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Remove IdeaShared 1.0 virus app from Mac (MacBook Air/Pro, iMac)

With the IdeaShared Mac adware wave gearing up for a rise, it’s important to know how the unwanted app affects computers and how to remove it for good.

Update: May 2020

If an app called IdeaShared (or Idea Shared 1.0) appears in a Mac machine’s Dock all of a sudden, this is a telltale sign of an adware attack that requires urgent countermeasures. Although this dubious software claims to add quality to one’s web browsing routine in general and online search activities in particular, most victims don’t even get a chance to familiarize themselves with these fictitious features. This is because the IdeaShared adware infiltrates Macs without the users’ permission. Whereas it mainly focuses on twisting one’s web browsing preferences to cause unwanted redirects and misrepresent website content, there is a broader scope of impact hidden in plain sight. The infection takes a growingly common route of affecting a host system at the level of admin privileges. The logic of this technique is to add a configuration profile in Users & Groups subsection of System Preferences, which allows the shady program to control a range of Mac settings and override the ones defined by the user.

IdeaShared icon in the Applications screen is a wakeup call Mac users should take seriously

This application uses a green icon with a white magnifying glass in it, which has become sort of a unique label of this quickly growing PUA family. When on board, the extension added by IdeaShared to Safari, Chrome or Firefox displays annoying popup alerts, injects unwanted ads into pages, and redirects the victim’s web traffic to phony search engines. In some scenarios, the pest may recurrently forward the browser to legit providers such as Yahoo or Bing, even if none of these is the user’s default choice. The infected user is also likely to encounter irritating notifications saying “Installation complete… The configuration process is done” that seem to pop up randomly in Safari and interrupt the Internet surfing sessions off and on. These dialogs contain an OK button which supposedly finishes the process the user never actually started. It turns out, this is a way for IdeaShared to cloak additional downloads of associated adware. This explains why people who fall victim to a single specimen from this particular PUA lineage end up discovering a few more knockoffs on their Macs down the road.

The newer variants of IdeaShared litter around the system by dumping opportunistic malware such as derivatives of the Safe Finder browser hijacker family. This is a long-standing strain that runs the gamut from maintaining extraordinary persistence on Macs to managing the way the victims’ web browser behaves. Once this scenario kicks in, the browser will be forcibly forwarded to a Yahoo Hosted Search landing page via auxiliary URLs, typically ones from the range. The latter has been a major headache for Mac users for years due to its involvement in some of the biggest adware outbreaks across the board. Technically, the hijack stems from an unauthorized replacement of the basic browsing settings, including the default search engine and the homepage. The objective of this overhaul is to generate revenue by mishandling unique web traffic.

It’s worth emphasizing that the IdeaShared virus and its “cousins” mostly arrive in freeware bundles. It means Mac users unwittingly opt for the installation of the baddie which is cloaked underneath the “recommended”, or “express” setup mode. Therefore, exercising a bit of extra caution in such situations can thwart these adware attacks – most of the time, it suffices to pick the “custom” install option and then deselect the unwanted items that will be listed there. In case the dodgy app has slithered its way into your Mac, be advised that regular uninstall attempts are usually futile – the adware will shortly reappear under a different name. As previously mentioned, it creates a new device profile that underlies its persistence. The steps below will help eradicate it completely and revert to normal web browsing. 

IdeaShared app 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 IdeaShared (Idea Shared 1.0) 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. 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 SystemSpecial, ProgressSite 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 IdeaShared 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 IdeaShared 1.0 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 IdeaShared virus in web browser on Mac

To begin with, the web browser settings taken over by the IdeaShared 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 IdeaShared 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 IdeaShared 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 IdeaShared 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 IdeaShared virus using Combo Cleaner automatic removal tool

The Mac maintenance and security app called Combo Cleaner is a one-stop tool to detect and remove IdeaShared 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 IdeaShared 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 an update of the 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 IdeaShared 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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