Are you attempting to launch an app or just using your Mac brings up an alarming pop-up message? Is the pop-up message stating that there is malware, says it will damage the Mac, and advises you to move a particular file to the trash?
The pop-up message will show the name of an app followed by “…will damage your computer. You should move it to the Trash.” In some cases, the pop-ups contain a slightly different message stating, “[App Name] will damage your computer. You should move it to the Bin.”
The pop-up message may appear as a result of users unknowingly installing potentially unwanted programs (or PUPs), browser hijackers and adware. There have been several Mac threats that have triggered the same macOS alert message. Examples of adware or potentially unwanted programs that Mac flags as a potential threat and pops up an alert message are ActivityInput, OperativeMachine, ProtocolStatus, CleanParameter, TrustedAnalog, SkilledObject, DominantPartition, ElementaryTyped, ManagerAnalog, and StandardBoost, among others. Some of the apps may appear on the pop-up message with their app names misspelled like “ActivityInput” shows as “ActivityInputd” (notice the letter “d” at the end).
Gatekeeper, Apple’s security that checks processes before they can run on a computer, warns users of potential harm by displaying the pop-up message “[App Name] will damage your computer.” when suspicious binaries run. At times, the warning message shows up as soon as the system starts. This applies to situations where a suspicious app is added to the Login Items without permission.
A significant number of these are executables related to Mac adware or PUPs. By failing the operating system’s check for code signing, they are seen as a possible cause of security and privacy concerns. There may be some legitimate products that trigger the warning message due to having outdated versions that don’t have the latest security fixes. In this case, installing the latest build will stop the warning.
Unfortunately, moving the potentially unwanted programs to trash, as per the instruction of Gatekeeper, find themselves unable to resolve the issue. Sometimes, an additional message will show up and tell the user that the application can’t be eliminated because it is in use. This proves to be a headache for macOS users. The warning messages will keep popping up, which makes the attack even more of a nuisance. In these circumstances, it is recommended to remove the threats using an anti-malware program.
Adware and PUPs associated with the pop-up message were most likely installed on the victim’s computers via untrustworthy or deceptive websites. Some examples of potentially unwanted programs installed via these kinds of websites include Mac Cleanup Pro, Smart Mac Booster, and Advanced Mac Cleaner. Victims that install them are sometimes tricked into installing other potentially unwanted applications that trigger the aforementioned pop-up message.
The developers who create and distribute such PUPs do so to generate advertising revenue by displaying unwanted pop-ups, injecting ads directly into the browser, diverting online visitors to websites that are heavy with advertisements and sponsored content, and tracking browsing data such as geolocations, IP addresses, search queries, and web pages visited.