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How to remove Maftask virus process from Mac [Nov 2019]

How to remove Maftask virus process from Mac [Nov 2019]

This post provides details on the malicious Mac process called Maftask (Maf-Task), explains what it has to do with Spchlpr, Hlpradc, hiprade, helperamc and helpermcp viruses, and includes removal steps.

Update: November 2019

Threat Profile
Name Mac Auto Fixer fake system utility
Category Mac scareware, rogue system cleaner
Malicious process name Maftask
Detection Avast: MacOS:AMC-DK [PUP], BitDefender: Adware.MAC.Generic.12496, ESET: A Variant Of OSX/GT32SupportGeeks.B, Microsoft: PUA:MacOS/AMCleaner.B!MTB, Sophos: AdvancedMacCleaner (PUA), Symantec: OSX.Trojan.Gen.2
Symptoms Displays misleading scan reports and follow-up alerts, deteriorates system performance, redirects web browser to unwanted sites
Distribution Techniques Freeware bundles, torrents, booby-trapped software updates, misleading popup ads, spam
Severity Level Medium
Damage Mac slowdown, obtrusive alerts, privacy issues due to Internet activity tracking, browser redirects, redundant online 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.

Underestimating the capabilities and complexity of Mac malware is a slippery slope. The threat actors who zero in on the Apple ecosystem are becoming increasingly tech-savvy, and their malicious code can assume different shapes to evade detection and prevent termination. Mac Auto Fixer, one of the fairly sophisticated samples from that category, injects its tentacles deep inside a host system and sprinkles concomitant files and processes in order to persevere. Some victims fail to notice these extra fragments of the infection, but those who look for them typically spot an executable file named “maftask” or "maf-task". It is listed among the running processes in the contaminated Mac’s Activity Monitor, and another entry “com.techyutil.maftask.plist” is going to end up in the LaunchDaemons.

So, the actual culprit’s name is Mac Auto Fixer, and it’s embodied on the system level as the Maftask process – no wonder some users refer to the latter as the troublemaker. The conspicuously misbehaving application is a mix of a rogue optimization tool and pseudo security software. It pretends to find a bevy of macOS performance issues as well as privacy and malware problems, thus attempting to persuade the victim that purchasing its license is certainly on their to-do list. It boasts sleek GUI design and triggers trustworthy-looking system scans over and over.

The reports enumerate hundreds of items that should supposedly be deleted or fixed at once, including duplicates, unnecessary login items, failed downloads and memory issues. To top it all off, the Maftask virus will state there is too little available space left and urge the user to have memory released in one click.

The pseudo scanning activity of Mac Auto Fixer (Maf-task) malware is accompanied by numerous popups that further pressure the user into taking immediate action. The alerts typically mention the number of threats and issues spotted in specific system areas and recommend the victim to sort them all out by registering the full version of the program. The infection can also impact the web surfing facet of Mac usage by rerouting traffic to spoof warning pages. Long story short, Maftask deploys a great deal of brainwashing to dupe and intimidate the owner of the infected computer into coughing up a registration fee. Therefore, following those annoying prompts is a bad idea because most of the problems are phony and the only real adversary is the alleged Mac performance booster itself.

Another massive surge of Maftask infections after the original outbreak of the Mac Auto Fixer malware took root in early October 2019 and has been a consistently serious concern ever since. According to the victims’ reports, this twist in the dodgy campaign is accompanied by malicious activity of the following processes:

  • hlpradc
  • spchlpr
  • hiprade
  • helperamc
  • helpermcp
  • ummhlpr
  • sspchlpr
  • APMHelper
  • smbstrhlpr
  • MapsAndDirections-1668307
  • ProntoApp
  • WebSocketServerApp
  • FocusReportingService
  • CellularService
  • EasyConverter-955179
  • freeForm-959837
  • macalive
  • tonictasks
  • mohip

The main symptom is an emergence of popup alerts saying, maftask will damage your computer. You should move it to the Trash”, where the name of the perpetrating executable can be either one of the five above-mentioned harmful processes (“[harmful process name] will damage your computer”). By the way, Spchlpr is the name of the binary used by Similar Photo Cleaner, a notorious fake optimization tool for Mac.

It’s worth mentioning that all of these incidents have one thing in common: they co-occur with an upgrade to macOS Catalina 10.15, the latest release of the operating system. These alerts may be a response of the brand-new macOS version to the viruses that ran undetected prior to the installation of Catalina on pre-infected computers. The good news is that Apple appears to be improving the malware identification features of their platform, but the infected users are stuck with the annoying alerts anyway.

The Maftask virus penetrates into a Mac by means of tricky installation clients. Their nasty gist boils down to combining benign apps with harmful ones under a single umbrella. The regular program is the only one clearly indicated in the setup wizard, while the Mac Auto Fixer baddie lurks down in its settings that you have to spend time toggling. In summary, Maftask is a component of a dangerous and obnoxious Mac scareware, so it should be treated accordingly. Continue reading this entry to learn how to remove the pest.

Maftask malware manual removal for Mac

The steps listed below will walk you through the removal of this potentially unwanted 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 the entry for maftask, select it and click Quit Process

• A dialog should pop up, asking if you are sure you would like to quit the maftask executable. Select the Force Quit option

• Click the Go button again, but this time select Applications on the list. Find the entry for Maftask 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 Maftask / Mac Auto Fixer there and click on the “-“ button

Use automatic tool to uninstall Maftask virus from your Mac

When confronted with malicious code like the Maftask virus 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 Maftask infection.

1. 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.

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2. 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.

3.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 tto remove junk files and address privacy issues spotted during the scan.

4. Check whether the Maftask issue 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.

5. Go to Temp and Startup Apps panes on the interface and have all redundant or suspicious items eliminated as well. The Maftask malware shouldn’t be causing any further trouble.



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