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Remove ChillTAB Mac virus from Safari, Firefox, Chrome

Remove ChillTAB Mac virus from Safari, Firefox, Chrome


The post describes the Chill Tab virus issue affecting web browsers on Mac and provides instructions on removing the annoying redirects and popup alerts.

Update: May 2020

Threat Profile
Name Chill Tab fake browser hijacker
Category Mac adware, browser hijacker, redirect virus
Related domains search.chill-tab.com, tab.chill-tab.com
Detection -
Symptoms Redirects web browser to third-party websites, adds sponsored content to search results, causes system slowdown, resists regular removal
Distribution Techniques Malware-riddled app bundles, fake Adobe Flash Player update popups, spam
Severity Level Medium
Damage Unwanted changes of custom browsing settings, privacy issues due to Internet activity tracking, search redirects, redundant ads
Removal Scan your Mac with Combo Cleaner to detect all files related to the browser hijacker. Use the tool to remove the infection if found.

People are so concerned about privacy these days and can’t stand any interference with their personal space. This issue has partially migrated to the cyber world as the technology moves forward at a gigantic pace. How about one’s web browsing? This thing is intimate to the bone as it holds tons of personally identifiable information and numerous settings that also speak volumes about the user. The violation of these preferences is just as disconcerting as real-life privacy infringements. That's exactly what happens if the Chill Tab virus takes root on a Mac computer. It doesn’t bother asking for the admin’s approval when changing the most important online surfing defaults.

Search.chill-tab.com landing page

Tab.chill-tab.com, another spinoff of the adware hoax

In particular, the Chill Tab nuisance skews such custom browsing settings as the homepage, search and new tab page in Safari, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox on a Mac. In the upshot, the victim finds himself or herself in a wicked loop of constantly visiting the search.chill-tab.com or tab.chill-tab.com web page. Although either site is harmless in itself and appears to be some sort of a search provider, it would probably never make it to the user’s browsing history if it weren’t for a sneaky malware attack prior to the emergence of symptoms. This combo of a browser hijacker and persistent adware typically infiltrates Mac machines as part of application bundles. Because the presence of the baddie isn’t clearly disclosed by these installation wizards, people run the risk of unknowingly allowing the setup.

Browser mess caused by Chill Tab virus on Mac

The Chill Tab virus has gained notoriety for its extraordinary persistence and evasion techniques. The affected Mac users find it difficult to spot the associated malicious process in the Activity Monitor, and the unwanted item often hides its footprint from the browser extensions pane as well as the Applications path. It may show up there momentarily when the victim opens either one of these directories, only to mystically vanish right away. Even if found and deleted, which seems to be an instance of great luck, the pest keeps reinstalling itself under a different name to the ‘Users – Shared’ folder. These constant comebacks are a serious hurdle to fixing the problem. It turns out that Chill Tab meddles with what’s called configuration profiles on a Mac. This technique allows it to hinder removal and minimize the efficiency of tweaking the affected browser settings manually. Whilst device profiles are inherently a prerogative of IT teams who can thereby manage the behavior of Macs on the same enterprise network, adware operators have been exploiting this feature for malicious purposes for quite some time.

One more pitfall serious enough to make all Chill Tab victims frown is that the virus keeps track of their online activities. Most users are typically clueless about this shade of the threat because it isn’t manifested in the open. It takes a bit of in-depth observation to notice the tip of the privacy infringement iceberg. Both landing pages backed by this infection return Yahoo Search when you enter a keyword or phrase in them, and the results include ads that match your interests based on the recent browsing history. In fact, Chill Tab surreptitiously monitors which sites you visit, what kind of ecommerce information you look for, which Internet services you prefer, and many other fragments of online behavior that should stay private. This is a goldmine of data which, when compiled and thoroughly processed, allows the malware operators to conduct targeted marketing campaigns or even mastermind phishing attacks with a mind-blowing success rate.

In addition to the browser redirect activity that’s certainly noxious, the Chill Tab virus wreaks more havoc by generating popup notifications almost all the time. One of these is a recurrent dialog window recommending the user to install Chill Tab - whatever that should mean, given that the perpetrating program is already there anyway. This popup says, “Are you sure you want to install the extension Chill-Tab?” The culprit must be trying to add another unwanted helper object to Safari via this technique. Hopefully to no avail.

Another symptom is that Safari will be randomly starting up and displaying a popup that says, “Scanning for browser updates”. This will be followed by an onset of another window saying, “Your browser is now up to date!” Next, the user may see the above-mentioned request to install Chill Tab extension. Ultimately, this onslaught turns into an iterative display of nag screens mixed up with browser rerouting. Such a state of things, obviously, isn’t on any Mac user’s wish list, to put it mildly. The Chill Tab (search.chill-tab.com / tab.chill-tab.com) virus should be exterminated as soon as possible. The methodology of this cleanup is what the following sections will cover in detail.


