Severity scale:  
  (10/100)

Potential threats detected. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Julie Splinters - - | Type: Adware

Potential threats detected is a scam alert targeting Mac OS users

Potential threats detected pop-up scam

Potential threats detected is a pop-up notification that alerts Mac OS X users about critical system's status and urges to download a security tool to fix it. It claims that the system is heavily damaged and indicates the harm in percentage. Potential threats detected pop-up typically points out a Trojan infection,[1] though adware, keyloggers, spyware, and other cyber threats might be listed. Do not fall for downloading the promoted application because the Potential threats detected is a scam[2] that seeks to foist useless or even dangerous application.

Name “Potential threats detected”
Classification Adware
Sub-category Tech-support-scam
Symptoms Web browser keeps redirecting to a website saying “Potential threats detected”
OS targeted Mac OS X
Distribution Bundling, suspicious websites

While cybersecurity community is used to scam alerts targeting Windows OS, Mac system is more and more frequently contaminated by tech-support alerts. “MAC Malware Warning Alert,” “Mac Detected TAPSNAKE infection,” and “Your Mac Might Be Infected” are just a few examples of the scam alerts targeting Mac users.

Potential threats detected alert might be triggered by two factors, i.e., adware infection or landing on an infected website. In case of the ad-supported app being the case, web browser's settings are modified in a way to redirect users to Potential threats detected website regularly. Usually, the scam locks the screen, so that the user has only two options – to click on the “Free scan now” button or force close the web browser.

The warning looks quite professional and might trick less experienced users into believing that the Mac OS system has been infected. The Potential threats detected virus says:

Potential threats detected!
Your Mac is heavily damaged (34,56%). Personal and banking information is at risk.
To avoid more damage click on 'San now' immediately. Our deep scan will provide help immediately!. Update your PC and eliminate potential threats.
Free Scan Now

The tech-support-scam developers claim security software like Norton and McAfee to be affiliates without authorization. Dieviren.de[3] cybersecurity researchers notify that such claims are false. Reputable security developers to not spread pop-up alerts online or otherwise foist their software downloads.

By clicking on the “Free scan now” button, the unsuspecting Mac's user permits to download and install third-party software, which may eventually turn out to be a potentially unwanted program or virus.

Therefore, in case your web browser started initiating redirects to the scam website, download Reimage and run a full system scan with it to remove Potential threats detected virus.

Potential threats detected removal could also be initiated manually. For this purpose, you should check the list of recently installed apps and eliminate those you are not familiar with. If you are not sure which ones have to be eliminated, initiate online research on them. After that, check Mac's libraries to related files.

Adware distributors rely on bundling

Adware-type and other potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) may be distributed directly, i.e. they may have official websites or may even be spread on sources like Google Play Store. Nonetheless, PUP developers most frequently rely on bundling, meaning that unwanted programs are attached to other freeware as optional downloads.

By selecting Quick or Basic installation setups, device users inadvertently give permission to download each additional component, be it a toolbar or add-on.

IT specialists remind Mac users to be extremely careful with freeware and do not rush the installation. Before downloading one, make a research on it, read reviews, Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy. Besides, always opt for Custom or Advanced installation to unpack the bundle.

Last, but not least, do not trust pop-ups that emerge during web browsing and report the status of your device. There's no such tool as a “Free online scanner.” The same applies to software update prompts. If you believe that your system is at risk, download updates from trusted sources or scan the system with a reputable security tool.

Get rid of Potential threats detected pop-up

Potential threats detected virus is more intrusive than dangerous. However, it may trigger continuous web browser's freezes and trick people into downloading useless or even dangerous tools, such as rogue anti-spyware or system's optimizer.

To prevent unwanted downloads, remove Potential threats detected scam from your web browser using a reputable anti-malware program.

Those opting for manual Potential threats detected removal could follow step-by-step instructions that are provided down below but don't forget that the smallest component left intact may reinstall the adware and repeatedly hijack the web browser.

