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Remove feed.chunckapp.com redirect virus from Safari, Chrome, Firefox on Mac

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.

Update: September 2021

Threat Profile
Name Feed Chunk App redirect virus
Category Mac adware, browser hijacker
IP 13.94.252.251
Related Domains feed.chunckapp.com, search.chunckapp.com, search.safefinder.com
Symptoms Redirects Safari, Chrome, and Firefox to search.safefinder.com and search.yahoo.com, adds sponsored content to search results, causes system slowdown
Distribution Freeware bundles, torrents, booby-trapped software updates, misleading popup ads, 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 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.

Feed Chunk App virus promotes the infamous Safe Finder service

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.

Device profile forcing redirects through feed.chunckapp.com

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 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 Feed Chunk 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. 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 UtilityParze, 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 Feed Chunk App redirect 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 Feed Chunk App 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 Safari 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 Feed Chunk App virus in web browser on Mac

To begin with, the web browser settings taken over by the Feed Chunk App 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 Feed Chunk App 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 Feed Chunk App 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 Feed Chunk App 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 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:

  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 Feed Chunk App 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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