Chill Tab 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 specified order.

  1. Expand the Go menu in your Mac’s Finder bar and select Utilities as shown below.

    Go to Utilities

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

    Select the Activity Monitor

  3. In the Activity Monitor app, look for Chill-Tab or another process that appears suspicious. To narrow down your search, focus on unfamiliar resource-intensive entries on the list. Keep in mind that its name isn’t necessarily related to the way the threat is manifesting itself, so you’ll need to trust your own judgement. If you pinpoint the culprit, select it and click on the Stop icon in the upper left-hand corner of the screen.

    Stop malicious process

  4. When a follow-up dialog pops up asking if you are sure you want to quit the troublemaking process, select the Force Quit option.

    Select the Force Quit option

  5. Click on the Go menu icon in the Finder again and select Go to Folder. You can as well use the Command-Shift-G keyboard shortcut.

    Use the Go to Folder feature

  6. Type /Library/LaunchAgents in the folder search dialog and click on the Go button.

    Open /Library/LaunchAgents folder

  7. Examine the contents of the LaunchAgents folder for dubious-looking items. The objects known to be associated with Chill Tab virus are as follows: tab.chill-tab.com.update.plist, tab.chill-tab.com.AppRemoval.plist, tab.chill-tab.com.download.plist, tab.chill-tab.com.ltvbit.plist, com.Tab.chill-tab.com.agent.plist, com.SoftwareUpdater.agent.plist.

    Be advised that the names of files spawned by malware may give no clear clues that they are malicious, so you should look for recently added entities that appear to deviate from the norm. As an illustration, here are several examples of LaunchAgents related to mainstream Mac infections: com.pcv.hlpramc.plist, com.updater.mcy.plist, com.avickUpd.plist, and com.msp.agent.plist. If you spot files that don’t belong on the list, go ahead and drag them to the Trash.

    Root-level LaunchAgents folder contents

  8. Use the Go to Folder lookup feature again to navigate to the folder named ~/Library/Application Support (note the tilde symbol prepended to the path).

    Open ~/Library/Application Support folder

  9. When the Application Support directory is opened, identify recently generated suspicious folders in it and send them to the Trash. A quick tip is to look for items whose names have nothing to do with Apple products or apps you knowingly installed. A few examples of known-malicious folder names are tab.chill-tab.com, SoftwareUpdater, and IdeaShared.

    Application Support folder contents

  10. Enter ~/Library/LaunchAgents string (don’t forget to include the tilde character) in the Go to Folder search area.

    Open ~/Library/LaunchAgents directory

  11. The system will display LaunchAgents residing in the current user’s Home directory. Look for dodgy items related to Chill Tab virus (see logic highlighted in subsections above) and drag the suspects to the Trash.

    Contents of LaunchAgents folder in user’s home directory

  12. Type /Library/LaunchDaemons in the Go to Folder search field.

    Go to /Library/LaunchDaemons

  13. In the LaunchDaemons path, try to pinpoint the files the malware is using for persistence. Several examples of such items cropped by Mac infections are com.pplauncher.plist, com.startup.plist, and com.ExpertModuleSearchDaemon.plist. Delete the sketchy files immediately.

    LaunchDaemons folder contents

  14. Click on the Go menu icon in your Mac’s Finder and select Applications on the list.

    Go to Applications screen on Mac

  15. Find the entry for Chill Tab (Chill-Tab) or another app that clearly doesn’t belong there and move it to the Trash. If this action requires your admin password for confirmation, go ahead and enter it.

    Drag malicious app to the Trash

  16. Expand the Apple menu and select System Preferences.

    Select System Preferences

    Open System Preferences

  17. Proceed to Users & Groups and click on the Login Items tab.

    Proceed to Users & Groups

    The system will display the list of items launched when the computer is starting up. Locate the potentially unwanted app there and click on the “-” (minus) button.

    Delete unwanted login item

  18. Now select Profiles under System Preferences. Look for a malicious item in the left-hand sidebar. Several examples of configuration profiles created by Mac adware include TechSignalSearch, MainSearchPlatform, AdminPrefs, and Chrome Settings. Select the offending entity and click on the minus sign at the bottom to eliminate it.

    Select Profiles under System Preferences

    Remove malicious configuration profile from Mac

    If your Mac has been infiltrated by adware, the infection will most likely continue to hold sway over your default web browser even after you remove the underlying application along with its components sprinkled around the system. Use the browser cleanup instructions below to address the remaining consequences of this attack.

Get rid of Chill Tab virus in web browser on Mac

To begin with, the web browser settings taken over by the Chill Tab 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 Chill Tab 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 Chill Tab 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 Chill Tab 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.

Use automatic tool to uninstall Chill Tab malware from your Mac

The Mac maintenance and security app called Combo Cleaner is a one-stop tool to detect and remove Chill Tab 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 Chill Tab 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 Chill Tab 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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