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Microsoft AutoUpdate Required Data Notice popup virus removal for Mac

Microsoft AutoUpdate Required Data Notice popup virus removal for Mac


Find out what techniques are applicable to get rid of the Microsoft AutoUpdate Mac virus and associated annoying popups that deteriorate the user experience.

Update: April 2020

Threat Profile
Name Microsoft AutoUpdate (Required Data Notice) popup virus Mac
Category Mac adware, popup virus, potentially unwanted app
Symptoms Displays a bogus data collection notice, causes system slowdown
Distribution Techniques Booby-trapped app bundles, fake Adobe Flash Player update popups
Severity Level Medium
Damage Mac overheating due to high CPU usage, risk of identity theft
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 technology race is generally a favorable concept that calls forth progress at the end of the day. If different service providers didn’t have to compete with one another, there would be less motivation for them to excel in their industries and create top-notch products better than someone else’s. This permanent state of contest doesn’t mean war, though. The interaction between Apple and Microsoft is a good example. One of the areas where the corporations’ activities overlap is their proprietary products. Lots of Mac fans use Microsoft Office, OneDrive, Skype and other solutions every single day. There are versions of these suites that support macOS, which is a perfectly understandable move by the Redmond-based tech giant that tries to expand its audience. Is everything going smooth in this regard? Not really. The recent influx of negative feedback over what’s called the Microsoft AutoUpdate Mac virus has really been the talk of the town since at least mid-July 2019. In fact, this issue was first brought up years ago, but it seems to have reached a critical threshold this month.

Microsoft AutoUpdate Required Data Notice popup

Normally, the Microsoft AutoUpdate tool runs silently in the background and performs its routine job to make sure the person uses the latest builds of MS products. It streamlines the way the appropriate updates are rolled out and installed on Mac machines, with the goal being to make the software fine-tuning process hassle-free and seamless. The problem that’s currently affecting Mac users on a large scale has to do with popups supposedly generated by this trustworthy service. In particular, these alerts may read “Required Data Notice”. The contents of this notification seem to be aligned with the recent release of a new AutoUpdate variant for Macs. It is known to request optional diagnostic data so that the vendor can improve the way its applications operate in the macOS environment. Some people might dislike this tactic, but it’s nothing new for major companies.

The legit Microsoft AutoUpdate.app is easy to spot on Mac

This relatively benign situation can be observed in two cases: if any Microsoft product is currently running on the Mac, or even if the user has previously leveraged one and uninstalled it but the cleanup wasn’t thorough enough. The latter is, obviously, an inconsistency in itself, and yet it’s quite common. If the AutoUpdate (MAU2.0) tool is redundant, it can be safely deleted from /Library/Application Support/Microsoft path to make the noxious popups vanish for good. The detailed instructions are provided further down. There could be a much more serious caveat in this whole story, though.

The dark side of this matter boils down to cybercriminals’ involvement with this controversial data collection initiative. The alerts mentioned above could stem from the shenanigans of the Microsoft AutoUpdate Mac virus. It is a piece of malicious code that triggers the popup dialogs impersonating Microsoft’s legit service. There is a fundamental difference between the objectives and the impact in the two scenarios. If it’s malware that causes these warning messages to appear, then the goal is to forward the unsuspecting Mac users to a phishing page that asks for sensitive information, including their name, address, and credit card details. Notice that Microsoft is collecting purely technical diagnostic data, nothing more than that. The malefactors simply mimic the genuine popup request to take advantage of the actual software maker’s reputation and thereby instill trust in the victims to perform identity theft.

Another side effect of the crooks’ pranks is the abnormal CPU consumption that accompanies the alerts. The Mac may slow down to a crawl or even freeze and reboot. Lots of victims have been reporting the Required Data Notice popup waking up their MacBook laptops even when the lid is closed, which is absolutely unacceptable for a regular interaction scenario between a service provider and a user. To top it off, the affected machine’s fan gets very noisy as it starts running at maximum speed to cool down the hardware. The quirk may last for hours if the glitch occurs, say, at night. Clicking the OK button actually dismisses the notification in most cases and saves the processing unit from permanently maxing out its resources, but the same thing tends to happen again after a while. This may entail a hardware failure in the long run. Furthermore, the quandary doesn’t seem to make sense to numerous affected users because they have no Microsoft products installed on their Macs in the first place. All of this havoc is definitely subject to immediate troubleshooting. Below is a step-by-step guide to completely remove the Microsoft AutoUpdate virus from Mac.


Microsoft AutoUpdate virus manual removal for Mac

The steps listed below will walk you through the removal of this unwanted 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 a suspicious-looking entry that doesn’t belong there, select it and click Quit Process
  4. A dialog should pop up, asking if you are sure you would like to quit the bad executable. 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 entries in it and move them to Trash:
    • com.microsoft.update.agent.plist
  8. Use the Go to Folder lookup feature again to navigate to the folder named ~/Library/LaunchAgents. When this path opens, look for the following entries and send them to Trash
    • com.microsoft.autoupdate.helper.plist
  9. Similarly, go to the ~Library/Application Support and ~Library/Application Support folders. Locate and move the following entries to Trash:
    • Microsoft/MAU2.0/Microsoft AutoUpdate.app
    • Microsoft AU Daemon
  10. Click the Go button again, but this time select Applications on the list. Find the entry for the potential infection on the interface, right-click on it and select Move to Trash. If user password is required, go ahead and enter it

    Malware’s icon under Applications

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

    Pick the System Preferences

  12. 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 the culprit there and click on the “-“ button

    roublemaking entry under Login Items


Get rid of Microsoft AutoUpdate virus in web browser on Mac

To begin with, the web browser settings taken over by the Microsoft AutoUpdate 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 Microsoft AutoUpdate 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 Microsoft AutoUpdate 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 Microsoft AutoUpdate 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 Microsoft AutoUpdate virus from your Mac

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