LauncherLocator Mac virus (Free Instructions)

LauncherLocator Mac virus Removal Guide

What is LauncherLocator Mac virus?

LauncherLocator is a dangerous Mac virus that might steal your personal data


LauncherLocator is malicious software that falls under the Adload family of adware, specifically designed for Mac computers. It is notorious for gaining unauthorized access to users' devices through deceptive tactics, such as presenting a counterfeit Flash Player update or exploiting the use of unofficial software installers sourced from illicit websites. As soon as users authenticate the installation with their Apple ID, the malware takes root.

Once LauncherLocator infiltrates the system, it proceeds to create an extension on Safari or any other browser. This extension serves as the control center for the adware's core operations. For instance, it might alter the default homepage of the browser, replacing the usual search provider with an unfamiliar one, such as Safe Finder or Yahoo. In addition to these adjustments, the affected users would encounter a significant increase in intrusive advertisements during their browsing sessions. Most of these ads are of subpar quality, and some could even lead to more severe security risks.

Furthermore, this malware can pose a significant threat to users' privacy, as it may collect personal data. LauncherLocator could also deploy additional versions of Adload or even other malevolent software in certain scenarios. Therefore, if you suspect your device has been compromised by the LauncherLocator Mac virus, you must act swiftly to eliminate it. We provide the necessary information to facilitate this process below.

Name LauncherLocator
Type Mac virus, adware, browser hijacker
Malware family Adload
Distribution Users typically get infected after being tricked by a fake Flash Player update, although repacked installers from torrent sites can also be the cause of infection
Symptoms A new extension and application are installed on the system; search and browser preferences are changed to use a different search engine; new user profiles and login items are created on the account; intrusive advertisements and redirects
Risks Installation of PUPs or malware, sensitive information disclosure, financial losses
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
Other tips Third parties can employ cookies to continue tracking your online activities, so we recommended clearing browser caches with FortectIntego

Adload is a never-ending threat

Adload is a notorious adware family primarily targeting Mac operating systems. It is a persistent cybersecurity threat that has spawned numerous variants, including LauncherLocator. The main objective of Adload and its derivatives is to infiltrate users' systems, initiate unwanted changes, and barrage users with intrusive advertisements, thereby creating a conducive environment for potential cyber threats.

Adload often sneaks into systems through duplicitous means such as fake software updates, primarily Flash Player, or through illegitimate software installers sourced from pirated websites. The unsuspecting users are tricked into authorizing the adware's installation with their Apple ID, which leads to the unwanted software gaining a foothold in the system.

Once successfully installed, Adload promptly sets about its disruptive activities. It creates extensions on browsers, including Safari, which serve as its primary control hubs. From here, it modifies the browser's settings, like changing the default homepage and search provider. These alterations can lead to an unfamiliar browsing environment that is, unfortunately, filled with intrusive, low-quality ads.

In addition to the deluge of advertisements, Adload is equipped with tracking capabilities. This allows it to collect personal user data, posing a severe privacy risk. Moreover, it can also install more of its versions or even other malevolent software, escalating the threat level for the affected device.

In the face of an Adload infection, quick action is critical. Users need to remove the adware from their systems promptly to mitigate its effects and potential damage. The steps necessary to do so will be discussed in the following sections.

LauncherLocator virusLauncherLocator sets a fake search engine on the homepage and displays ads

Dangers of the LauncherLocator virus

LauncherLocator, while frequently classified as adware due to its tendency to flood the user's browser with advertisements, goes beyond the typical adware traits. It possesses capabilities far exceeding those of a standard adware application, which makes it a potent malware, as per security researchers and programs.

Indeed, the primary mission of this virus is to display a plethora of ads and generate revenue through a pay-per-click model. However, the adware's hazardous nature lies not just in its advertisement propagation but also in the various auxiliary functions that it leverages. For instance, the adware's manipulation of AppleScript allows it to stealthily bypass Mac's inbuilt security defenses, such as XProtext and Gatekeeper. This level of evasion capability is worrisome, as it can result in prolonged, undetected infections.

Such an unobtrusive presence on the system underscores the importance of additional security layers on top of those natively provided by Mac. With malware like LauncherLocator capable of skirting the defenses built into the system, relying solely on those defenses can be insufficient. The adware's stealth and persistence make it a significant threat to the user's cybersecurity, as well as their privacy, given its potential for data collection.

Moreover, it can lay the groundwork for further malware installations, multiplying the risks for the compromised system. The sum of these hazards underlines the necessity to take prompt action against the LauncherLocator adware, bolstering your system's security to keep such threats at bay.

Removal process explained

LauncherLocator poses a significant challenge in terms of removal due to its ability to operate with escalated privileges within a system. It employs a multi-faceted approach involving the distribution of numerous files, creation of fresh profiles, and the addition of new login items. Further, it exploits AppleScript, which allows it to circumvent Mac's inherent defense mechanisms. Consequently, the malware remains active even after its primary application or extension has been eliminated.

Due to these complexities, we recommend opting for automatic removal of the infection using trusted security software such as Malwarebytes or SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner. Regardless of your chosen method for deletion, it is prudent to clear your web browser caches afterward. This will aid in preventing any residual issues from cropping up later on.

If you wish to undertake the task of eradicating the infection manually, bear in mind that background processes linked to LauncherLocator could potentially obstruct your efforts. As a proactive measure, initiate the Activity Monitor and terminate these processes before proceeding with the manual removal:

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

Login items are used to make apps start as soon as the computer is turned on, and Profiles help manage different account settings. You can get rid of these malicious components by following these steps:

  • Go to Preferences and pick Accounts.
  • Click Login items and delete everything suspicious.
  • Next, pick System Preferences > Users & Groups.
  • Find Profiles and remove unwanted profiles from the list.

PLIST files, or “Property List” files, are compact configuration files that store a variety of user preferences and data about specific applications. To effectively eliminate the virus, it's crucial to identify and eradicate the associated PLIST files. Here's how you can proceed:

  • 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.Uninstall from Mac 2

To take care of the browsers, please check the instructions below.

You may remove virus damage with a help of FortectIntego. 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.

do it now!
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 LauncherLocator 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

After uninstalling this potentially unwanted program (PUP) and fixing each of your web browsers, we recommend you to scan your PC system with a reputable anti-spyware. This will help you to get rid of LauncherLocator Mac registry traces and will also identify related parasites or possible malware infections on your computer. For that you can use our top-rated malware remover: FortectIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes.

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.

About the author
Gabriel E. Hall
Gabriel E. Hall - Passionate web researcher

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