'ProtocolStatus Will Damage Your Computer' Message
ProtocolStatus is an adware that can load advertisements automatically and redirect Web browsers to unwanted websites. Like similar adware, its campaign targets macOS users with tactics that involve fake or misleading media player installers. For maintaining their overall online safety, users should remove ProtocolStatus with suitable anti-adware products at the earliest convenience.
A Status Check with Major Warning Signs
Riding a tide of adware into macOS PCs, ProtocolStatus is a small piece of a pattern in Trojans installing advertising software with little care for the user's permission. ProtocolStatus is, in symptoms, not too different from most average adware and emphasizes pay-per-click revenue by tampering with the user's browsing experience. Along the way, it also may disrupt network connectivity or cause security warnings – presumably, by accident.
ProtocolStatus – a relative of concurrent adware like ActivityInput, ExtendedSprint, InitialSkill, and OperativeMachine – loads pop-ups and injected 'Ads by ProtocolStatus' advertisements through the user's Safari, Firefox, or Chrome browsers. It also redirects users to search sites by changing the homepage, new tab, and search settings. While not overtly threatening, these activities tend to endanger users by risking their exposure to tactics and script-based exploits.
Users also may recognize ProtocolStatus installations through different symptoms, not all of which involve its advertising monetization. Changes to proxy settings for ad-delivery purposes may prevent users from loading websites or other Web services. ProtocolStatus also can provoke 'ProtocolStatus will damage your computer' warnings from the macOS's built-in security, which occurs after rebooting.
Most users should treat adware as worth removing on sight, thanks to the security issues they cause. Malware experts recommend the same treatment for ProtocolStatus, especially given its disingenuous installation methods (see below).
Getting More than What You Thought You Downloaded
Since few users would install adware happily, most adware installers use misleading or vague statements for their product or don't describe it at all. ProtocolStatus's family is notable for employing Flash Player update installer tactics and a notorious Trojan downloader by the name of Adload especially. Users searching for 'free' movies online are likely to fall into the trap of clicking a non-loading window, encountering a fake update and installing ProtocolStatus by mistake.
As part of the moral of this fable, macOS users may want to consider favoring the official application Store for most of their downloads. Since Adobe no longer supports Flash, malware experts also discourage keeping it around, although users still can apply official updates as long as they use trustworthy sources. Also of note is that pirating movies, software, or other products tends to lead to Trojan infections, Potentially Unwanted Programs like ProtocolStatus and other attacks.
High-quality security services that detect adware should remove ProtocolStatus on sight. Malware analysts confirm cases of incomplete, manual uninstall attempts not dealing with all components or symptoms (such as security alerts), and most users should depend on their automated software for protection.
ProtocolStatus might not be spyware or a Trojan, but adware with poor design can cause nearly as much damage. A responsible PC owner should stamp out the sources of unwanted advertisements dutifully, no matter how deeply that root buries itself.