You can remove Potential threats detected automatically with a help of one of these programs: Reimage, Plumbytes Anti-MalwareWebroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus, Malwarebytes Anti Malware. We recommend these applications because they can easily delete potentially unwanted programs and viruses with all their files and registry entries that are related to them.

We might be affiliated with any product we recommend on the site. Full disclosure in our Agreement of Use. By Downloading any provided Anti-spyware software to remove Potential threats detected you agree to our privacy policy and agreement of use.
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Compatible with Microsoft Windows Compatible with OS X
What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove infection using Reimage, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage is recommended to uninstall Potential threats detected. Free scanner allows you to check whether your PC is infected or not. If you need to remove malware, you have to purchase the licensed version of Reimage malware removal tool.
More information about this program can be found in Reimage review.
Press mentions on Reimage

Manual Potential threats detected Removal Guide:

WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Uninstall Potential threats detected from Windows systems

  1. Click Start Control Panel Programs and Features (if you are Windows XP user, click on Add/Remove Programs). Click 'Start -> Control Panel -> Programs and Features' (if you are 'Windows XP' user, click on 'Add/Remove Programs').
  2. If you are Windows 10 / Windows 8 user, then right-click in the lower left corner of the screen. Once Quick Access Menu shows up, select Control Panel and Uninstall a Program. If you are 'Windows 10 / Windows 8' user, then right-click in the lower left corner of the screen. Once 'Quick Access Menu' shows up, select 'Control Panel' and 'Uninstall a Program'.
  3. Uninstall Potential threats detected and related programs
    Here, look for Potential threats detected or any other recently installed suspicious programs.
  4. Uninstall them and click OK to save these changes. Right click on each of suspicious entries and select 'Uninstall'
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Remove Potential threats detected from Mac OS X system

The following guide explains how to get rid of adware infection from Mac:

  1. If you are using OS X, click Go button at the top left of the screen and select Applications. Cick 'Go' and select 'Applications'
  2. Wait until you see Applications folder and look for Potential threats detected or any other suspicious programs on it. Now right click on every of such entries and select Move to Trash. Click on every malicious entry and select 'Move to Trash'
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Get rid of Potential threats detected from Internet Explorer (IE)

  1. Remove dangerous add-ons
    Open Internet Explorer, click on the Gear icon (IE menu) on the top right corner of the browser and choose Manage Add-ons. Click on menu icon and select 'Manage add-ons'
  2. You will see a Manage Add-ons window. Here, look for Potential threats detected and other suspicious plugins. Disable these entries by clicking Disable: Right click on each of malicious entries and select 'Disable'
  3. Change your homepage if it was altered by virus:
    Click on the gear icon (menu) on the top right corner of the browser and select Internet Options. Stay in General tab.
  4. Here, remove malicious URL and enter preferable domain name. Click Apply to save changes. Delete malicious URL, enter your desired domain name and click 'Apply' to save changes
  5. Reset Internet Explorer
    Click on the gear icon (menu) again and select Internet options. Go to Advanced tab.
  6. Here, select Reset.
  7. When in the new window, check Delete personal settings and select Reset again to complete Potential threats detected removal. Go to 'Advanced' tab and click on 'Reset' button. Now select 'Delete personal settings' and click on 'Reset' button again
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Delete Potential threats detected from Microsoft Edge

Reset Microsoft Edge settings (Method 1):

  1. Launch Microsoft Edge app and click More (three dots at the top right corner of the screen).
  2. Click Settings to open more options.
  3. Once Settings window shows up, click Choose what to clear button under Clear browsing data option. Go to Settings and select 'Choose what to clear'
  4. Here, select all what you want to remove and click Clear. Select 'Clear' button
  5. Now you should right-click on the Start button (Windows logo). Here, select Task Manager. Open the start menu and select 'Task Manager'
  6. When in Processes tab, search for Microsoft Edge.
  7. Right-click on it and choose Go to details option. If can’t see Go to details option, click More details and repeat previous steps. Right-click 'Microsoft Edge' and select 'Go to details' Select 'More details' if 'Go to details' option fails to show up
  8. When Details tab shows up, find every entry with Microsoft Edge name in it. Right click on each of them and select End Task to end these entries. Find Microsoft Edge entries and select 'End Task'

Resetting Microsoft Edge browser (Method 2):

If Method 1 failed to help you, you need to use an advanced Edge reset method.

