Updated: August 2018 – Updated content & images.
Since adware is big business. Adware and Potentially Unwanted Program (PUPs) publishers have found their way to Mac OS. Specifically, the Mac OS browsers, Safari, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.
In our search for adware and Mac OS malware, we found lots of new adware applications for Mac OS in 2016, 2017 and recently 2018. For what we have seen at the end of 2017 and begin/mid 2018 is that Mac OS malware is emerging to social engineering. Since Mac OS is a very secure operating system, cybercriminals deceive users into downloading viruses, adware and in some recent cases even Ransomware. Social engineering using adware and potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) is the most common way for a Mac OS system to get infected. Below you’ll find a list of known Mac OS adware and malware.
Codec-M, FkCodec, Yontoo, Torrenthandler, ClickAgent, Fake Flash Player installations, ChatZum, Conduit, MyBrand, Trovi, Search Protect, SP, Searchme, Slick Savings, Amazon Shopping Assistant, Ebay Shopping Assistant, Domain Error Assistant, Set Search Settings, Searchtab, GoPhoto.it, Omnibar, GoldenBoy, Texiday, Listchack, InKeepr, Nariabox, Celipsow, savekeep, saVe keeep, suave keepo, jollywallet, Vidx, Viddxx, Vidox, Viidax, ViiDDx, MacVX, MacVaX, MacCaptain, MacPriceCut, SaveOnMac, Mac Global Deals or MacDeals, MacSter, MacXcoupon, Shop, Brain, SShoP Braaiin, MacMin, MaucMino, VidX, Awesome Screenshot, Shopy Mate, PalMall, FlashMall, Cinema-Plus Pro, Search App by Ask, MacShop, MacSmart, News Ticker Remover, Shopper Helper Pro, Photo Zoom, Best YouTube Downloader, ArcadeYum, Extended protection, Video, Download helper, FlashFree, RecipeHub, iLivid, CustomSearchForSafari, Media Player, MusixLib, GoMovix, MovixHub, AdBlock Super, Webpage, Screenshot, NewTabTV, WalletBee, PremierOpinion, Opti-Page, Toppy, Shoppy, CrossRAT, Mac OS Cryptominers, ColdRoot
What does adware on Mac OS do?
Mac adware displays pop-up advertisements, inline-text, and audio advertisements. Adware for Mac is also known to cause browser redirects to suspicious download sites or dangerous technical support web pages, these support web pages pretend to work for Apple Support. In reality, these web pages are scams to deceive users into buying an expensive support contract with false claims. Tech Support web page state your mac is infected with a virus and a service telephone number should be called to remove the virus from your Mac. Read more on tech support scam pages.
Adware is built for revenue, adware serves all sorts of websites by redirecting the browser to a specific ad. Adware is also known to hijack the browsers default homepage and search engine. All the web browser traffic is then redirected using the by adware installed browser hijacker.
MacOS adware is not to be found keylogging, spreading itself throughout your network or infecting system files. Adware is known to collect both personally and non-personally identifiable information (PII) for the Mac and browser. The information collected by adware (not limited to): your IP address, your current location, which is based on the internet providers IP-address, your default installed internet browser, device screen size, Mac system version and even the web-browser history.
All this information is sold for marketing purposes. Some suspicious adware applications have information about how they handle and collect the gathered information in an end user license agreement. However, no one reads the EULA and accepts the EULA by default upon installation.
How to prevent adware on a Mac?
Adware for Mac OS usually installs itself together with other software applications downloaded from the internet. This technique is called bundling and the downloaded software is known as pay per install software. Pay per install software is a monetizing tool for software developers. The software developer gets paid for every new software e.g. adware installation. These pay per install services are abused by many web pages that offer free software. Pay per install software is most likely responsible for the adware infection on a Mac.
The Mac user should be aware of what is downloaded from the internet. Clicking the custom or advanced button during installation can reveal what kind of applications are installed on the Mac during installation. Uncheck any software you do not wish to install.
By paying attention to the installation details during a software installation, the Mac user might prevent the installation of adware or any other potentially unwanted program.
Example of a Pay Per Install Mac OS Adware installer
Look carefully, clicking the Accept button ends in a replacement of your default homepage with Yahoo Search and installs a Safari extension named “Search-Assist”.
This is an example of a download manager that offers additional software for revenue during installation.
To prevent the installation of additional software, select the advanced button (see image) and uncheck or opt out the quick installation button.
By doing so you have the change to deny any third party software installations.
Example of a Mac OS Adware Scam
pop-ups such as the Apple support scam picture on the right are deceptive and triggered by adware applications installed on a Mac. There are many different kinds of pop-ups, some adware programs redirect the browser to shopping sites, gambling sites etcetera.
Adware for Mac OS is specifically designed to create income for its publisher. Browser redirects are designed to sell products, make you click on a pay per click ad or provide personal information for marketing purposes.
If you experience any of the following, your browser homepage has changed without your permission or many intrusive pop-up advertisements are shown. We recommend removing any malware from your Mac using these comprehensive Mac malware removal instructions. Please, follow all steps to completely clean and optimize your Mac.
