hand corner of the browser window.
  2. In the menu that appears, click on Add-ons and themes.

Preliminary Step. Remove Suspicious Extensions and Reset Your Web Browser’s Default Settings

  1. A new window will open showing all enabled extensions. Identify any suspicious extensions, click on the 3 dots to the right hand side, and click Remove.
  2. Another pop-up window will open, click Remove again to reconfirm.

Preliminary Step. Remove Suspicious Extensions and Reset Your Web Browser’s Default Settings

Now completely close and restart your Firefox browser. If this stops the Apple Security Alert from appearing, you don’t need to reset Firefox. Proceed to Step 1 to install an antivirus and run a malware scan of your device, to be sure there’s no lingering malware installed on your system.

However, if the Apple Security Alert is still appearing, reset Firefox by following these next steps:

  1. Open Firefox, and click on the “3-lines” icon in the top right-hand corner of the browser window.
  2. In the menu that appears, click on Help.
  3. Another menu will appear; click on More troubleshooting information.

Preliminary Step. Remove Suspicious Extensions and Reset Your Web Browser’s Default Settings

  1. A new window will appear. Click on Refresh Firefox… on the top right of the page.
  2. A confirmation window will appear. Click Refresh Firefox again.

Preliminary Step. Remove Suspicious Extensions and Reset Your Web Browser’s Default Settings

Finally, you need to clear your browsing history. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the 3-lines icon, and click on History.
  2. In the next box, click on Clear recent History…

Preliminary Step. Remove Suspicious Extensions and Reset Your Web Browser’s Default Settings

  1. In the window that appears, choose “Everything” in the dropdown menu, tick every checkbox to clear all browsing history, caches, cookies, and other stored data, and then click OK.

Preliminary Step. Remove Suspicious Extensions and Reset Your Web Browser’s Default Settings

  1. Once you’ve done this, close and restart your browser. You’ll have now completely reset your Firefox browser. Now proceed to Step 1 to identify any viruses.

Remove Suspicious Extensions and Reset Your Safari Browser on iOS

  1. Open the Settings app and tap Safari.
  2. Find and tap on Extensions.
  3. Look through your list of installed extensions and toggle “off” any suspicious extensions to disable them.

Preliminary Step. Remove Suspicious Extensions and Reset Your Web Browser’s Default Settings

  1. If the extension is tied to an app, you then need to find the app on your iOS home menu and uninstall it. To uninstall an app, you need to long-press it, and then tap Remove app.
  2. In the next window that pops up, hit Delete App to remove it from your device.

Preliminary Step. Remove Suspicious Extensions and Reset Your Web Browser’s Default Settings

If this stops the Apple Security Alert from appearing on your iOS device, you don’t need to reset Safari. You can install an antivirus and skip to Step 3. However, if the issue persists, reset Safari on your iOS device by following these next steps:

  1. Open the Settings app and find and click on Safari.
  2. Tap Clear History and Website Data.
  3. Tap Clear History and Data to confirm your option.

Preliminary Step. Remove Suspicious Extensions and Reset Your Web Browser’s Default Settings

Doing this will delete all of your history and cookies. However, it should also stop you from redirecting to the Apple Security Alert. You can now install an antivirus and skip to Step 3.

Step 1. Identify the Fake Apple Security Alert Malware With Your Antivirus (And Don’t Make the Problem Worse!)

IMPORTANT: Only follow Step 1 if you’re trying to fix the Apple Security Alert on macOS. If you’re trying to fix the Apple Security Alert on iOS, skip to Step 3.

In order to identify any malware that may have infected your device, you need to install a secure antivirus program, and then run a full system scan. Doing this will not only find and remove the malware causing your web browser to redirect to the Apple Security Alert, but it will also find and remove any other malware that may be installed on your Mac that you aren’t aware of. I recommend using Intego — it’s the best antivirus for Mac computers in 2022.

During a full disk scan, your antivirus’s malware scanner will look at every file on your Mac and identify any malicious files and programs. If your antivirus finds malware, it will move it into a secure quarantine folder. Even if you recognize files appearing in the infected file list while the scan is running, wait until your antivirus tells you the scan is finished — if you cancel the scan early, chances are you’ll be leaving other malware on your computer.

A full disk scan can often take up to 4 hours, so sit tight and let it run fully. You may want to schedule the scan for when you’re not using your Mac, just in case it causes any slowdown.

Once your antivirus software has finished its scan, it will alert you that it’s finished and automatically take you to your secure quarantine folder. At this stage, every malware threat on your device — including the Apple Security Alert — will be quarantined. You can now proceed to Step 2.