  1. Note: you need to backup your data before using this method.
  2. Find this folder on your computer: C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge_8wekyb3d8bbwe.
  3. Select every entry which is saved on it and right click with your mouse. Then Delete option. Go to Microsoft Edge folder on your computer, right-click every entry and click 'Delete'
  4. Click the Start button (Windows logo) and type in window power in Search my stuff line.
  5. Right-click the Windows PowerShell entry and choose Run as administrator. Find Windows PowerShell, right-click it and select 'Run as administrator'
  6. Once Administrator: Windows PowerShell window shows up, paste this command line after PS C:\WINDOWS\system32> and press Enter:
    Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers -Name Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register $($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml -Verbose}
    Copy and paste a required command and press 'Enter'

Once these steps are finished, Potential threats detected should be removed from your Microsoft Edge browser.

WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Eliminate Potential threats detected from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

  1. Remove dangerous extensions
    Open Mozilla Firefox, click on the menu icon (top right corner) and select Add-ons Extensions. Click on menu icon and select 'Add-ons'
  2. Here, select Potential threats detected and other questionable plugins. Click Remove to delete these entries. Select 'Extensions' and look for malicious entries. Click 'Remove' to get rid of each of them
  3. Reset Mozilla Firefox
    Click on the Firefox menu on the top left and click on the question mark. Here, choose Troubleshooting Information. Click on menu icon and then on '?'. Select 'Troubleshooting Information'
  4. Now you will see Reset Firefox to its default state message with Reset Firefox button. Click this button for several times and complete Potential threats detected removal. Click on 'Reset Firefox' button for a couple of times
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Erase Potential threats detected from Google Chrome

  1. Delete malicious plugins
    Open Google Chrome, click on the menu icon (top right corner) and select Tools Extensions. Click on menu icon. Select 'Tools' and 'Extensions'
  2. Here, select Potential threats detected and other malicious plugins and select trash icon to delete these entries. Look for malicious entries and delete each of them by clicking on the Trash bin icon
  3. Click on menu icon again and choose Settings Manage Search engines under the Search section. When in 'Settings', select 'Manage search engines...'
  4. When in Search Engines..., remove malicious search sites. You should leave only Google or your preferred domain name. Click 'X' to remove malicious URLs
  5. Reset Google Chrome
    Click on menu icon on the top right of your Google Chrome and select Settings.
  6. Scroll down to the end of the page and click on Reset browser settings. When in 'Settings', scroll down to 'Reset browser settings' button and click on it
  7. Click Reset to confirm this action and complete Potential threats detected removal. Click on 'Reset' button to complete your removal
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Uninstall Potential threats detected from Safari

If Safari keeps redirecting you to a domain, which shows a “Potential threats detected” alert, eliminate adware from the system and then initiate the following steps to restore Safari's settings.

  1. Remove dangerous extensions
    Open Safari web browser and click on Safari in menu at the top left of the screen. Once you do this, select Preferences. Click on 'Safari' and select 'Preferences'
  2. Here, select Extensions and look for Potential threats detected or other suspicious entries. Click on the Uninstall button to get rid each of them. Go to 'Extensions' and uninstall malicious add-ons
  3. Reset Safari
    Open Safari browser and click on Safari in menu section at the top left of the screen. Here, select Reset Safari.... Click on 'Safari' and select 'Reset Safari...'
  4. Now you will see a detailed dialog window filled with reset options. All of those options are usually checked, but you can specify which of them you want to reset. Click the Reset button to complete Potential threats detected removal process. Select all options and click on 'Reset' button

About the author

Julie Splinters
Julie Splinters - Malware removal specialist

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