A recently discovered Mac OS X threat is the Airmail 3 scam which takes advantage of a software vulnerability, our guide will show users how to detect and remove active infections.
Airmail 3 Scam Summary
|Name||Airmail 3 Scam|
|Type||Phishing scam, Software vulnerability|
|Short Description||Mac OS X Users can be made victims of a Airmail 3 scam caused by a software exploit.|
|Symptoms||The victims may receive multiple email messages in their application.|
|Distribution Method||Bundled downloads, malicious scripts and other methods.|
See If Your System Has Been Affected by malware
|User Experience||Join Our Forum to Discuss Airmail 3 Scam.|
Airmail 3 Scam – How Did I Get It
Computer security experts have received reports of a dangerous Airmail 3 scam targeting Mac OS. It is rated as a severe threat due to the fact that there are several different ways that it can be delivered to the victims.
The hackers take advantage of a security vulnerability in the program (which is a popular alternative to Apple’s own “Mail”application) which automatically leads to an infection. For the hacker operators the most accessible approach is to use SPAM messages that contain the necessary code that will trigger this reaction. The dangerous code can be either directly embedded in the body contents or attached in a file or payload.
There are two main types of payload carriers that are most commonly used to spread viruses and threats like this one:
- Documents — The hackers can embed the necessary code triggering the Airmail 3 Exploit in macros. They can be made part of any standard document including rich text documents, presentations, databases and databases. Whenever they are opened by the victim users a notification prompt will appear asking them to enable the built-in macros.
- Software Installers, Updates & Add-Ons — The criminals can bundle the associated virus code into installers, updates or plugins that may appear as legitimate offerings from the vendors or a download partner. They make be accompanied by legitimate text, design and layout elements taken from the official sources. The hackers themselves acquire the original copies from the main websites in order to create the counterfeit copies.
To further increase the number of infected hosts the criminals can construct hacker-controlled sites that can spread the aforementioned payload carriers.
In advanced cases the hackers can embed the code into browser hijackers — malicious extensions made for the most popular web browsers. They are usually uploaded to the relevant browser’s extension repository using fake user reviews and credentials. The name “hijacker” comes form the fact that once they are installed on the victim hosts they will modify the default settings in order to redirect the users to a hacker-controlled page. Once this is done the virus infection will follow.
One of the dangerous facts about the exploit is that in some cases the virus infections can be caused without user interaction. The criminals attempt to embed an attack URL that will preprogram the Airmail 3 application into executing malicious behavior.
Airmail 3 Scam – More Information
The security analysis reveals that the hackers can take advantage of a few different vulnerabilities that have been identified in the program. Using the malicious code they can force the victim accounts to send emails without passing through the authentication phase. This effectively allows the hackers to manipulate the infected systems into sending emails to other hosts.
There are several attack scenarios that can be used in this case:
- Email-based Attacks — The victim machines can be reconfigured into sending out messages coming out from the user accounts. This is particularly effective for conducting email-based SPAM attacks.
- Program Data Theft — As the infections are caused through an user-installed application the email messages can contain user account information and other details used by the software.
- Payload Delivery — The malicious emails can be used to deploy other threats to the hosts.
- Computer Interaction — The built-in scripts can manipulate the application into running certain commands that can lead to attack models and malware behavior.
The analysis shows that the criminals have the ability to trigger various types of phishing attacks. The code can trigger notification prompts that can be combined with the hacker-crafted emails which can result in social engineering. End goals can include the deployment of other threats to the infected machines. The list of possible payloads includes ransomware that can encrypt sensitive user data and blackmail the victims into paying them money to restore the data. Another dangerous instance is the delivery of a Trojan horse — such infections usually establish an active secure connection with a hacker-controlled server. It allows the hackers to constantly spy on the victims, take over control of their machines and retrieve any desired file.
The vulnerability has already been reported for a security advisory assignment. Mac OS X users are advised to temporarily discontinue use of Airmail 3 until a patch has been released.
We recommend that all users resort to a cleaner utility in case of possible infections as the attack campaign can be configured into running all sorts of system modifications. Virus infections can be programmed to automatically start when the computer is powered on. Other effects of the threat can disable access to recovery menus and etc.
