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Adobe Genuine Service Alert removal from Mac

Learn how to disable Adobe Genuine Service Alert on Mac, which can be either a legitimate dialog or a form of malware activity aiming to manipulate users.

What is the Adobe Genuine Service Alert Mac warning?

Every software publisher worth its salt has mechanisms in place to fend off unauthorized use of its products, that is to say, beyond the licensing principle. While this practice is largely interpreted as a way to maintain intellectual property rights, there’s some extra reasoning behind it. An important aspect boils down to security. Cracked variants of popular applications, let alone copycats, are notoriously insecure because they may not get critical updates that deliver vulnerability patches. As a result, devices are more susceptible to infection and data theft behind the scenes.

Adobe, the big-name software company famous for its graphics, marketing, and document management tools, props up its license-based model through a series of pop-up dialogs such as the Adobe Genuine Service Alert. Similar to its better-known counterpart, the Adobe Genuine Software Integrity Service notification, this one gives Mac users a heads-up about an upcoming disablement of their non-genuine solution and stresses the potential pitfalls of continuing to use it.

Adobe Genuine Service Alert on Mac

This warning comes in a few variants that differ slightly in their wording. As previously mentioned, the security facet of the matter dominates the narrative. In some cases, the pop-up will emphasize that using Adobe software that’s not genuine is likely to entail glitches, missing features as well as performance and stability problems. Many customers don’t know that they installed a pirated edition, and what’s more interesting, the notification will also be there if a person has engaged with unauthorized marketplaces or resellers to get their app. Back to the point, here are the most common manifestations of the alerting routine:

  • “You have one or more unlicensed Adobe apps on your device. Unlicensed apps may contain malware that expose your files and personal data to security risks.”
  • “You have one or more non-genuine Adobe apps on your device. Using non-genuine Adobe apps can increase your risk of malware and viruses.”
  • “You have one or more unlicensed apps that will be disabled soon. Avoid disruptions and switch to genuine Adobe apps today.”

In most scenarios, the user is notified about the amount of time before their product stops functioning unless they purchase a valid subscription. This feels like a fairly obtrusive way to deal with licensing issues, but there must be a strong reason why Adobe is doing it.

Speaking of which, the company advises against turning off Adobe Genuine Service (AGS), as it helps people stay on top of the status of their applications and adds a layer of security to the user experience. If the alerts are absolutely intolerable, though, there is a way to purge AGS for good through a native uninstaller that can be found here: Utilities > Adobe Genuine Service > AdobeCleanUpUtility. But again, it’s better to think twice before taking that route, for the reasons outlined above.

Whereas the somewhat invasive user interaction tactic on the publisher’s side is understandable, some people run into bizarre inconsistencies and difficulties stopping the Adobe Genuine Service Alert from splashing up repeatedly. One of the oddities is that the pop-up may continue to appear even after all the unlicensed software components are uninstalled from the Mac. Additionally, the occurrences of the warning may be isolated to a web browser – that’s a red flag that signals malware activity on the Mac. Harmful applications often impersonate legitimate, popular software to increase the chances of victims falling for their makers’ plans.

When faced with real AGS alerts, the workarounds to stop them are as follows: activate the copy of the product; or use a third-party firewall app such as LuLu or Little Snitch to block all outgoing Adobe connections or associated checker tasks. If you suspect malicious interference, as is the case with browser-specific notifications, it’s best to look for the adware culprit that might be triggering those pop-ups, in the first place. The following paragraphs will help determine whether or not the Adobe Genuine Service Alert on your Mac is a security problem and shed light on the methods to take care of the predicament.

Adobe Genuine Service Alert 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.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 com.AuraSearchDaemon, 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 the following dodgy items related to Adobe Genuine Service Alert malware: com.ConnectionCache.service.plist, com.digitalprotection.emcupdater.plist, com.mulkey.plist, com.nbp.plist, and com.sys.system.plist. Drag these files 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.ConnectionCache.system.plist and com.mulkeyd.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 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 AdminPrefs, TechSignalSearch, MainSearchPlatform, and Safari Preferences. 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.

Disable Adobe Genuine Service Alert in web browser on Mac

To begin with, the web browser settings taken over by the Adobe Genuine Service Alert 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 Adobe Genuine Service Alert pop-up in 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. Disable Adobe Genuine Service Alert 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 Adobe Genuine Service Alert in 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 Adobe Genuine Service Alert Mac using Combo Cleaner removal tool

The Mac maintenance and security app called Combo Cleaner is a one-stop tool to detect and remove Adobe Genuine Service Alert 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 Adobe Genuine Service Alert 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 Adobe Genuine Service Alert 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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