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How to remove Tapsnake; CronDNS; Dubfishicv virus warning on Mac

Remove Tapsnake popup virus from Mac OS X and prevent malicious scripts from running on random websites in Safari, Chrome and Firefox.

Update: October 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).

Tapsnake popup alert on Mac

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”.

Tapsnake, CronDNS, Dubfishicv fake virus alert pushing MacKeeper scareware

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.

In another twist of this malvertising campaign, the fake Tapsnake virus alerts have started pushing scareware other than MacKeeper. For instance, a redirect hoax forwarding victims to and landing pages has been promoting phony utilities called Cleanup My Mac and Mac Heal Pro, respectively. Both are spinoffs of the nasty Advanced Mac Cleaner pseudo optimizer. Just like their progenitor, the sketchy apps report imaginary issues with the system to convince the victim into registering their licensed edition. Overall, this recent wave follows the exact same logic as it used to, except that the harmful programs being distributed may vary.

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.

  1. Open up the Utilities folder as shown below

    Open up the Utilities

  2. Locate the Activity Monitor icon on the screen and double-click on it

    Locate the Activity Monitor

  3. Under Activity Monitor, find MacKeeper, Cleanup My Mac, Mac Heal Pro or some other item that appears suspicious, select it and click Quit Process
  4. A dialog should pop up, asking if you are sure you would like to quit the troublemaking process. Select the Force Quit option
  5. Expand the Go menu in Apple Finder and select Go to Folder
  6. Type or paste the following string in the folder search dialog: /Library/LaunchAgents

    Go to the LaunchAgents folder

  7. Once the LaunchAgents directory opens up, find the following entry in it and move it to the Trash:
    • com.mackeeper.MacKeeper.Helper.plist
    • com.CleanupMyMac.agent.plist
    • com.CMM.agent.plist
    • com.CleanupMyMac.cmmhlpr
    • com.CMM.cmmhlpr
    • com.MacHealPro.agent.plist
    • com.MHP.agent.plist
    • com.MacHealPro.mcphlpr
    • com.MHP.mcphlpr
  8. 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
  9. Click the Go button again, but this time select Applications on the list. Find the entry for MacKeeper, Cleanup My Mac, Mac Heal Pro on the interface, right-click on it and select Move to Trash. If user password is required, go ahead and enter it

    Malicious app icon under Applications

  10. Now go to Apple Menu and pick the System Preferences option

    Pick the System Preferences

  11. 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, Cleanup My Mac, Mac Heal Pro or other potentially unwanted app there and click on the “-“ button

Get rid of Tapsnake virus in web browser on Mac

To begin with, the web browser settings taken over by the Tapsnake virus should be restored to their default values. Although this will clear most of your customizations, web surfing history, and all temporary data stored by websites, the malicious interference should be terminated likewise. The overview of the steps for completing this procedure is as follows:

  1. Remove Tapsnake virus from Safari
    • Open the browser and go to Safari menu. Select Preferences in the drop-down list.

      Go to Preferences in Safari

    • Once the Preferences screen appears, click on the Advanced tab and enable the option saying “Show Develop menu in menu bar”.

      Advanced tab under Safari Preferences

    • Now that the Develop entry has been added to the Safari menu, expand it and click on Empty Caches.

      Empty Caches in Safari

    • Now select History in the Safari menu and click on Clear History in the drop-down list.

      Clear history in Safari

    • Safari will display a dialog asking you to specify the period of time this action will apply to. Select all history to ensure a maximum effect. Click on the Clear History button to confirm and exit.

      Select all history to clear

    • Go back to the Safari Preferences and hit the Privacy tab at the top. Find the option that says Manage Website Data and click on it.

      Manage Website Data option under Privacy tab

    • The browser will display a follow-up screen listing the websites that have stored data about your Internet activities. This dialog additionally includes a brief description of what the removal does: 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 on the Remove All button.

      Confirmation dialog

    • Restart Safari
  2. Remove Tapsnake in Google Chrome
    • Open Chrome, click the Customize and control Google Chrome (⁝) icon in the top right-hand part of the window, and select Settings in the drop-down

      Chrome Settings

    • When on the Settings pane, select Advanced
    • Scroll down to the Reset settings section.

      Reset settings in Chrome on Mac

    • Confirm the Chrome reset on a dialog that will pop up. When the procedure is completed, relaunch the browser and check it for malware activity.

      Here’s how to reset settings in Chrome on Mac

  3. Remove Tapsnake from Mozilla Firefox
    • Open Firefox and go to Help – Troubleshooting Information (or type about:support in the URL bar and press Enter).

      Open Firefox and go to Help

      Select Troubleshooting Information

    • When on the Troubleshooting Information screen, click on the Refresh Firefox button.

      Refresh Firefox on Mac

    • Confirm the intended changes and restart Firefox.

Get rid of Tapsnake, CronDNS, Dubfishicv virus alerts using Combo Cleaner automatic removal tool

The Mac maintenance and security app called Combo Cleaner is a one-stop tool to detect and remove Tapsnake virus. This technique has substantial benefits over manual cleanup, because the utility gets hourly virus definition updates and can accurately spot even the newest Mac infections.

Furthermore, the automatic solution will find the core files of the malware deep down the system structure, which might otherwise be a challenge to locate. Here’s a walkthrough to sort out the Tapsnake issue using Combo Cleaner:

  1. Download Combo Cleaner installer. When done, double-click the combocleaner.dmg file and follow the prompts to install the tool onto your Mac.

    Download Combo Cleaner

    By downloading any applications recommended on this website you agree to our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy. The free scanner checks whether your Mac is infected. To get rid of malware, you need to purchase the Premium version of Combo Cleaner.

  2. Open the app from your Launchpad and let it run the update of malware signature database to make sure it can identify the latest threats.
  3. Click the Start Combo Scan button to check your Mac for malicious activity as well as performance issues.

    Combo Cleaner Mac scan progress

  4. Examine the scan results. If the report says “No Threats”, then you are on the right track with the manual cleaning and can safely proceed to tidy up the web browser that may continue to act up due to the after-effects of the malware attack (see instructions above).

    Combo Cleaner scan report – no threats found

  5. In case Combo Cleaner has detected malicious code, click the Remove Selected Items button and have the utility remove Tapsnake threat along with any other viruses, PUPs (potentially unwanted programs), or junk files that don’t belong on your Mac.

    Combo Cleaner – threats found

  6. Once you have made doubly sure that the malicious app is uninstalled, the browser-level troubleshooting might still be on your to-do list. If your preferred browser is affected, resort to the previous section of this tutorial to revert to hassle-free web surfing.



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