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Remove Automator virus / Virus Removal Guide - May 2020 update

removal by Ugnius Kiguolis - - | Type: Malware

Automator is a Mac OS tool that can be misused by malware for creating AppleScripts to automatically perform suspicious activities

Automator malware

Automator is a legitimate application for Mac OS[1] allowing users to perform particular tasks on the system automatically. It has an inbuilt list of AppleScripts allowing to create workflows – the sequence of actions that have to be performed to finish some kind of tasks. It may be extremely useful for tasks like renaming many photos at once, extracting texts from PDF files, archiving files and folders, combine documents, quit all applications, create backups, and so on. However, this application is considered as one of the most vulnerable since both Apple and third-party developers can add new scripts and create tasks. Therefore, it may initiate suspicious activities on your Mac, which is why many regular PC users consider it to be an Automator virus. 

At the moment, Automator can be set to handle tasks in more than 80 applications. The biggest risk of this application is to get affected by malware and filled with scripts that download other malware or perform tasks such as injection of unwanted web browser's toolbars, add-ons, or enabling third-party cookies on Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and other web browsers. Therefore, in case Mac runs in an abnormal manner due to malware infection, we recommend scanning your PC with a reputable anti-malware program designed for Mac and eliminate suspicious programs. Automator removal is usually not permitted unless your device has a rogue version. 

Summary of the malware
Name Automator
Type Malware
Specifications A general Automator app is a pre-installed Mac OS component, which can be used for creating workflows in scripts to tell the system what tasks it should do automatically without the user's intervention. Therefore, this application stands at a high risk of being affected by malware.
Symptoms Normally, the application does not exhibit any signs of malfunctioning unless the user sets the scripts in the wrong way. In case the poorly made script is opened, the system may start encountering errors or even crash. If malware resides on Mac and regularly sends scripts to the Automator, the system may start displaying ads, opening apps without being asked for, automatically send email messages from the user's account, and so on. 
Location The original Automator application is kept in /Applications/Utilities folder.
Danger The application can be exploited by malware. Although it's not dangerous in its nature, malicious scripts can be injected by criminals forcing the system to perform suspicious tasks
Removal Trying to remove Automator from Mac OS may fail because it's one of the pre-installed system's tools. Although it is possible to get rid of it, it is advisable to use a professional anti-malware program and check your Mac for malicious applications in the first place. 
Optimizing performance If this tool caused damage to the system, we strongly recommend you to fix malware damage with Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego tool. It will check the libraries, folders, and processes that may have been corrupted and fix them. 

The term Automator virus is not suitable when we talk about a malware-free Mac OS system. This application has been developed with an intention to help users make specific tasks automated and turn them into a routine. However, the scripts that are used for creating the workflows can be injected by both Mac apps and third-party developers. In other words, adware, browser hijacker, spyware, or other malware installed on the device can program a scrip and command the device to initiate particular activities without the user's permission. 

As pointed out by several Mac users on Reddit[2], the Automator malware managed to download MacKeeper without being asked for. Besides, it forces the Safari web browser to open every five minutes, thus disrupting normal web browsing activities. 

I accidentally installed a malware and it keeps popping the safari browser every five minutes. It had installed mackeeper application and I am unable to find mackeeper under the applications. However there is an app called automator and when I try to uninstall it, an error window appears '“automator” can’t be modified or deleted because it’s required by macos.' Can someone help me with this?

That can be explained by the presence of malware on the affected Mac OS device. Since third-party apps can attempt to add new Automator tasks support to both new and existing applications, the malware might have added a task to download specific items and created a routine to open Safari. 

There are many apps that may trigger the Automator app on Mac to start working abnormally, including Adware Cleaner or LiveShoppers. In addition to doubtful MAC activities, the web browser may be compromised by adding unwanted toolbars, add-ons, and plug-ins. Besides, a questionable search engine and start page can manifest. 

Although malware is not extremely dangerous if comparing to ransomware or spyware. Nevertheless, questionable advertising material positions on random websites can expose people to rogue websites used as phishing for spreading more dangerous cyber infections. 

Therefore, if you suspect that your device has been affected by malware and initiated changes in MacScripts, we strongly recommend you to download a professional anti-malware program dedicated to Mac OS, for example SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes and perform a full scan to eliminate malware. 

