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Remove TapuFind virus (macappextensions) from Mac (Safari, Chrome, Firefox)


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: May 2020

Threat Profile
Name TapuFind (MacAppExtensions) browser hijacker
Category Mac adware, PUA, browser hijacker, redirect virus
IP Address 13.66.51.37
Related domains Search.tapufind.com, tab.tapufind.com
Symptoms Redirects web browser to Yahoo via third-party websites, adds sponsored content to search results, causes system slowdown, resists regular removal
Distribution Techniques Fake Adobe Flash Player update popups, malware-riddled app bundles, 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.

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.

Search.tapufind.com, the redirect destination promoted by TapuFind Mac virus

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.

TapuFind fake browser update popup

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. When processing a random request the victim enters in the search bar, the browsing session is forwarded to a Yahoo Hosted Search (YHS) page featuring Safe Finder, a known-malicious service involved in large-scale traffic reorganization foul play targeting Macs. 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 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 TapuFind, MacAppExtensions.app, 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 TapuFind virus are as follows: com.tapufind.plist and 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 TapuFind 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 TapuFind, MacAppExtensions, 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 TapuFind redirect virus in web browser on Mac

To begin with, the web browser settings taken over by the TapuFind redirect 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 TapuFind redirect 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 TapuFind redirect 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 TapuFind redirect 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 TapuFind redirect virus Mac using Combo Cleaner removal tool

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