“Your Apple Device has been recently hacked” is a phrase used by scammers in fake security alerts. These alerts are displayed to Mac and iPhone owners. The “Your Apple Device has been recently hacked” warnings are advertisements that promote malicious apps and other potentially unwanted content.
Fake Alerts Your Apple Device Has Been Hacked quicklinks
- About the “Your Apple Device has been recently hacked” scam
- The “Device has been hacked” alerts impersonate Apple
- Malicious ads promote the scam
- The “Device has been hacked” alerts are themselves ads
- How to protect yourself from the “Device has been hacked” scam?
- Automatic Malware removal tools
“Device has been hacked” alerts in short:
|Type of threat||Scam,
|How the “Device has been hacked” alerts work||Ads and notifications tell you that your Apple Device is hacked and that you must install an app to fix it,
the app costs money and has no useful features.
|How to avoid fake virus alerts||Avoid sites that show dangerous ads,
use ad blockers to stop malicious ads.
|How to deal with malicious apps||Check your App Store purchases and subscriptions,
review browser notifications calendar notifications and remove the spammers.
About the “Your Apple Device has been recently hacked” scam
The whole phrase “Your Apple Device has been recently hacked” is a bit long, so let’s call it the “Device has been hacked” scam instead.
The “Device has been hacked” alerts impersonate Apple
A user on the Discussions.apple.com forums shared a screenshot of the fake message:
Apple Care – Your Apple Device has been recently hacked. Read the message!
Due to recent browsing malicious websites your identity has been stolen and is used for advertising. Click the LINK immediately to install AdBlocker or Antivirus for permanent protection!
The message shows Apple icons and claims to come from Apple Care. It says that your identity has been stolen. It also has a button or a link that you’re supposed to click in order to install an app for “permanent protection”.
The “Device has been hacked” messages might impersonate Apple and other trusted companies. They do this to pressure people into following their instructions. In reality, the fake alerts have nothing to do with Apple.
Malicious ads promote the scam
Though the “Your Apple Device has been recently hacked” alerts look like they’re made for mobile devices, I’ve seen similar alerts pop up on the Mac.
The message reported by the user of Discussions.apple.com appeared as a Calendar event, but it can also show up as a browser notification or a pop-up ad.
Malicious ads, as well as notification and calendar hijackers, do appear on certain types of websites:
- pirating sites (such as free movie and sports stream sites),
- file download sites,
- monetized URL shorteners,
- old websites that are infected with malicious redirects.
Any site that shows aggressive ads and promotes unsafe content might show “Device has been hacked” warnings or promote sites that later show these warnings.
The “Device has been hacked” alerts are themselves ads
So, what happens when you click the link shared by the “Device has been hacked” alert?
For me, that just opened an adult dating site. But you can expect the “Device has been hacked” alert to promote Mac and iOS apps that are presented as ad blockers, antivirus tools, and VPNs.
Don’t install the apps that the “Device has been hacked” warnings promote. We’ve already seen many scam apps being promoted by similar alerts.
These apps usually have no or very minimal features. They’re published by unknown companies that have no prior history online.
Despite being useless, the apps cost a lot: some ask for a few dollars per week, others have less frequent payments of more than a hundred dollars. Either way, it ends up being a lot of money. Yet, some people pay.
Remember, the “Device has been hacked” alerts impersonate Apple. This can make people believe that the warning is trustworthy, that their Mac or iPhone really has been hacked, and feel pressured to follow the instructions of the alert, even if they seem strange.
And that’s the scam – malicious ads scare people into downloading a useless app and paying the subscription.
How to protect yourself from the “Device has been hacked” scam?
If you encounter a warning saying that “Your Apple Device has been recently hacked” or something similar, don’t believe it. Especially when it asks you to install a paid app. Check the reviews of the app. Check the developer, see what you can find about them online.
If you’ve encountered “Device has been hacked” or a similar alert, if you think you might have got malware from it, then check a couple of things:
- check your App Store purchases and subscriptions,
- check your browser’s notification settings,
- stop malicious calendar spam,
- if needed, scan your device with anti-malware apps, such as Spyhunter for Mac, Malwarebytes, and others.
There is no perfect way to avoid all malicious ads. The apps promoted by the “Device has been hacked” scam might eventually be removed, the websites that show the ads may be blocked by browsers. But the malicious actors quickly recreate the apps and websites and start the scam anew.
To avoid at least some of the “Device has been hacked” ads in the future, it helps to use ad blockers. Also, whenever you’re unsure if a warning is real, remember that you can ask for advice on Discussions.apple.com and other sites.
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