If you are still having a problem or no malware has been found, try to remove Automator from the system. For that, you should disable the process via Activity Monitor and then delete the app from the Applications/Utilities folder.

Automator virusAutomator can perform suspicious activities without the user's permission if malware is installed on Mac device

If Automator removal ends up with a notification saying that “Automator” can’t be modified or deleted because it’s required by MacOS,” it means that the app is currently in use by another application or runs in the background. Thus, force quit the app and then perform the removal. 

Malware typically enters the system bundled with freeware but can be downloaded as a stand-alone installer from reputable sources

There are many free applications that are offered on reputable download sources, such as Google App Store or Mac App Store[3]. Besides, often unwanted applications have dedicated official websites and direct downloads. However, if they are flagged as potentially dangerous by cybersecurity experts, having a direct download website does not make it less questionable. 

Experts from lesvirus.fr[4] explain that an app is referred to as a potentially unwanted program (PUP) as soon as it is detected as being distributed by bundling or other doubtful methods. Besides, such apps statistically show a high tendency to initiate advertising campaigns and track users' activities behind their backs. 

Therefore, to protect the system from PUPs and malware, it's very important to stay away from applications that are underrated or do not have clear specifications. When downloading an app to the system, always opt for an Advanced installation setup, which generates more setup windows and indicates the fact that additional programs are being installed alongside. 

Besides, do not fully trust the inbuilt Mac security system. There is more than enough proof that the anti-malware filters often fail to recognize suspicious programs, which is why we highly recommend keeping a professional anti-virus program installed to strengthen the protection. 

Automator removalAutomator removal may be required if the system keeps automatically performing activities that disrupt performance

Remove malware from Mac to get rid of Automator virus 

If you suspect that your Mac is infected by malware and all the suspicious activities directly to the Automator app, do not blame the app itself. Although it may start malfunctioning due to incorrect scripting, it is very likely that the tool causes problems because of adware or browser hijacker infection. 

Automator virus removal may be a tiresome task if you don't know which program is responsible for ads, redirects, unexpected app running, slowdowns, and other symptoms. First of all, you should the Applications folder and remove apps that you are not familiar with. In case that did not help, launch SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes tool and scan the system for suspicious entries. 

Finally, if there is no other solution except to remove Automator Mac virus, then you have to perform several steps: force quit related process, eliminate the utility from the Apps folder, and then delete its remnants. You can find an explicit guide on how to do that below. In case your web browser has been also compromised and now keeps displaying ads and causing redirects to doubtful websites, reset web browser's settings to delete plug-ins.  

You may remove virus damage with a help of Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego. SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner and Malwarebytes are recommended to detect potentially unwanted programs and viruses with all their files and registry entries that are related to them.

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What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove virus damage using Reimage Intego, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
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Alternative Software
Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Reimage, try running SpyHunter 5.
Alternative Software
Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Intego, try running Combo Cleaner.

To remove Automator virus, follow these steps:

Delete Automator from Windows systems

To remove Automator from Windows 10/8  machines, please follow these steps:

  1. Enter Control Panel into Windows search box and hit Enter or click on the search result.
  2. Under Programs, select Uninstall a program.Uninstall from Windows 1
  3. From the list, find entries related to Automator (or any other recently installed suspicious program).
  4. Right-click on the application and select Uninstall.
  5. If User Account Control shows up, click Yes.
  6. Wait till uninstallation process is complete and click OK.Uninstall from Windows 2

If you are Windows 7/XP user, proceed with the following instructions:

  1. Click on Windows Start > Control Panel located on the right pane (if you are Windows XP user, click on Add/Remove Programs).
  2. In Control Panel, select Programs > Uninstall a program.Uninstall from Windows 7/XP
  3. Pick the unwanted application by clicking on it once.
  4. At the top, click Uninstall/Change.
  5. In the confirmation prompt, pick Yes.
  6. Click OK once the removal process is finished.

Uninstall Automator from Mac OS X system

The following guide explains how to get rid of Automator. Upon removal, you should also navigate to the Accounts folder and open Login Items. Here you should see the processes that start automatically when you boot up the device. Check the list for Automator and select the Minus icon to stop the process from launching.

