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Remove com.apple.tcc permissions abusing virus on Mac

Remove com.apple.tcc permissions abusing virus on Mac

Explore the issue where Mac malware mishandles the com.apple.tcc directory to play a privileges escalation trick and thereby take root in the host system.

As a foreword, it’s worth pointing something out: ideally, a Mac user should never really be concerned about the entity called com.apple.tcc; moreover, most people have no idea what it is and what its purpose is. This is understandable, given that this is the name of a folder located within /Library/Application Support path that retains, among other things, an object named TCC.db, which is an SQLite database underlying a number of important system-wide preferences. Specifically, it defines Security & Privacy as well as Accessibility settings on a Mac computer.

An additional wiki facet of the matter is as follows: first introduced with the OS X 10.9 Mavericks release in 2013, TCC stands for Transparency, Consent, and Control. Having evolved all the way to the current macOS 10.15 Catalina, it is Apple’s longstanding implementation of a mechanism for users to grant and restrict permissions to their private data. Originally tasked with managing the scope of third-party applications’ access to sensitive information, this service can also be an instrument for cybercriminals to piggyback on while achieving their malicious objectives.

There are a few strong reasons why com.apple.tcc is a Pandora’s Box malefactors may want to break open. Potentially unwanted applications such as adware and fake system cleaners can cause the most damage if they gain a foothold in a system far beyond regular software activity. For instance, ads fraudulently injected into web pages pull the right strings as long as they are targeted. To be able to display ecommerce information aligned with the victim’s interests and previous Internet searches, the infection has to collect these details behind the scenes – and it will fail to do it without the appropriate privileges. By furtively misconfiguring the contents of TCC.db file inside com.apple.tcc folder, the harmful program can get these elevated permissions in a snap. This attack vector is also a way to bypass System Integrity Protection (SIP), a macOS security feature designed to safeguard system-critical files and paths against unauthorized tweaks.

A virus called macOS Bundlore is one of the notorious threats relying on this exact technique. Propagating by means of shady downloads and spoof Flash Player updates, it silently infiltrates a Mac computer and establishes persistence by circumventing SIP defenses and altering TCC.db database. These shady changes allow the culprit to interfere with browser behavior and download additional malware onto the plagued host. Speaking of the latter impact, the Bundlore nasty connects to a Command and Control (C2) server and downloads an ad-sprinkling app such as MyCouponsmart or MyShopcoupon. When the secondary payload is executed, it goes a well-trodden route of spammy ad delivery. To this end, it harnesses the permissions obtained by Bundlore to embed offensive JavaScript code in Safari, Chrome, or Firefox.

Normally, the com.apple.tcc folder pictogram has a “do not enter” sign in its right-hand bottom corner. It means it’s not accessible by the user, which is a measure to thwart unintended modifications that may cause unpredictable malfunctions and distort the current set of application privileges. However, modern backdoors and Mac viruses such as the above-mentioned Bundlore can get around this access restriction logic. Therefore, if you go to /Library/Application Support and see that the com.apple.tcc folder has no red sign icon, this may be a breadcrumb leading to malware foul play. If this is the case, be sure to apply a security procedure that will help identify the infection and get rid of it.

Uninstall Mac malware escalating its privileges via com.apple.tcc tweaks

The steps listed below will walk you through the removal of the malicious application. Be sure to follow the instructions in the order specified.

  1. Open up the Utilities folder as shown below

  2. Locate the Activity Monitor icon on the screen and double-click on it

  3. Under Activity Monitor, find a process named MyCouponsmart, MyShopcoupon or other suspicious-looking process, select it and click Quit Process
  4. A dialog should pop up, asking if you are sure you would like to quit the troublemaking process. Select the Force Quit option
  5. Click the Go button again, but this time select Applications on the list. Find the adware on the interface, right-click on it and select Move to Trash. If user password is required, go ahead and enter it

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

  7. Select Accounts and click the Login Items button. The system will come up with the list of the items that launch when the computer is started up. Locate MyCouponsmart, MyShopcoupon or other potentially unwanted object there and click on the “-“ button

Get rid of unwanted ads and redirects in web browser on Mac

To begin with, settings for the web browser that got hit by this virus should be restored to their default values. The overview of steps for this procedure is as follows:

  1. 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.
  2. Reset Google Chrome
    • Open Chrome, click the More (⁝) icon in the top right-hand part of the window, and select Settings in the drop-down
    • When on the Settings pane, select Advanced
    • Scroll down to the Reset settings section. Under the Restore settings to their original defaults option, click the Reset settings button

    • 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.
  3. Reset Mozilla Firefox
    • Open Firefox and select Help – Troubleshooting Information
    • On the page that opened, click the Reset Firefox button

Get rid of com.apple.tcc abusing virus using Freshmac removal tool

When confronted with malicious code like macOS Bundlore, 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 Player Location Check infection from Mac.

  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

    Download Now

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

  4. Check whether the redirect and ad-injection problems have been fixed. If they persevere, 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 virus parasitizing com.apple.tcc privileges shouldn’t be causing any further trouble.
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