Pop-ups that say “Hacker is tracking you!” are fakes. Scammers created them to promote expensive VPN apps.
The idea is behind the “Hacker is tracking you!” alert is to promote paid apps and to make them look like they’re being endorsed by Apple. It’s also to scare people into downloading and paying for expensive apps that they don’t actually need.
Scam Hacker Is Tracking You quicklinks
- What causes the “Hacker is tracking you!” ads
- How to avoid fake ads
- How to deal with the “Hacker is tracking you!” scam
About the “Hacker is tracking you!” scam:
|Type of threat||Adware,
|Why “Hacker is tracking you!” alerts appear||They serve as ads for potentially unwanted apps,
they impersonate Apple to gain people’s trust,
they’re advertised on websites that show aggressive ads.
|How to protect yourself from scam ads||Use ad blockers when visiting suspicious websites,
close pop-ups that try to scare you,
don’t install apps that you aren’t sure about,
regularly check your subscriptions on the App Store.
|How to deal with the “Hacker is tracking you!” pop-ups||Close the browser tab that’s showing the alert,
cancel unwanted app subscriptions.
What causes the “Hacker is tracking you!” ads
Nowadays, it seems like VPN apps are being spread with the help of fake security alerts (Mobile VPNs Promoted by You Are Infected or Hacked Ads).
These pop-ups, which are designed to look like they’re being displayed by Apple, say scary things like “Hacker is tracking you!” and “All your actions on the device are tracked by a hacker”. They also threaten that your browsing history will be sent to all of your contacts.
These pop-ups then say that, to avoid having your data stolen, you have to immediately install an app. Click the button featured on the pop-up and it’ll take you to the App Store, a page for some sort of a VPN app. Usually, the app has amazing reviews and ratings. It also costs a few dollars per week.
This is a very scammy and predatory way to advertise apps. The “Hacker is tracking you!” alerts are misusing Apple’s logo and name in order to scare users into wasting their money. Everything about this is very unethical.
Not to mention, VPNs are not the privacy solution that they’re marketed as. With HTTPS (What is HTTPS?), your data is already encrypted and hidden from outsiders, including from your ISP. In addition, when you’re using a VPN, there’s no way to know that your unencrypted data is not being logged by the VPN.
VPNs are useful, but don’t trust them with your privacy. Especially not apps that use such deceptive ads as the “Hacker is tracking you!” alerts.
How to avoid fake ads
Malicious ads such as “Hacker is tracking you!”, “Adblock update required”, and “Apple security breach” show up online, in your browser. They’re displayed by sites like secureblogcn.com, peachtrackercn.com, bestpeachcn.com, peachlandcn.com, applesecuritycn.com, etc.
Websites that show such ads tend to be pirating sites, file download sites, and similar websites. It helps to use ad blockers when visiting websites that show aggressive ads.
There are a few things to remember when you encounter an alert like “Hacker is tracking you!”:
- Don’t trust security pop-ups about your device when they appear online. This can be difficult, as online ads can be designed to look like system alerts.
- Don’t trust security alerts that show you a timer counting down. That’s pretty universal.
- Remember that Apple will not require you to install paid third-party apps to keep your device safe.
Close the browser tab that is showing the “Hacker is tracking you!” alert.
How to deal with the “Hacker is tracking you!” scam
Remove the app that was promoted by the “Hacker is tracking you!” alert.
If you signed up for a subscription, go to your settings and unsubscribe (Manage App Store purchases, subscriptions, settings, and restrictions).