Steps to Prepare Before Removal:
Before starting to follow the steps below, be advised that you should first do the following preparations:
- Backup your files in case the worst happens.
- Make sure to have a device with these instructions on standy.
- Arm yourself with patience.
Airmail 3 Scam-FAQ
What is Airmail 3 Scam on your Mac?
The Airmail 3 Scam threat is probably a potentially unwanted app. There is also a chance it could be related to Mac malware.
The creators of such unwanted apps work with pay-per-click schemes to get your Mac to visit risky or different types of websites that may generate them funds. This is why they do not even care what types of websites show up on the ads. This makes their unwanted software indirectly risky for your MacOS.
Can Macs Get Viruses?
Yes. As much as any other device, Apple computers do get malware. Apple devices may not be a frequent target by malware authors, but rest assured that the following Apple devices can become infected with a threat:
- Mac Mini
- Macbook Air
- Macbook Pro
What Are The Symptoms of Airmail 3 Scam On Mac?
There are several symptoms to look for when this particular threat and also most Mac threats in general are active:
Symptom #1: Your Mac may become slow and has poor performance in general.
Symtpom #2: You have toolbars, add-ons or extensions on your web browsers that you don't remember adding.
Symptom #3: You see all types of ads, like ad-supported search results, pop-ups and redirects to randomly appear.
Symptom #4: You see installed apps on your Mac running automatically and you do not remember installing them.
Symptom #5: You see suspicious processes running in your Mac's Activity Monitor.
If you see one or more of those symptoms, then security experts reccomend that you check your Mac for viruses.
What Types of Mac Threats Are There?
According to most malware researchers and cyber-security experts, the threats that can currently infect your Mac can be the following types:
- Rogue Antivirus programs.
- Adware and hijackers.
- Trojan horses and other spyware.
- Ransomware and screen-lockers.
- Cryptocurrency miner malware.
What To Do If I Have a Mac Virus, Like Airmail 3 Scam?
Do not panic! You can easily get rid of most Mac threats by firstly isolating them and then removing them. One recommended way to do that is by using a reputable malware removal software that can take care of the removal automatically for you.
There are many Mac anti-malware apps out there that you can choose from. SpyHunter for Mac is one of the reccomended Mac anti-malware apps, that can scan for free and detect any viruses. This saves time for manual removal that you would otherwise have to do.
How to Secure My Data from Airmail 3 Scam?
With few simple actions. First and foremost, it is imperative that you follow these steps:
Step 1: Find a safe computer and connect it to another network, not the one that your Mac was infected in.
Step 2: Change all of your passwords, starting from your e-mail passwords.
Step 3: Enable two-factor authentication for protection of your important accounts.
Step 4: Call your bank to change your credit card details (secret code, etc.) if you have saved your credit card for online shopping or have done online activiites with your card.
Step 5: Make sure to call your ISP (Internet provider or carrier) and ask them to change your IP address.
Step 6: Change your Wi-Fi password.
Step 7: (Optional): Make sure to scan all of the devices connected to your network for viruses and repeat these steps for them if they are affected.
Step 8: Install anti-malware software with real-time protection on every device you have.
Step 9: Try not to download software from sites you know nothing about and stay away from low-reputation websites in general.
If you follow these reccomendations, your network and Apple devices will become significantly more safe against any threats or information invasive software and be virus free and protected in the future too.
More tips you can find on our MacOS Virus section, where you can also ask any questions and comment about your Mac problems.
About the Airmail 3 Scam Research
The content we publish on SensorsTechForum.com, this Airmail 3 Scam how-to removal guide included, is the outcome of extensive research, hard work and our team’s devotion to help you remove the specific macOS issue.
How did we conduct the research on Airmail 3 Scam?
Please note that our research is based on an independent investigation. We are in contact with independent security researchers, thanks to which we receive daily updates on the latest malware definitions, including the various types of Mac threats, especially adware and potentially unwanted apps (PUAs).
Furthermore, the research behind the Airmail 3 Scam threat is backed with VirusTotal.
To better understand the threat posed by Mac malware, please refer to the following articles which provide knowledgeable details.