Cybersecurity researchers have encountered a rogue application named InterfaceHelper that is specifically targeting Mac users. Upon thorough analysis, it has been confirmed that InterfaceHelper falls into the adware category. This intrusive software exhibits the capability to display advertisements across multiple interfaces, and there is a possibility that it may possess other detrimental functionalities beyond its ad-displaying behavior. In addition, InterfaceHelpers is a member of the infamous AdLoad adware family.
Adware Like InterfaceHelper May Cause A Range Of Privacy Concerns
Adware operates by facilitating the display of advertisements. These advertisements may appear in different forms, including pop-ups, overlays, banners, coupons, surveys and more. However, it is important to note that these ads often promote online tactics, as well as unreliable or harmful PUPs (Potentially Unwanted Programs). In some cases, the intrusive nature of these adverts allows them to execute scripts that initiate stealthy downloads or installations when clicked.
It is crucial to recognize that any seemingly legitimate content encountered through these advertisements is likely endorsed by fraudsters who exploit affiliate programs to gain illegitimate commissions.
Rogue applications like InterfaceHelper often engage in the collection of private information. Advertising-supported software typically targets a range of data, including visited URLs, viewed pages, search queries, internet cookies, usernames, passwords, personally identifiable information, credit card numbers and more. This collected data could then be shared with or sold to third parties, further compromising user privacy and security. Therefore, the presence of adware, such as InterfaceHelper on a device poses significant risks to both the device itself and the user's overall safety.
Adware and PUPs (Potentially Unwanted Programs) are Rarely Installed Willingly
PUPs often employ various methods to get installed on users' devices without attracting attention. These methods include:
- Bundled Installers: PUPs are frequently bundled with legitimate software installers, often free applications that users willingly download and install. During the installation process, the bundled PUPs are hidden within the terms and conditions or presented as optional offers, often pre-selected by default. Users may overlook or hastily go through the installation steps, unintentionally granting permission for the PUP to be installed alongside the desired software.
- Misleading Advertisements: PUPs may be promoted through deceptive advertisements that appear legitimate or enticing to users. These ads can be displayed on websites, search engine results, or even within other software applications. The ads may falsely claim to offer useful features, system optimizations, or free utilities, luring users into clicking and initiating the PUP's installation process.
- Fake Software Updates: PUPs may disguise themselves as legitimate software updates or security patches. Users may encounter pop-up notifications or messages while browsing the web, informing them that their software (such as web browsers, media players, or system utilities) is outdated and needs an immediate update. By clicking on these deceptive update prompts, users unknowingly initiate the installation of the PUP instead.
- Social Engineering Tactics: PUPs often employ social engineering techniques to trick users into installing them. This can include using persuasive language, false urgency, or fear tactics to manipulate users into believing that their device is infected, their privacy is at risk, or they need to take immediate action to resolve a non-existent issue. These tactics exploit users' emotions and lack of technical knowledge to persuade them to install the PUP.
- File-sharing Networks and Torrents: PUPs can be distributed through file-sharing networks, torrents, or peer-to-peer (P2P) platforms. Users who download files from these sources may unknowingly acquire bundled PUPs alongside their intended content. The PUPs may be disguised as popular software, media files, or cracked versions of paid applications, tempting users into downloading and installing them.
To avoid unintentionally installing PUPs, users should practice safe browsing habits, carefully read installation prompts and terms of service, only download software from trusted sources, keep their operating system and security software up to date, and be cautious of misleading advertisements or fake software update notifications.