Remove Tapsnake popup virus from Mac OS X and prevent malicious scripts from running on random websites in Safari, Chrome and Firefox.
Update: January 2019
The use of one piece of malware to distribute another is not uncommon in the computer threatscape. The Tapsnake issue exemplifies a tandem like that. Problems begin with an adware sample infiltrating a Mac. It is a low-severity infection that doesn’t pursue any particularly destructive goals, but its role in distributing opportunistic software is crucial. This pest affects the web browsing environment on the system in the following way: it randomly displays popups that say “Download Required” when the victim is visiting regular sites. The alerts insist that the user “download the Mackeeper application to remove Tapsnake” from their Mac. Some of the virus information indicated there includes the risk level (high) as well as the infected file (/os/apps/snake.icv).
It’s noteworthy that this malvertising campaign underwent a tweak over time to enhance the scare element of the hoax. The new variant of the deceptive alert reports 3 viruses, rather than Tapsnake alone, that allegedly pose risk to the Mac. The list of pseudo threats now includes Tapsnake, CronDNS, and Dubfishicv. In order to pressure the victim further, the following line has been added to the fake warning: “Your Mac is heavily damaged! (33.2%)”. In this scenario, the entry covering the purported location of the infected files looks more detailed, saying: “/os/apps/hidden/os-component/X/snake.icv; /os/local/conf/keyboard/retype.icv”. A slightly modified replica of the alert lists different locations, namely: “/mac/apps/hidden/finder/X/snake.dmg; /mac/local/conf/keyboard/retype.dmg; /mac/remote/conf/services/CronDNS.dmg”.
The download recommended in this shady fashion is not a genuine security tool for Mac OS X or newer macOS versions. It’s MacKeeper, a phony Mac system utility that has gained notoriety for its unparalleled vitality and large-scale distribution via multiple concurrent campaigns going on for years. The bogus alerts about the detection of Tapsnake, CronDNS, and Dubfishicv label this controversial app’s rating as 9.9/10 – this should be with the minus sign to align with the actual state of things. All in all, it makes sense breaking this issue down into components. The troublemaker that shows on the early stage of the breach is an adware, whose mission is to hijack the default web browser in order to redirect the traffic and generate misleading popup warnings. Fortunately, this problem is isolated to the browser for the most part, which makes it clear where to start with the fix.
By clicking the “Remove Virus Now” or “Remove Viruses Now” button on those spoof notifications, the user runs the risk of installing another type of malware. In the better case scenario, a worthless pseudo-antimalware app will end up on the Mac and flood the system with yet more rogue warnings. In summary, these virus alerts do not actually report any real Mac threats – instead, those are ads triggered by a corrupt browser plugin when users go to normal web pages. Consequently, Tapsnake, CronDNS, and Dubfishicv are not the bugs to get rid of. What needs to be removed is the adware that attempts to cause the brainwashing effect.
Tapsnake, CronDNS, Dubfishicv popup virus manual removal for Mac
The steps listed below will walk you through the removal of this malicious application. Be sure to follow the instructions in the order specified.
- Open up the Utilities folder as shown below
- Locate the Activity Monitor icon on the screen and double-click on it
- Under Activity Monitor, find MacKeeper or some other item that appears suspicious, select it and click Quit Process
- A dialog should pop up, asking if you are sure you would like to quit the troublemaking process. Select the Force Quit option
- Expand the Go menu in Apple Finder and select Go to Folder
- Type or paste the following string in the folder search dialog: /Library/LaunchAgents
- Once the LaunchAgents directory opens up, find the following entry in it and move it to the Trash:
- Use the Go to Folder lookup feature again to navigate to the folder named ~/Library/LaunchAgents. When this path opens, look for the same entries (see above) and send them to Trash
- Click the Go button again, but this time select Applications on the list. Find the entry for MacKeeper on the interface, right-click on it and select Move to Trash. If user password is required, go ahead and enter it
- Now go to Apple Menu and pick the System Preferences option
- Select Accounts and click the Login Items button. The system will come up with the list of the items that launch when the box is started up. Locate MacKeeper or other potentially unwanted app there and click on the “-“ button
Get rid of Tapsnake, CronDNS, Dubfishicv virus popups in web browser on Mac
To begin with, settings for the web browser that got hit by the Tapsnake, CronDNS, Dubfishicv adware should be restored to their default values. The overview of steps for this procedure is as follows:
- Reset Safari
- Open the browser and go to Safari menu. Select Preferences in the drop-down list
- Once the Preferences screen appears, hit the Privacy tab at the top. Find the option that says Remove All Website Data and click on it
- The system will display a confirmation dialog that also includes a brief description of what the reset does. Specifically, you may be logged out of some services and encounter other changes of website behavior after the procedure. If you’re okay with that, go ahead and click the Remove Now button
- In order to selectively clear data generated by certain websites only, not all of them, hit the Details button under the Privacy section of Safari Preferences
- This feature will list all websites that have stored potentially sensitive data, including cache and cookies. Select the one, or ones, that might be causing trouble and click the appropriate button at the bottom (Remove or Remove All). Click the Done button to exit.
- Open the browser and go to Safari menu. Select Preferences in the drop-down list
- Reset Google Chrome
- Open Chrome and click the Customize and Control Google Chrome menu icon
- Select Options for a new window to appear
- Select Under the Hood tab, then click Reset to defaults button
- Reset Mozilla Firefox
- Open Firefox and select Help – Troubleshooting Information
- On the page that opened, click the Reset Firefox button
Get rid of Tapsnake, CronDNS, Dubfishicv virus alerts using Freshmac automatic removal tool
When confronted with malicious code like the Tapsnake alerts on Mac, you can neutralize its toxic impact by leveraging a specially crafted system utility. The Freshmac application (read review) is a perfect match for this purpose as it delivers essential security features along with must-have modules for Mac optimization.
This tool cleans unneeded applications and persistent malware in one click. It also protects your privacy by eliminating tracking cookies, frees up disk space, and manages startup apps to decrease boot time. On top of that, it boasts 24/7 tech support. The following steps will walk you through automatic removal of the Tapsnake, CronDNS, Dubfishicv infection.
- Download Freshmac installer onto your machine. Double-click the Freshmac.pkg file to trigger the installer window, select the destination disk and click Continue. The system will display a dialog asking for your password to authorize the setup. Type the password and click Install Software
- Once the installation has been completed, Freshmac will automatically start a scan consisting of 5 steps. It scans cache, logs, unused languages, trash, and checks the Mac for privacy issues.
- The scan report will then display your current system health status and the number of issues detected for each of the above categories. Click the Fix Safely button to remove junk files and address privacy issues spotted during the scan.
- Check whether the Tapsnake virus alerts has been fixed. If it perseveres, go to the Uninstaller option on Freshmac GUI. Locate an entry that appears suspicious, select it and click Fix Safely button to force-uninstall the unwanted application.
- Go to Temp and Startup Apps panes on the interface and have all redundant or suspicious items eliminated as well. The Tapsnake virus fraud shouldn’t be causing any further trouble.