ActiveProgram Mac virus Removal Guide
What is ActiveProgram Mac virus?
ActiveProgram hijacks users browsers by changing the main settings and displaying malicious ads
ActiveProgram was flagged by 26 security vendors as malicious
ActiveProgram is a potentially unwanted program that has adware and hijacking capabilities. It could be considered malicious as it does not only generate commercial content, and hijack the browser, it can also automatically install other PUPs and malware without the users' knowledge.
Mac adware is much more aggressive than adware developed for Windows machines. It can evade Apple's security system and infiltrate the device undetected. It also uses various evasion techniques to make it more difficult to eliminate. There is no doubt that such an infection can cause quite a bit of damage for everyday users.
Most users start noticing that something is wrong when the mac virus already starts performing unwanted tasks. It can change the browser's homepage, new tab address, and set the search engine to a fake one. It can also start displaying pop-ups, banners, that contain links leading to dangerous websites.
This virus belongs to the Adload adware family and we wrote about many of them in the past. ProjectSource, SchedulerSkyLoad, and ExpressDefault are the most recently detected versions. Users can identify Adload infections by going to their “Applications” folder. These mac viruses usually have the same icon – a magnifying glass inside a green, teal, or grey circle.
|TYPE||Adware, browser hijacker, mac virus|
|SYMPTOMS||Different homepage and new tab addresses; redirects to some other search engine and shady websites; machine performs worse than before|
|DISTRIBUTION||Fake software updates, deceptive ads, installing programs from peer-to-peer file-sharing platforms|
|DANGERS||Altered search results can lead to dangerous websites; pop-up ads might be promoting scams; the virus can install other PUPs or even malware in the background|
|ELIMINATION||Eliminating this Mac virus manually can be quite complicated if you do not have prior experience. The easiest and most effective way would be to open a professional security tool and scan your system to delete every related file|
|FURTHER STEPS||ReimageIntego should be used to completely wipe out any data left and fix the remaining damage|
Adload distribution methods
Because many mac users think that they cannot get infected, they do not abide by security experts' recommendations. Users browse through shady sites, torrent pages, and install “cracked” software without a second thought. That is the primary reason why users get infected with viruses like ActiveProgram.
Software “cracks” are especially dangerous because they are distributed on unregulated platforms that are breeding grounds for all kinds of malware. Freeware also should be avoided as the owners of these platforms often include additional programs (bundled software) in the installers that monetize user activity.
Another big cause of mac virus infections is the fake Flash Player updates and installers. The scheme works by convincing users that their Flash Player is out-of-date and they need to upgrade it or install it to be able to access some kind of content.
Random websites that tell you to download or update something should never be trusted. Flash Player was discontinued in 2020 and replaced by HTML5 so any website telling you otherwise is definitely a scam. If you are unsure if the update or install prompt is real or fake, always try to find the program in your system, open it and make sure it is true. You can also go to the official developer website and get the latest version from there if you really need it.
Malicious programs like ActiveProgram make money with pay-per-click advertising and tracking users' browsing activity. That could include your IP address, the websites you visit, links you click on, purchases you make, and more. It is later sold to unsafe advertising networks or other third parties which use it to further personalize ads shown to you.
We recommend using only official app stores for downloading software. There are plenty of free applications to choose from so you should definitely find something that suits your needs. It is not worth it to risk your machine getting infected and then suffering the consequences.
ActiveProgram usually enters the system disguised as Flash Player
Removal of ActiveProgram
You should not do this yourself unless you know what you are doing and what kind of files you need to delete. Some of the files can have a .plist extension which is a normal settings' file, also known as a “properties file,” used by macOS applications. It contains properties and configuration settings for various programs. The app also uses various persistence techniques and drops many files across the system, making browser extension and application removal difficult.
To keep your mind at peace, we recommend using professional anti-malware tools SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes, which can detect unwanted programs and eradicate them. You also do not know if the virus installed any additional malicious programs, so this is the safest way to ensure the system is clean.
If you still want to try and delete it manually, proceed with these steps:
- Open Applications folder
- Select Utilities
- Double-click Activity Monitor
- Here, look for suspicious processes related to adware and use Force Quit command to shut them down
- Go back to the Applications folder
- Find ActiveProgram in the list and move it to Trash.
If you are unable to shut down the related processes or can't move the app to Trash, you should look for malicious profiles and login items:
- Go to Preferences and select Accounts
- Click Login items and delete everything suspicious
- Next, pick System Preferences > Users & Groups
- Find Profiles and remove unwanted profiles from the list.
There are likely to be more .plist files hiding in the following locations – delete them all:
- Select Go > Go to Folder.
- Enter /Library/Application Support and click Go or press Enter.
