ConnectionOptimizer mac Removal Guide
What is ConnectionOptimizer mac?
ConnectionOptimizer is an aggressive form of adware targeting mac machines through fake Flash Player installers
ConnectionOptimizer causes pop-ups, redirects, and changes the browser settings
ConnectionOptimizer is a mac virus that belongs to the Adload malware family. It has adware and hijacking capabilities which results in pop-ups, banners, redirects, and changed browser settings. The behavior that users start to experience is not only annoying but dangerous. Adware created for Mac machines is much more aggressive than adware targeting Windows users.
Many Mac lovers say that they just do not get viruses but that has not been true for a long time. Malware developers are constantly coming up with new ways to bypass Apple's security system XProtect and Adload is not an exception. All they had to do was not include a single strand in their code. We have previously written about different versions of this virus, like EdgeManagement, ConnectedPlatform, and Latest Structured.
The most noticeable similarity between them is the same icon – a magnifying glass inside a green or teal-colored circle. If you see this icon in your “Applications” folder, that is definitely the reason why you get redirected to questionable websites and get bombarded with ads. Adload is way more aggressive than adware created for Windows machines because it can install other PUPs (potentially unwanted programs) and malware without the users' knowledge.
|TYPE||Adware, browser hijacker, mac virus|
|SYMPTOMS||Changed homepage, new tab address, and search engine; redirects to shady websites; an increase of commercial content; decrease in performance|
|DISTRIBUTION||Fake software updates, deceptive ads, torrent websites|
|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 without the users' knowledge|
|ELIMINATION||Eliminating an adload virus manually can be quite complicated if you do not have experience. The easiest and most effective is 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|
What makes this mac virus particularly dangerous is the fact that most users notice it when it has already started to perform its malicious tasks. The malware can collect user data and steal the administrator password. It does this by creating a prompt that looks exactly like a real system prompt asking users to enter their administrator password.
Once the malicious program requires this information it can do a lot of damage to your system. It can initiate malicious scripts, and install other malware without your knowledge. If you do not catch this infection on time you may have a lot of different intruders hiding in your machine, like spyware, other adware, hijackers, and crypto miners.
It is also very difficult for the average user to completely remove Adload from the machine. The virus can scatter its' files across the system making each of them hard to locate. That is why professional security tools are so important. A device without an antivirus is like a house without a door. It is clear that Apple's native security system is falling behind and users now have to take extra security measures to keep themselves safe.
Adload distribution techniques
Most often users infect themselves with Adload-type viruses because they are reckless when surfing the web. The misconception that Apple devices do not get infected, makes users browse carelessly, click on random links and visit shady websites. One of the biggest tools that fraudsters use to get people infected is fake Flash Player installations.
The scam works by telling users that their Flash Player is outdated and they need to install the newest version or they will not be able to access some kind of content. Many people do not think twice about it and click install. The truth is, Flash Player does not exist anymore. It was discontinued in 2020 and replaced by HTML5.
Many users still do not know that and end up putting their systems in danger. If you land on a page that says you need a new Flash Player, it is definitely fake. Another way that you could have been infected with ConnectionOptimizer is by installing “cracked” software from a torrent website.
These platforms are unregulated because they engage in illegal activities. There are no entities that review the listed programs and verify if they are safe. That is why peer-to-peer file-sharing platforms are breeding grounds for PUAs and malware. That is why you should use official web stores and developer websites for getting the software you want.
Even though it can get costly, the programs that get listed on online marketplaces go through an extensive review process. You might save in the long run by keeping your system safe from intruders and having to pay for repairs. Always do your research and do not install anything from random websites. Read the reviews, and look for press releases. You will find that most of the time there are no search results about rogue applications.
ConnectionOptimizer is mostly spread through fake Flash Player installers and updaters
Removal of ConnectionOptimizer Mac virus
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 ConnectionOptimizer 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
An extension to your browser is also added by ConnectionOptimizer 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 ConnectionOptimizer mac. 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 Options.
- 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
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.