The subject matter of this article is TapuFind, a Mac virus that displays irritating popups, redirects browsers, and hence should be removed without more ado.
Update: November 2019
The TapuFind Mac virus is yet another unwelcome echo from the Download Valley, the ill-famed syndicate of Israeli firms that have been coining adware threats for years. These companies can only be considered legit by the slimmest of margins, given their shady software distribution practices and the aggressive way their digital products behave. And yet, this adverse phenomenon appears to be here to stay and continues to thrive at the expense of regular users’ peace of mind. The applet in question, TapuFind, is a combo of adware and browser hijacker as it displays misleading alerts in the victim’s web browser and forwards the traffic to its landing pages. These include search.tapufind.com and tab.tapufind.com – the former replacing the infected Mac user’s default search provider, and the latter being imposed as the new tab page. Both are designed to look like a regular web search service but they return Yahoo Search custom results instead of their own. Importantly, this perpetrating app is doing the rounds by means of bundling, so it’s always worthwhile to scrutinize setup clients when you are about to install new programs. If any extra items are there, deselect them at once.
From a functional perspective, this malicious code bears a close resemblance to the ChillTab virus. It spreads in a similar fashion and causes pretty much the same side effects on contaminated Macs. Moreover, the vendor’s address, which is indicated in the landing page footers of both of these malicious services, is an exact match. The attack proper is a multilayered process. Aside from the redirect activity, one of the abominable impacts has to do with fake popup alerts that appear in the affected browser. These splash screens say, “Your browser is now up to date” and thus pretend to notify the victim of a successful installation of new features in Safari, Google Chrome, or Mozilla Firefox. The trick is that the user is prompted to click the OK button on the manipulative ad, which is likely to fire up another download of random harmful software onto the Mac.
One more flagrant element of the onslaught is the traffic interception activity. The TapuFind virus runs with admin privileges, because it’s coded that way. Meanwhile, the targeted Mac user is never asked for permission to grant these elevated rights on the machine, which is per se a clear sign of malware behavior. Such a tactic allows the infection to make changes to the victim’s web surfing presets while bypassing their consent altogether. This is how it succeeds in replacing the preferred search engine, new tab page and homepage with search.tapufind.com or tab.tapufind.com. As a result, the web navigation routine will be nearly isolated to visiting the unwanted site over and over. To add insult to injury, the rogue browser update popups described above will be further diminishing the user’s online experience. Ultimately, TapuFind ends up dominating the whole Internet navigation on the plagued Mac and prevents the victim from reverting to the correct configuration via the regular mechanisms.
TapuFind virus removal, though, is manageable as long as you leverage a tandem of several cleaning vectors. Be sure to follow the tips below to get rid of the nasty browser hijacker and keep it from reinstalling itself. Before you proceed, bear in mind that in some cases the culprit may not be listed in the Applications pane, unlike benign Mac software. Instead, most of its core components might reside in the /Users/Shared directory. These entities are manifested as multiple folders named according to the following pattern: App_[random string]. Interestingly, the gibberish long character sequences in the names of these items make them easy to identify, so that’s kind of good news in terms of the fix. Each one of these folders contains an entry called MacAppExtensions.app. This is a critical file accompanying the TapuFind hijack. It executes the nasty browser poisoning routine and additionally plays a role in the persistence of this threat by meddling with the startup items on the host Mac. Therefore, don’t fail to find and delete this object as part of the cleaning procedure.
TapuFind redirect 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 TapuFind 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
- Click the Go button again, but this time select Applications on the list. Find the entry for TapuFind on the interface or some other one that clearly doesn’t belong there, 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 TapuFind or other potentially unwanted macappextensions there and click on the “-“ button
- 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 entries in it and move them to 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 entry (see above) and send it to the Trash.
Get rid of search.tapufind.com / tab.tapufind.com redirect virus in web browser on Mac
To begin with, settings for the web browser that got hit by the TapuFind redirect virus 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 TapuFind redirect virus Mac using Freshmac removal tool
When confronted with malicious code like the TapuFind redirect 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 TapuFind redirect infection from Mac.
- 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 search.tapufind.com / tab.tapufind.com redirect problem 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 TapuFind redirect virus shouldn’t be causing any further trouble.
TapuFind is a highly persistent Mac infection whose primary goal is browser takeover. This activity fully contradicts the ‘official’ facet of the app, which is marketed as a powerful web search enhancement service. In fact, most victims don’t even have a chance to examine its purported features because it infiltrates computers without their knowledge and approval.
Whereas installation behind the scenes is a giveaway big enough to categorize TapuFind as a virus, adware, or PUA (potentially unwanted application), there are plenty of other characteristics that leave no room for doubt regarding its malicious gist. The application replaces a victim’s preferred search engine and new tab page with search.tapufind.com and tab.tapufind.com, respectively. Although these landing pages aren’t identical, they both resemble a garden-variety search provider. However, whatever keyword you enter, the results will be returned via Yahoo Search. The operators of this fraud, evidently, generate some kind of affiliate revenue this way.
The infection undermines the victim’s experience in one more way. It promotes other PUAs by means of rogue popup alerts about a browser update. This way, the user is duped into opting for the fake update, which is another malicious program in disguise. Yet another serious concern is that TapuFind is problematic to delete as long as the user goes the well-trodden standard uninstall route. It drops a component called “MacAppExtensions.app” that adds an extra layer of obstinacy to the browser hijacker. All of these hideous features, combined with the fact that TapuFind harvests details about one’s web surfing habits, make it an app that should be removed without a second thought.
If you think you can dodge this browser hijack by simply removing the respective browser extension, TapuFind will prove you wrong. It causes a more overarching impact, leaving a footprint in macOS operation overall. Therefore, to prevent Safari from being redirected to search.tapufind.com and tab.tapufind.com, the fix should start beyond the browser itself.
First, go into the Activity Monitor, Applications, and Login Items and look for the entries related to the virus. Furthermore, navigate to Library/LaunchAgents and ~Library/LaunchAgents folders and check them for items that may be associated with TapuFind (see tutorial above for detailed steps). Whatever you find should be dragged to the Trash. Make sure you also go to the /Users/Shared folder and look for directories containing an entity called “MacAppExtensions” or “MacAppExtensions.app”. Delete these ones without hesitation.
Now that the underlying infection has been eliminated, you can finally implement the troubleshooting in Safari. Start by going to the browser’s Extensions pane. Locate TapuFind or other suspicious item with a random-looking name. Disable and remove the perpetrating extension. Restart Safari and see if the issue has been fixed.
If there are no more redirects, you are good to go. In case Safari keeps acting up, though, you should additionally empty caches and clear history to remove all website data. This procedure will log you out of personal accounts and wipe other personalized settings, and yet it is an effective way of stopping malicious activity in the browser.