- In the Application Support folder, look for any dubious entries and then delete them.
- Now enter /Library/LaunchAgents and /Library/LaunchDaemons folders the same way and terminate all the related .plist files.
The manual elimination process might not always result in full virus removal. Therefore, we still strongly suggest you perform a scan with security software.
Remove the extension gathering information
An extension to your browser is also added by ActiveProgram that starts performing all sorts of unwanted tasks. It possibly collects sensitive data and sends it to tracking servers. Some of the data that could be exposed is – IP address, user name, macOS version, browser versions, computer ID, items in the “Applications” folder, a list of agents, daemons, and system configuration profiles.
You should eliminate the add-on as soon as possible after the dangerous files are eliminated from your system. You can delete cookies and cache automatically with the help of ReimageIntego. It will also fix any damaged files and system errors, so you should notice an improvement in the machine's performance.
If you prefer doing this yourself without additional help, here are the instructions. You will find guides for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox at the bottom of this article:
- Click Safari > Preferences…
- In the new window, pick Extensions.
- Select the unwanted extension and select Uninstall.
Cookies and website data:
- Click Safari > Clear History…
- From the drop-down menu under Clear, pick all history.
- Confirm with Clear History.
The simplest and quickest solution to this is completely resetting Safari:
- Click Safari > Preferences…
- Go to Advanced tab.
- Tick the Show Develop menu in menu bar.
- From the menu bar, click Develop, and then select Empty Caches.
Getting rid of ActiveProgram Mac virus. Follow these steps
Remove from Mozilla Firefox (FF)
Remove dangerous extensions:
- Open Mozilla Firefox browser and click on the Menu (three horizontal lines at the top-right of the window).
- Select Add-ons.
- In here, select unwanted plugin and click Remove.
Reset the homepage:
- Click three horizontal lines at the top right corner to open the menu.
- Choose Options.
- Under Home options, enter your preferred site that will open every time you newly open the Mozilla Firefox.
Clear cookies and site data:
- Click Menu and pick Settings.
- Go to Privacy & Security section.
- Scroll down to locate Cookies and Site Data.
- Click on Clear Data…
- Select Cookies and Site Data, as well as Cached Web Content and press Clear.
Reset Mozilla Firefox
If clearing the browser as explained above did not help, reset Mozilla Firefox:
- Open Mozilla Firefox browser and click the Menu.
- Go to Help and then choose Troubleshooting Information.
- Under Give Firefox a tune up section, click on Refresh Firefox…
- Once the pop-up shows up, confirm the action by pressing on Refresh Firefox.
Remove from Google Chrome
Delete malicious extensions from Google Chrome:
- Open Google Chrome, click on the Menu (three vertical dots at the top-right corner) and select More tools > Extensions.
- In the newly opened window, you will see all the installed extensions. Uninstall all the suspicious plugins that might be related to the unwanted program by clicking Remove.
Clear cache and web data from Chrome:
- Click on Menu and pick Settings.
- Under Privacy and security, select Clear browsing data.
- Select Browsing history, Cookies and other site data, as well as Cached images and files.
- Click Clear data.
Change your homepage:
- Click menu and choose Settings.
- Look for a suspicious site in the On startup section.
- Click on Open a specific or set of pages and click on three dots to find the Remove option.
Reset Google Chrome:
If the previous methods did not help you, reset Google Chrome to eliminate all the unwanted components:
- Click on Menu and select Settings.
- In the Settings, scroll down and click Advanced.
- Scroll down and locate Reset and clean up section.
- Now click Restore settings to their original defaults.
- Confirm with Reset settings.
How to prevent from getting adware
Protect your privacy – employ a VPN
There are several ways how to make your online time more private – you can access an incognito tab. However, there is no secret that even in this mode, you are tracked for advertising purposes. There is a way to add an extra layer of protection and create a completely anonymous web browsing practice with the help of Private Internet Access VPN. This software reroutes traffic through different servers, thus leaving your IP address and geolocation in disguise. Besides, it is based on a strict no-log policy, meaning that no data will be recorded, leaked, and available for both first and third parties. The combination of a secure web browser and Private Internet Access VPN will let you browse the Internet without a feeling of being spied or targeted by criminals.
No backups? No problem. Use a data recovery tool
If you wonder how data loss can occur, you should not look any further for answers – human errors, malware attacks, hardware failures, power cuts, natural disasters, or even simple negligence. In some cases, lost files are extremely important, and many straight out panic when such an unfortunate course of events happen. Due to this, you should always ensure that you prepare proper data backups on a regular basis.
If you were caught by surprise and did not have any backups to restore your files from, not everything is lost. Data Recovery Pro is one of the leading file recovery solutions you can find on the market – it is likely to restore even lost emails or data located on an external device.