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Remove Chrome Security Update virus from Mac

Remove Chrome Security Update virus from Mac


This is a hands-on tutorial covering the Chrome Security Update virus Mac issue and an effective method to remove it from an infected system and web browser.

When cyber threats targeting macOS – or rather Mac OS X back in the day – splashed onto the scene, no one could foresee the breadth and depth of their future impact. Nowadays, a bevy of different e-nasties are out there waiting to be installed onto Apple’s machines. Adware, scareware, and even ransomware are gaining momentum in this area that used to be thought of as ultimately safe. The types of harmful code focused on Macs are fairly versatile, and so are the distribution tricks behind them. One of the recent campaigns demonstrates a particularly treacherous method of delivering sketchy software. It circles around fake Chrome Security Update alerts appearing on a dodgy web page tailor-made to fit the context of an effective social engineering scam.

Chrome Security Update Mac virus alert

Malicious actors in charge of this malvertising wave combine their tactic with shades of compromise and impersonation relating to a web development tool called HTTP Headers. This extension is available on Chrome Web Store. It allows devs to view and inspect HTTP header information for page requests, scrutinize cookies submitted by remote sites, and do quite a few other useful things. The gray facet of this matter is that crooks mimic the original extension and use its good reputation as a decoy for distributing malware. Some analytic reports suggest that the benign prototype was hacked and modified. One way or another, the logic of the unethical promotion in this scenario is all about the Chrome Security Update warning hosted at modifyheader.github.io website. Whereas the phony notification feigns authenticity as it includes a large Chrome logo, it provides no further details on what complementary protection the update will bring.

A particularly noxious aspect is that Mac users go through a series of browser redirects due to the involvement of adware that runs on their systems. The potentially unwanted application (PUA) causes the victim’s traffic to run through the following URLs as part of the ruse:

  • secredbleakparticles--oguresendere.repl.co
  • dotcmscheck.xyz
  • devhttpheaders.com
  • redire.xyz

This complex network of interrelated domains is engaged without any prior consent of the user, nor is there a conspicuous manifestation of the overhauled preferences. The skewed settings are likely to be in effect because the underlying infection creates a device profile that manages certain aspects of the browser behavior.

Popup ad promoting the /storage/Chrome-Security/Fake Chrome Security Update

One of the upshots of this interference is that the information in the Chrome address bar can be misrepresented. This way, the spoofed Chrome Security Update page may appear to be shown on another site the victim is currently viewing, not necessarily on modifyheader.github.io. Because the URL looks trustworthy, the message may instill more confidence in the unsuspecting Mac user and thereby increase the odds of downloading and applying the sketchy update. The final point of the multi-pronged rerouting is the HTTP Headers extension page on Chrome Web Store. Visitors may think it delivers the security enhancement so persistently pushed through the recurring alerts, and therefore some may keep clicking to install it. The dialog accompanying this process says the add-on can “read and change all your data on the websites you visit”.

Potentially unwanted app pushed by bogus Chrome Security Update warning

Although this type of privilege is the norm in the present-day extension ecosystem, it can be a source of privacy issues if mishandled by a malicious helper object such as the one in question. Its operators probably don’t mind harvesting the details of the victim’s Internet navigation, including search history, usernames and passwords, as well as credit card information. Furthermore, the fact that the browser is being incessantly forwarded to the fake Chrome Security Update page is a serious concern per se. It means that the Mac has adware that’s holding sway over the user’s web surfing patterns.

The need to address this double trouble without delay is out of the question. In this regard, it’s worth emphasizing that the PUA behind the annoying redirects may plague Safari and Mozilla Firefox in a similar way. The only restriction is that the victim, obviously, cannot add the booby-trapped extension to either one of these browsers at a later point of the exploitation. So, tackling the problem is more complex than cleaning up Google Chrome settings alone. The guide below highlights the full removal procedure that helps achieve the expected overarching results.


Chrome Security Update 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 a 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 UtilityParse, ProgressMatch, SystemSpecial, 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 Chrome Security Update 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 an 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 Chrome Security Update virus in web browser on Mac

To begin with, the web browser settings taken over by the Chrome Security Update 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 Chrome Security Update 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 Chrome Security Update 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 Chrome Security Update 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 Chrome Security Update virus using Combo Cleaner removal tool

The Mac maintenance and security app called Combo Cleaner is a one-stop tool to detect and remove Chrome Security Update 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 Chrome Security Update 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 Chrome Security Update 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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