HelperFraction Mac virus (Free Guide)

HelperFraction Mac virus Removal Guide

What is HelperFraction Mac virus?

HelperFraction – a dangerous virus that attacks macOS users

HelperFraction is a type of adware that falls under the Adload family, specifically targeting Mac devices. It commonly infiltrates systems when users are deceived into downloading a fraudulent Flash Player update or when they acquire software through unauthorized download sites. The infection is initiated as soon as the user authenticates the installation with their Apple ID.

Once HelperFraction is installed on a device, it typically sets up a browser extension in browsers like Safari. This extension is crucial for the adware's primary activities. For instance, it might alter the browser's default homepage and switch the search engine to a different provider, like Search Finder or Yahoo. This change is not just cosmetic; users will start experiencing a surge in advertisements during their browsing sessions. These ads are not only intrusive but often of low quality, and some may even pose security risks.

In addition to these disruptions, it has the capability to monitor personal user data. It might also install further iterations of Adload and, in certain instances, other types of harmful software. The presence of the virus on your Mac should be a cause for immediate concern, and steps should be taken to remove this virus promptly. Below, we provide the necessary guidance to eliminate the HelperFraction Mac virus from your system.

Name HelperFraction
Type Mac virus, adware, browser hijacker
Malware family Adload
Distribution Third-party websites distributing pirated software, software bundles, fake Flash Player updates
Symptoms Installs a new extension and application on the system; changes homepage and new tab of the browser; inserts ads and malicious links; tracks sensitive user data via extension
Removal The easiest way to remove Mac malware is to perform a full system scan with SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner security software. We also provide a manual guide below
System optimization Once you've removed the virus and all its components, we also recommend scanning your device with FortectIntego to clean out your browsers and any other leftover or junk files

Spreading techniques and avoidance tips

HelperFraction is a malware variant that specifically targets Mac users and is part of the broader Adload family. This virus is primarily spread through deceptive methods, including fake Flash Player updates and downloading software from unofficial sources.

A primary tactic for spreading HelperFraction involves exploiting the legacy of Flash Player, which, despite being discontinued by Adobe due to its unreliability and numerous vulnerabilities, still prompts users to download updates. Users are often misled by phishing websites that falsely prompt them to update Flash Player to access specific content. These prompts are deceptive and serve as a means to distribute malware. The malware may also be concealed in downloads labeled as “,” a common disguise also used for distributing other malicious software like the Shlayer Trojan.

Another prevalent method for malware distribution is through the use of cracked or pirated software installers. These illegal channels are often used to circulate software that typically requires a purchase. In such cases, it can be bundled as a hidden component within the pirated software, installing itself on the user's device without their knowledge.

To safeguard against HelperFraction and other Adload variants on Macs, it is crucial for users to adhere to secure practices. This includes downloading software exclusively from trusted sources, avoiding suspicious links or unknown attachments, maintaining updated antivirus software, and practicing cautious browsing habits. These steps are essential for protecting Mac systems from a range of malware threats.

What malware can do to your system

HelperFraction, a variant within the Adload malware family, is known for its detrimental impact on Mac systems. Upon infecting a device, the software immediately starts manipulating browser settings, changing the homepage and default search engine. This alteration serves the purpose of ad monetization and can lead to the redirection of search queries, potentially resulting in harmful search outcomes.

More than just causing frustrating browser changes, the malware significantly compromises user privacy and security. It gains elevated permissions upon installation, enabling it to execute AppleScript and evade Mac's internal defenses like XProtect.

Such permissions allow the malware to track browser activities, potentially capturing sensitive data such as login credentials and financial information. This surveillance poses a substantial privacy risk, and users are advised to avoid sharing critical information on infected devices.

Additionally, the software often promotes dangerous websites. These sites could contain other harmful software or offer fake services. Clicking on these links is risky and might lead to further damage to the user's Mac. Therefore, it is essential to be cautious and take immediate action against this threat.