Remove adware from Mac OSX Safari, Chrome or Firefox
This web page introduces malware removal tools to clean your Mac from any malware automatically. In the chapter manual instructions, I have created a two-step instruction to successfully clean the internet browser. Good luck and enjoy a clean and healthy Mac!
Step 1 – Mac Malware Removal Tools
Step 2 – Mac Malware Manual Removal Instructions
Combo Cleaner – Clean your Mac from Viruses, Junkware and Uninstall Unwanted Applications
- Download Combo Cleaner.
- Double-click the downloaded file.
- In the opened window drag and drop the Combo Cleaner icon onto the Mac application's icon.
- Open Launchpad and click on the Combo Cleaner icon.
- Wait until the antivirus engine downloads it's virus definition updates.
- Click "Start Combo Scan”.
Remove malware with CleanMyMac X
Remove adware with Malwarebytes for Mac
Remove browser extensions from Safari, Google Chrome, and Firefox on a Mac.
If you experience unwanted homepage changes in the Safari, Google Chrome or Firefox browser on a Mac, you should check the web browser for unknown browser extensions. Browser extensions integrate with the browser, which is often a good thing. However, some browser extensions cause unwanted changes such as a new homepage, search engine or inject advertisements in web pages. If you experience anything of the following below, check the browser extensions in the web browser on Mac and remove any extension you do not know.
- The homepage or search engine is changed without the user’s approval.
- In-text advertisement, such as “Ads by”, “powered by” on random web pages.
- Unknown pop-ups that redirect to even more suspicious web pages.
Remove Adware browser extensions from Safari on Mac.
- Open Safari
- Go to Safari in the MacOS menu and select Preferences
- Go to tab Extensions and remove all extension you don’t know or need using the Uninstall button.
Remove browser extensions from Chrome on a Mac.
- Open Google Chrome
- Select the Google Chrome menu in the menu select More Tools then select Extensions.
- On the left select Extensions and remove all extension listed in the panel using the trash can icon.
Remove browser extensions from Mozilla Firefox on a Mac.
- Open Firefox
- Go to Firefox MacOS menu select Preferences
- On the left select Extensions and remove all extensions listed in the panel.
Reset the Safari, Google Chrome or Firefox browser on Mac.
Reset Safari for Mac prior to version 8
Reset Safari to default settings. The most comprehensive method to remove any unwanted changes affecting the browser.
- Open Safari from the MacOS menu
- Click Reset Safari
- Enable all items in the checklist
- Click Reset button
Hard reset Safari for all Mac versions (recommended)
If nothing works, and you want to completely reset Safari on a Mac to default settings, this is the instruction for you.
Remember, nothing is saved from Safari!
- Close Safari first, open this website (https://www.fixyourbrowser.com/how-to/remove-adware-mac-osx-safari-chrome-firefox/#reset) in another browser or device. Or copy the text in a text editor.
- Press CMD+Spacebar the same time
- Enter Terminal
- The terminal is now open
- Copy the following text in the Terminal Window.
rm -rf ~/Library/Safari/;rm -rf ~/Library/Saved\ Application\ State/com.apple.Safari*;rm -rf ~/Library/Caches/com.apple.Safari*;rm -rf ~/Library/Cookies/com.apple.Safari*;rm -rf ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.Safari*
- Restart Safari
- Enjoy a clean and brand new Safari. (this reset method is not supported by Apple).
Reset Google Chrome to default settings on Mac
- On your Mac, open Google Chrome.
- At the top right, click More Settings.
- At the bottom, click Advanced.
- Under the section “Reset,” click Reset.
- Confirm by clicking Reset.
Resetting your browser settings will impact the settings below:
- Default search engine and saved search engines will be reset and to their original defaults.
- Homepage button will be hidden and the URL that you previously set will be removed.
- Default startup tabs will be cleared. The browser will show a new tab when you start-up or continue where you left off if you’re on a Chromebook.
- New Tab page will be empty unless you have a version of Chrome with an extension that controls it. In that case, your page may be preserved.
- Pinned tabs will be unpinned.
- Content settings will be cleared and reset to their installation defaults.
- Cookies and site data will be cleared.
- Extensions and themes will be disabled.
Reset Mozilla Firefox to default settings on Mac
- Click the menu button (3 stripes in the right top corner) and then click help (the question mark icon in the bottom).
- From the Help menu choose Troubleshooting Information.
- If you’re unable to access the Help menu, type about:support in your address bar to bring up the Troubleshooting Information page.
- Click the Refresh Firefox button in the upper-right corner of the Troubleshooting Information page.
- To continue, click Refresh Firefox in the confirmation window that opens.
- Firefox will close to refresh itself. When finished, a window will list your imported information.
- Click Finish and Firefox will open.
More tips and tricks for Mac
- How to: Close all Safari open tabs at once
- How to: Clear Safari cache files
- How to: Enable experimental options in Safari
- How to: Make Safari Faster
- 6 Safari extension you should try!
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