If your macOS is displaying some infection symptoms, proceed with the following guide:

Remove Automator from Applications folder:

  1. From the menu bar, select Go > Applications.
  2. In the Applications folder, look for Automator-related entries.
  3. Click on the app and drag it to Trash (or right-click and pick Move to Trash)Uninstall from Mac 1

To fully remove Automator, you need to access Application Support, LaunchAgents, and LaunchDaemons folders and delete relevant files:

  1. Select Go > Go to Folder.
  2. Enter /Library/Application Support and click Go or press Enter.
  3. In the Application Support folder, look for any dubious entries related to Automator and then delete them.
  4. Now enter /Library/LaunchAgents and /Library/LaunchDaemons folders the same way and terminate all the Automator-related entries.Uninstall from Mac 2

Remove Automator from Internet Explorer (IE)

Remove dangerous add-ons:

  1. Open Internet Explorer, click on the Gear icon (IE menu) on the top-right corner of the browser
  2. Pick Manage Add-ons.
  3. You will see a Manage Add-ons window. Here, look for Automator and other suspicious plugins. Click on these entries and select Disable.Remove add-ons from Internet Explorer

Change your homepage if it was altered:

  1. Open IE and click on the Gear icon.
  2. Select Internet Options.
  3. In the General tab, delete the Home page address and replace it by your preferred one (for example, Google.com).
  4. Click Apply and then select OK.Reset IE homepage

Delete temporary files:

  1. Press on the Gear icon and select Internet Options.
  2. Under Browsing history, click Delete…
  3. Select relevant fields and press Delete.Clear temporary files from Internet Explorer

Reset Internet Explorer:

  1. Click on Gear icon > Internet options and select Advanced tab.
  2. Select Reset.
  3. In the new window, check Delete personal settings and select Reset again to complete Automator removal.Reset Internet Explorer

Eliminate Automator virus from Microsoft Edge

Delete unwanted extensions from MS Edge:

  1. Select Menu (three horizontal dots at the top-right of the browser window) and pick Extensions.
  2. From the list, pick the Automator-related extension and click on the Gear icon.
  3. Click on Uninstall at the bottom.Remove extensions from Edge

Clear cookies and other browser data:

  1. Click on the Menu (three horizontal dots at the top-right of the browser window) and select Privacy & security.
  2. Under Clear browsing data, pick Choose what to clear.
  3. Select everything (apart from passwords, although you might want to include Media licenses as well, if applicable) and click on Clear.Clear Edge browsing data

Reset MS Edge if that above steps did not work:

  1. Press on Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open Task Manager.
  2. Click on More details arrow at the bottom of the window.
  3. Select Details tab.
  4. Now scroll down and locate every entry with Microsoft Edge name in it. Right-click on each of them and select End Task to stop MS Edge from running.Reset MS Edge

If this solution failed to help you, you need to use an advanced Edge reset method. Note that you need to backup your data before proceeding.

  1. Find the following folder on your computer: C:\\Users\\%username%\\AppData\\Local\\Packages\\Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge_8wekyb3d8bbwe.
  2. Press Ctrl + A on your keyboard to select all folders.
  3. Right-click on them and pick DeleteAdvanced MS Edge reset 1
  4. Now right-click on the Start button and pick Windows PowerShell (Admin).
  5. When the new window opens, copy and paste the following command, and then press Enter:

    Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers -Name Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.InstallLocation)\\AppXManifest.xml” -VerboseAdvanced MS Edge reset 2

Instructions for Chromium-based Edge

Delete extensions from MS Edge (Chromium):

  1. Open Edge and click select Settings > Extensions.
  2. Delete unwanted extensions by clicking Remove.Remove extensions from Chromium Edge

Clear cache and site data:

  1. Click on Menu and go to Settings.
  2. Select Privacy and services.
  3. Under Clear browsing data, pick Choose what to clear.
  4. Under Time range, pick All time.
  5. Select Clear now.Clear browser data from Chroum Edge

Reset Chromium-based MS Edge:

  1. Click on Menu and select Settings.
  2. On the left side, pick Reset settings.
  3. Select Restore settings to their default values.
  4. Confirm with Reset.Reset Chromium Edge