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Step 2. Remove the Apple Security Alert Infection and Delete Any Other Infected Files

Your antivirus software will have identified any malware on your device and moved it into a secure quarantine folder. It will then invite you to look through this folder, and delete all the quarantined files.

For most users, I’d recommend trusting your antivirus and deleting every file it has quarantined. However, advanced users may want to look more closely at each file to see if there are any false positives — safe files that malware scanners sometimes incorrectly flag as dangerous. If you find any false positives, you can whitelist these rather than delete them. However, only whitelist files you fully trust. If you’re not 100% sure whether you trust a file, contact your antivirus’s customer support team, and they’ll be able to tell you whether you should delete it or not.

Once you’ve deleted every dangerous file in the quarantine folder, restart your Mac. While it’s tempting to skip this step, you shouldn’t. There might be malware running in your Mac’s system memory, and restarting your Mac will make sure you’re able to catch it. Once you’ve restarted your Mac, run a second full disk scan to find any malware that your first scan missed. The second scan is usually faster than the first scan since most antivirus programs (including Intego) can recognize recently scanned files. It’ll only look at new files or files that have been recently modified.

Hopefully, there won’t be any new malware threats once the second malware scan finishes. If that’s the case, you can proceed to Step 3.

However, if your antivirus identifies more malware threats during the second scan, you need to remove them and continue to repeat Steps 1 and 2 until every malware threat has been removed from your Mac.

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Step 3. Keep Your Device From Getting Re-Infected

You’ve already had the fake Apple Security Alert scam appear on your device, so you now know how easy it is to accidentally click on a dangerous link or unknowingly download malware.

Every day, new malware is released. There’s also an ever-increased risk of identity theft, being a victim of data harvesting, and having hackers intercept your data on public Wi-Fi networks.

That said, there are many things that you can do to easily protect yourself and stay safe online in 2022. The below steps will show you how.

Keep Your Apps and OS Up-To-Date

When Apple finds any vulnerabilities in its macOS and iOS software, they release patches to fix those issues and vulnerabilities. If you don’t stay up to date with the latest versions of macOS and iOS, you won’t benefit from these fixes, meaning your devices are wide open to known-about vulnerabilities. Hackers often take advantage of this and use these vulnerabilities to hack systems that are still using older versions of software — this is known as an exploit attack.

It’s therefore very important to always update to the latest operating system, and keep your drivers updated. Luckily, this is very easy to do.

To update macOS, open the Apple menu, click System Preferences, then click Software Update. You’ll either see an option to update or upgrade your Mac (depending on how big the update is). Click on the available option, and then click the option that says Automatically keep my Mac up to date.

Step 3. Keep Your Device From Getting Re-Infected

To update iOS, open the Settings app, tap General, followed by Software Update. Tap either Download or Install Now. You should also see a section that says Automatic Updates. Tap on this and switch on Download iOS Updates. Then, toggle on Install iOS updates.

Step 3. Keep Your Device From Getting Re-Infected

It’s also vital any apps you’ve downloaded from the Apple App Store are kept up-to-date.

To update macOS apps, open the App Store, click Updates (located in the sidebar), then click Update All. Once done, open the App Store’s preferences from the main menu bar, and turn on Automatic Updates.

To update iOS apps, open the App Store, tap on your profile (located at the top of the screen), then tap Update all. Then, open your iPhone’s Settings app, tap App Store, and turn App Updates on so that your iOS can update automatically.

Don’t Download Suspicious Files

The vast majority of malware comes via seemingly legitimate software downloads or is attached to deceptive emails. So being vigilant to what you click on and download is the easiest way to keep your devices from getting infected.

Unless you’re an advanced user, you should only download apps from the official Apple App Store. You should also never download email attachments unless you know who the sender is and are expecting an email attachment from them. Also, be careful of phishing emails disguising themselves as trusted businesses or contacts. Always check the sender’s full email address (rather than only their displayed name) and contact the business or sender directly if you’re unsure.

Some antiviruses can also scan emails and files in real time, before you download them onto your Mac — so make sure you have a quality antivirus with real-time protection running (Intego is best for Macs). Since Apple doesn’t let you scan iOS devices, you need to be a little more careful and use a bit of common sense when browsing the web. That said, some iOS antiviruses like Norton offer good web protection that can block you from visiting dangerous websites.

Secure Your Wireless Network and IoT Devices

Avoid connecting to wireless networks unless you know they’re secure. If you must connect to a public network (for example, in an airport), ensure you have a secure VPN running to protect your data from hackers. ExpressVPN is an excellent choice for Mac users.