HelperFraction removal instructions

SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner and Malwarebytes are two highly regarded anti-malware solutions that we suggest for effectively removing the HelperFraction virus and its associated malicious components. These security programs are adept at detecting and preventing malware execution, so it's important to heed any warnings they issue – false positives are unlikely.

For those considering manual removal of the malware, it's crucial to understand that HelperFraction comprises various components. If any component is left behind, there's a risk of the system being reinfected upon restart. Whether opting for manual or automatic removal, we advise following guidelines on clearing browser caches to hinder data tracking by external entities.

The virus is made up of several elements that might be dispersed throughout the system, often interconnected. Consequently, certain steps in the removal process might be challenging or impossible without first addressing specific parts. The initial focus should be on the main application:

  • Open Applications folder
  • Select Utilities
  • Double-click Activity Monitor
  • Here, look for suspicious processes related to adware and use the Force Quit command to shut them down
  • Go back to the Applications folder
  • Locate the malicious app and move it to Trash.Uninstall from Mac 1

Upon infiltration, malware might establish new User profiles and Login items for persistence. This might be the reason why you can't get rid of the app or the extension.

  • 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.

Lastly, it's important to search for any remaining elements, specifically .plist files. These files, known as property list files, are used for configuration purposes and can potentially enhance the functionality of adware.

  • 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 delete all the related .plist files.Uninstall from Mac 2

Removing the leftovers

The extension is pivotal in the operations of malware like HelperFraction. It modifies key browser settings, such as the homepage, new tab page, and search engine, ensuring constant ad exposure for users. Moreover, this extension can be exploited to capture all information entered on websites, including sensitive data like passwords and credit card details.

If you've chosen an automatic method for malware removal, such as using FortectIntego, the extension should already be eradicated from your browser. In this case, there's no need for further action regarding the extension. However, if you've opted for manual removal, it's critical to verify that the extension has been completely removed from your browser.

Additionally, cleaning your web browsers of cached files and cookies is an important step in preventing data tracking and the potential return of redirects and ads. Using a tool like FortectIntego can facilitate a quick and efficient cleanup. For those preferring to handle this manually, the following steps are provided for guidance.

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Fortect Happiness
Intego Happiness
Compatible with Microsoft Windows Compatible with macOS
What to do if failed?
If you failed to fix virus damage using Fortect Intego, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Fortect Intego has a free limited scanner. Fortect Intego offers more through scan when you purchase its full version. When free scanner detects issues, you can fix them using free manual repairs or you can decide to purchase the full version in order to fix them automatically.
Alternative Software
Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Fortect, 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.

Getting rid of HelperFraction Mac virus. Follow these steps

Delete from Safari

Remove unwanted extensions from Safari:

  1. Click Safari > Preferences…
  2. In the new window, pick Extensions.
  3. Select the unwanted extension 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

Remove from Google Chrome

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 the unwanted program 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

Change your homepage:

  1. Click menu and choose Settings.
  2. Look for a suspicious site in the On startup section.
  3. 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:

  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. Reset Chrome 2

Remove 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 unwanted plugin and click Remove. Remove extensions from Firefox

Reset the homepage:

  1. Click three horizontal lines at the top right corner to open the menu.
  2. Choose Options.
  3. Under Home options, enter your preferred site that will open every time you newly open the Mozilla Firefox.

Clear cookies and site data:

  1. Click Menu and pick Settings.
  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

Reset Mozilla Firefox

If clearing the browser as explained above did not help, 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. Reset Firefox 2

Remove 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 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

Restore new tab and homepage settings:

  1. Click the menu icon and choose Settings.
  2. Then find On startup section.
  3. Click Disable if you found any suspicious domain.

Reset MS Edge if the 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 Delete Advanced 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” -Verbose Advanced 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, search 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

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.

About the author
Olivia Morelli
Olivia Morelli - Ransomware analyst

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