Get rid of Automator from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

Remove dangerous extensions:

  1. Open Mozilla Firefox browser and click on the Menu (three horizontal lines at the top-right of the window).
  2. Select Add-ons.
  3. In here, select plugins that are related to Automator and click Remove.Remove extensions from Firefox

Clear cookies and site data:

  1. Click Menu and pick Options.
  2. Go to Privacy & Security section.
  3. Scroll down to locate Cookies and Site Data.
  4. Click on Clear Data…
  5. Select Cookies and Site Data, as well as Cached Web Content and press Clear.Clear cookies and site data from Firefox

In case Automator did not get removed after following the instructions above, reset Mozilla Firefox:

  1. Open Mozilla Firefox browser and click the Menu.
  2. Go to Help and then choose Troubleshooting Information.Reset Firefox 1
  3. Under Give Firefox a tune up section, click on Refresh Firefox…
  4. Once the pop-up shows up, confirm the action by pressing on Refresh Firefox – this should complete Automator removal.Reset Firefox 2

Erase Automator from Google Chrome

Google Chrome's settings can be compromised after a malware infiltration. To reset the start page, search engine or eliminate advertising material, reset web browser's settings as explained below.

Delete malicious extensions from Google Chrome:

  1. Open Google Chrome, click on the Menu (three vertical dots at the top-right corner) and select More tools > Extensions.
  2. In the newly opened window, you will see all the installed extensions. Uninstall all the suspicious plugins that might be related to Automator by clicking Remove.Remove extensions from Chrome

Clear cache and web data from Chrome:

  1. Click on Menu and pick Settings.
  2. Under Privacy and security, select Clear browsing data.
  3. Select Browsing history, Cookies and other site data, as well as Cached images and files.
  4. Click Clear data.Clear cache and web data from Chrome

If the above-methods did not help you, reset Google Chrome to eliminate all the Automator-components:

  1. Click on Menu and select Settings.
  2. In the Settings, scroll down and click Advanced.
  3. Scroll down and locate Reset and clean up section.
  4. Now click Restore settings to their original defaults.
  5. Confirm with Reset settings to complete Automator removal.Reset Chrome 2

Delete Automator from Safari

If you see Automator ads or other related content on Safari, perform the steps shown below to fix your web browser's settings.

Remove unwanted extensions from Safari:

  1. Click Safari > Preferences…
  2. In the new window, pick Extensions.
  3. Select the unwanted extension related to Automator and select Uninstall.Remove extensions from Safari

Clear cookies and other website data from Safari:

  1. Click Safari > Clear History…
  2. From the drop-down menu under Clear, pick all history.
  3. Confirm with Clear History.Clear cookies and website data from Safari

Reset Safari if the above-mentioned steps did not help you:

  1. Click Safari > Preferences…
  2. Go to Advanced tab.
  3. Tick the Show Develop menu in menu bar.
  4. From the menu bar, click Develop, and then select Empty Caches.Reset Safari

Choose a proper web browser and improve your safety with a VPN tool

Online spying has got momentum in recent years and people are getting more and more interested in how to protect their privacy online. One of the basic means to add a layer of security – choose the most private and secure web browser. Although web browsers can't grant full privacy protection and security, some of them are much better at sandboxing, HTTPS upgrading, active content blocking, tracking blocking, phishing protection, and similar privacy-oriented features. However, if you want true anonymity, we suggest you employ a powerful Private Internet Access VPN – it can encrypt all the traffic that comes and goes out of your computer, preventing tracking completely.

 

Lost your files? Use data recovery software

While some files located on any computer are replaceable or useless, others can be extremely valuable. Family photos, work documents, school projects – these are types of files that we don't want to lose. Unfortunately, there are many ways how unexpected data loss can occur: power cuts, Blue Screen of Death errors, hardware failures, crypto-malware attack, or even accidental deletion.

To ensure that all the files remain intact, you should prepare regular data backups. You can choose cloud-based or physical copies you could restore from later in case of a disaster. If your backups were lost as well or you never bothered to prepare any, Data Recovery Pro can be your only hope to retrieve your invaluable files.

About the author
Ugnius Kiguolis
Ugnius Kiguolis - The mastermind

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