What is Adware? Can Mac be infected with Adware? What should I do to remove adware?
Mac users have always been a misconception- that Mac cannot be infected with virus. However, it is just a myth as today Macs are very much vulnerable to viruses. Whether it is adware, browser hijackers, spyware, malware, Trojan or even ransomware.
Your Mac do need to a real-time protection to stay pro-active against threats.
What is Adware?
Adware are program designed to display intrusive advertisements on the browser. These software can install in various forms like fake web extensions, ad-driven search engines, malicious software, also known as potentially unwanted programs.
Adware can target both web browsers and computer systems. Its prime motive is to run in the background to load advertising contents while user is online. However, if your PC is severely infected, then you may also notice pop-ups on your screen.
How Adware gets installed?
Typically, user may install it unknowingly via various deceptive distribution tactics, known as bundling. Often we tend to download freeware from third-party sites, ads or redirect links. Such program comes bundled with additional programs that install along with it.
Mac users are mostly getting infected with adware or PUA via:
- updating fake Adobe Flash Player,
- fake Mac optimization tools,
- pdf converters,
- download managers and so on.
To avoid this, users should opt for custom/advanced installation option while going through set up wizard. This will skip the installation of unwanted programs on your device.
What Are The Types of Adware?
Adware installed via bundling are mostly considered as PUA. These programs mostly modifies various settings of the system like creates User Profile, add files to libraries, changes default settings of the browsers.
As mentioned above, adware are considered as programs that displays misleading ads, encourages fake downloads, causes automatic redirects and scams. So, based on these facts, here are the types of adware:
Adware that targets the web browsers:
These install as fake extension, plug-ins, and search engines. Some of the examples are Chill-tab, Searchmine, cybersearch.xyz, Gsearch, and so on. These program when installed attempts to take over the browser in order to inject ads within the websites user visits and search results. So, you may see your search queries redirected via unknown URLs, and then they return the result page. These are mostly loaded with sponsored links, irrelevant contents and in-text links and so on.
There can be various consequences:
- When you click on such links, then these ads can trick you into visiting unsafe websites.
- Downloading fake programs more like of adware, spyware, crytojacking and browser hijackers.
- Random pop-ups may appear on the pages you visit.
- Sites asking to enable the web notification after which you see pop-up ads on your device screen.
Adware designed to trick and scam users:
This category of adware appears as redirect pages that shows scary warnings and alerts that “your mac is infected with (3) viruses, “Require Software Update” and many such. These warnings fake and only designed by scammers to trick users into installing fake optimization tools or anti-virus. Often sometimes you have seen these warnings promoting genuine tools.
Yes, these happens because the adware authors tends to earn the commission from the affiliates via deceptive means. So, users should never install such programs.
How To Remove Adware From Mac
To completely remove adware from Mac, follow these steps carefully:
|Remove Adware, PUA and other Malicious Software|
|Remove LaunchAgents and LaunchDaemons Associated With Adware|
|Uninstall Adware Related Extensions From Web browsers|
|Remove Adware Related Fake User Profiles|
Remove Adware, PUA and other Malicious Software
- On the Finder window, click Go→ Applications;
- Look through the Application window to find and remove Adware or Malicious Software;
- To remove adware, right-click on it and choose “Move To Trash”; (Some adware are: Adload, Advanced Mac Cleaner, Shlayer, Mac Cleanup Pro, CrossRider and so on).
- After removing, Click on the “Empty Trash” by right-click on the Trash icon on your dock.
- Restart your Mac to make changes into effect.
Remove LaunchAgents and LaunchDaemons Associated With Adware
To Remove LaunchAgents and LaunchDaemon, follow the steps here:
- Open Finder window and then select: Go → Go to Folder;
- Now, you need find any malicious agents within the following locations, and delete if find any;
- Enter the path to the “Go To Folder” and click “Go”;
- Now, check, if there is any adware related entries, if found delete them one-by-one.
Uninstall Adware Related Extensions From Web browsers
Next, step is to find unwanted extension, fake search engine and revoke other settings that happens due to any Adware. So, most of the users use Safari, Chrome and Mozilla browsers on their Mac OS.
So, here we are going to explain all the three one-by-one.
Delete Unknown Extensions
Adware may install as extensions which triggers pop-up ads, homepage redirects and so on. So, it is important to find and remove adware extensions.
- Click on Safari menu →Preferences → go to Extensions Tab;
- Look for any unwanted extensions active on your Safari;
- To remove extension from Safari, Select it and click on “Uninstall”.
Restore Your Homepage
Many time, adware in the form extensions promote fake search engine, so they set unknown URL as default homepage. So, if you don’t want them, then here is what to do to remove them:
- Click on Safari menu →Preferences → go to General Tab;
- Under the “Homepage” field, remove unknown URL like searchmine.net and enter address of your choice like “google.com” as click “set as default”.
This should help fix your issue, but if not, then here is the guide explaining to reset Safari browser.
- To open Extensions page on Chrome type
chrome://extensions/on your address bar;
- Now, check for unknown extension active on the browser;
- To remove Extension from Chrome, click on “Remove” beside it.
Restore Your Homepage
- To access Homepage setting on Chrome type
- Here you see default homepage URL that opens every time you launch your browser. Remove it and type the new one you want.
- Next, remove fake search engine, by typing
- Under “Manage search engines”, click on the search engine you want to remove;
- To remove Search engine from Chrome, click on the 3-vertical dots beside its name and click on “Remove from list”.
Here is the guide on how to Reset Chrome Browser on Mac and Windows.
- To open Extension menu, type
about:addonson your Firefox address bar;
- Choose “Extensions” from the left menu;
- To remove extension from Firefox browser, click on “Remove” beside the extension name.
- To access Homepage Setting on Firefox, type
about:preferences#homeon the address bar;
- Under “New Windows and Tabs” field, enter your favorite URL to set as homepage and New tab.
- To Remove search engine from Firefox
about:preferences#search, under search shortcuts section, click on the URLs you want to remove;
- Next click on the “Remove” button on the bottom.
To completely Reset Mozilla Firefox Browser on Safari and Windows click here.
Remove Adware Related Fake User Profiles
Often malicious programs creates Users and Groups to add program preferences, so you need to find and remove fake profiles. To do so, you must login to your Mac as administrative account. By deleting them the fake user will no more able to access them.
- Choose Apple menu → System Preferences → Users & Groups.
- On the Users & Groups window, if you see unknown profile, then click on it;
- To Remove Fake User Profile, select it and click the Remove button (—) minus button in the bottom.