Similarly, make sure your home network is secured behind a strong password. You can check by opening your Mac’s Wi-Fi menu and seeing if there’s a padlock symbol next to your home connection. If there’s no padlock symbol, you need to log into your router and secure your wireless network with a strong password. If you aren’t sure how to do this, either type your router’s model number into Google and look for the instructions, or contact your internet provider’s customer support.

Step 3. Keep Your Device From Getting Re-Infected

Make sure you use a complex password that isn’t possible to guess. Password managers like 1Password can generate super-secure passwords that hacking tools won’t be able to crack, as well as store them for you in a secure and easily accessible password vault. This is the best way to keep all your accounts securely protected, without any risk of forgetting your passwords.

You should also secure your internet of things (IoT) devices. This can include things like indoor CCTV cameras, doorbell cams, smart watches, and smart speakers. Look up your IoT model or check the product manual to learn how to set a password for it. Then, once again, use a password manager like 1Password to generate (and store) secure passwords.

Expert Tip: A strong password is at least 15 characters long and uses a random mix of letters, numbers, and special characters.

Download a Secure Antivirus Program

Finally, and most importantly, make sure you download and install a secure antivirus program. Whether you’re using a Mac, iPhone, or both, there are tons of antiviruses to choose from. However, a lot aren’t as good as they claim and won’t keep you protected in 2022. Check out our lists of the best antiviruses for Mac and the best antiviruses for iOS to make an informed decision before choosing your antivirus.

Personally, I recommend Intego for Macs. It’s designed specifically for Mac computers, and it has a powerful malware engine. When I tested it on my MacBook Pro, it scanned my entire device in less than an hour and caught 100% of the Mac-based malware samples I tested it against. The real-time protection also worked well and managed to block all of the ransomware attacks I simulated against my device.

Intego also has:

  • Secure firewall — Monitors in and outbound network traffic and blocks any dangerous or unauthorized connections.
  • System cleaner and optimizer — Removes duplicate files and junk from your Mac to save you hard drive space and keep your device performance-optimized.
  • Parental controls — Advanced parental control software that includes a huge range of features for keeping your kids safe online.
  • And much more…

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If you’re an iOS user, I recommend Norton. It offers excellent web protection, among some other really good features:

  • Secure VPN (virtual private network) — Masks your IP address and stops hackers from intercepting your data on public Wi-Fi networks.
  • Wi-Fi Scanner — Scans your Wi-Fi network for privacy issues and warns you if you’re connecting to an unsecure network.
  • SMS spam filter — Scans your messages and filters any that contain dangerous and fraudulent links.
  • And much more…

Try Norton for iOS Now 

What does Apple Security Alert mean?

The Apple Security Alert message is a fake alert that is in fact a browser-based scam. It is designed to steal your data and trick you into giving away your personal and financial information.

Apple never issues security alerts through web browsers, so if you’re seeing this message, you can be certain that it is a scam. Whatever you do, don’t follow any of the instructions on the message — whether it’s to click on a link, call a number, or download software. You need to simply close your browser, and then follow our steps to ensure your device is protected.

If you’re seeing this fake Apple Security Alert message, it means you’ve most likely clicked on a dangerous link or unknowingly downloaded some form of malware. If you’re a Mac user, you may have malware on your device redirecting your web searches to the Apple Security Alert. It’s therefore very important that you scan your computer using a comprehensive antivirus program (Intego is the best antivirus for Macs in 2022).

Does Apple send security alert emails?

Apple only sends security alert emails if someone logs into your Apple account and you have 2FA enabled. If this is the case, the email will be from noreply@apple.com. If you’ve received any variation of this email, it’s a phishing email, and you should report it as such to your email provider.

Don’t download any attachments in the malicious email, or click on any links. Intego for Mac includes an email scanner that can check your inbox for any malware, so it’s good to have this running every time you access your email. If you suspect you have malware on your device, follow our above steps to scan your device and remove any threats.

How to remove the Apple Security Alert message?

To remove the Apple Security Alert pop-up, first close your web browser, then follow our above steps to ensure your device is secure.

In many cases, just closing your browser will be enough, and the message won’t reappear. However, after you’ve closed your web browser, it’s a good idea to check for any suspicious browser extensions and reset your browser settings. You should also download and install a secure antivirus to check for any malware, such as adware or other potentially unwanted programs (PUPs), that may be behind the fake Apple Security Alert message.

Intego is the best antivirus for Macs in 2022. If you’re an iOS user, I recommend Norton, which comes with a secure VPN, SMS filter, and more.

About the Author
Sam Boyd
Sam Boyd
Contributor

About the Author

Sam Boyd is an avid tech fan with a keen interest in cybersecurity products and online safety. When he isn't researching the latest online threats, he enjoys chilling out with some video games and getting outside, exploring new parts of the world with his family.