The adware oldie called Feed Chunk App has staged a comeback in a large-scale Mac campaign, so here’s how to remove it from an infected system for good.
The genre of browser hijacking continues to dominate the landscape of Mac threats. Not only are the numerous web configuration-twisting threats backed by hefty distribution waves, but they are also becoming more adept at escalating their privileges on infected hosts than they used to be. Feed Chunk App is a classic example of how hybrid and tightly interrelated these PUAs (potentially unwanted applications) can get. Portraying itself as a web search enhancement and a kind of news digest tool, this application does quite the opposite and deteriorates a Mac user’s online experience instead. Once inside, it establishes persistence by creating a spoof device profile that automatically manages the victim’s web navigation activities and hampers regular troubleshooting. Specifically, it replaces the default search engine and homepage in Safari, Google Chrome, or Mozilla Firefox with feed.chunckapp.com or sometimes search.chunckapp.com string. Notice the extra “c” letter in the URL that deviates from the spelling of the underlying app’s name.
The major after-effect of this settings distortion is that the Mac user is unable to run web searches with their preferred provider, nor can the victim get the right start page to be visited when launching the browser of choice. Every instance of redirecting to feed.chunckapp.com is certainly a nuisance in itself, but it typically cross-promotes yet another nasty service known as Safe Finder. The latter is a long-running Mac virus whose propagation has been fueled by massive amounts of fraudulent traffic and a plethora of booby-trapped software installers. Here’s how the tandem works: the hijacked browser constantly executes a predefined rerouting process that makes the victim go to feed.chunckapp.com first, and from there the navigation path is instantly forwarded to search.safefinder.com. Quite predictably for a junk provider bolstered by adware, the resulting page further thrusts all keyword queries toward custom Yahoo Search pages rather than returning results of its own.
All in all, this tangled scheme pursues a typical traffic redistribution objective with Feed Chunk App virus as its driving force. A really unnerving thing is that the user is pulled into the malicious actors’ dirty game without the slightest shade of consent. To infiltrate a Mac computer, the unwelcome application uses a trick as old as the adware industry itself. It tailgates into the system under a smokescreen of another program, possibly a benign one such as a media player or an Adobe Flash update. In other words, this is a bundling scenario where the perpetrating entity is part of a multi-pronged installation client that deliberately obfuscates the real structure of the package. The user clicks through the installer without a second thought, only to unwittingly approve the setup of several apps instead of a single one that’s clearly manifested.
It’s worth pointing out that the shady “dispatching” site, feed.chunckapp.com, may appear in the browser’s status bar only momentarily until the adware operators’ coveted monetization service search.safefinder.com is resolved. There might be a few extra domains in transit that denote advertising networks. The malefactors use these entities to rake in their profits by trading the intercepted unique traffic. The victims who realize that something is totally wrong with their web surfing preferences and dig a bit deeper will promptly discover the root cause: the dodgy URL turns out to be hard-coded in the search and homepage defaults. These settings cannot be edited via the commonplace logic. That’s because the above-mentioned configuration profile is in effect and its grip applies to the misrepresented settings. In some cases, a new extension called Feed Chunk App is listed among the installed browser add-ons, but again, it’s blocked from all disabling and removal efforts.
Under the circumstances, the virus removal procedure is futile unless the user deletes the device profile as part of the repair. Read the following sections of this article to find out how to overcome the persistence of this virus and revert to normal web browsing. When it comes to avoiding threats like this one further on, the tip of the day is to refrain from downloading and installing apps off of unofficial software hubs. Plus, always explore the full composition of installation clients by deselecting their default, or express, option. Consider discontinuing the setup if there are additional entities under the same harmless-looking hood.
Feed Chunk App 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 a process named Feed Chunk, Feed Chunk App, or Safe Finder, 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 Feed Chunk, Feed Chunk App, or Safe Finder entry on the interface, 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 computer is started up. Locate Feed Chunk App, SmartSignalSearch, or other potentially unwanted object there, select it, there and click on the “-“ button
Get rid of feed.chunckapp.com redirects in web browser on Mac
To begin with, settings for the web browser that got hit by the 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, 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.
- Reset Mozilla Firefox
- Open Firefox and select Help – Troubleshooting Information
- On the page that opened, click the Reset Firefox button
Get rid of Feed Chunk App virus using Combo Cleaner removal tool
The Mac maintenance and security app called Combo Cleaner is a one-stop tool to detect and remove Feed Chunk App 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 Feed Chunk App issue using Combo Cleaner:
- Download Combo Cleaner installer. When done, double-click the combocleaner.dmg file and follow the prompts to install the tool onto your Mac.
- 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.
- Click the Start Combo Scan button to check your Mac for malicious activity as well as performance issues.
- 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).
- In case Combo Cleaner has detected malicious code, click the Remove Selected Items button and have the utility remove Feed Chunk App threat along with any other viruses, PUPs (potentially unwanted programs), or junk files that don’t belong on your Mac.
- 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.