ProcessorCactus mac virus Removal Guide
What is ProcessorCactus mac virus?
ProcessorCactus can appear after browsing through Torrent websites and installations of “cracked” software
ProcessorCactus was flagged as malicious by 19 security vendors
ProcessorCactus is a virus that has both adware and hijacking capabilities. It belongs to the Adload adware family, which means it is developed to specifically target Mac users. There is a common misconception among many users that Apple devices cannot be infected, which has not been true for quite a while now.
People who are infected with this mac adware may experience symptoms like an increased amount of commercial content, pop-ups, banners, and redirects. Changed browser settings including the homepage, new tab address, and search engine. Unknown applications and browser extensions can also appear seemingly out of nowhere.
|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; unknown apps appear on the machine|
|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. 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||FortectIntego should be used to completely wipe out any data left and fix the remaining damage|
One of the most common reasons for Adload infections, like ProcessorCactus are fake Flash Player updates or installations. Threat actors use social engineering methods to trick people into thinking that their Flash Player is expired. They use deceptive messages to make people believe that if they do not install the latest version they will not be able to access content.
Many people are still unaware that Flash Player was discontinued in 2020 and replaced by HTML5. If you come across any website that is telling you otherwise, you should exit immediately. You should also know that installing freeware poses a risk of viruses being included as bundled software.
Another thing that you should be aware of is the danger of torrent websites, and peer-to-peer file-sharing platforms. They are unregulated so they are the perfect breeding grounds for malware. You can never know if the program you want to install is safe and not a Trojan or another type of malware.
Adload evasion techniques
Adware developed for Mac devices is much more dangerous than adware infecting Windows machines. It has various evasion techniques to prevent people from easily removing it. The files of the malicious program are scattered throughout less-known system areas that can be hard to detect.
Malware developers are also coming up with new ways to infect machines. Adload creators have figured out how to prevent Apple's security system XProtect from detecting it. All they had to was to eliminate a single strand from the code. And unfortunately, for many macOS users, neither XProtect nor other simple engines detect it.
That is why many users do not notice the intruder until it has already started performing malicious tasks. Users can find the main file in their “Applications” folder. Usually, Adload viruses have the same icon – a magnifying glass inside a green, teal, or grey background. You can check out the previous versions that we wrote about, like GuideService, DefaultImprovment, and OnlinePlatform.
ProcessorCactus hides its' files across the system to make it hard to remove
Removal of ProcessorCactus Mac adware
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 ProcessorCactus 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 malicious extension
ProcessorCactus attaches an extension that can hijack the browser
An extension to your browser is also added by ProcessorCactus which 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 FortectIntego. 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 ProcessorCactus 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
Access your website securely from any location
When you work on the domain, site, blog, or different project that requires constant management, content creation, or coding, you may need to connect to the server and content management service more often. The best solution for creating a tighter network could be a dedicated/fixed IP address.
If you make your IP address static and set to your device, you can connect to the CMS from any location and do not create any additional issues for the server or network manager that needs to monitor connections and activities. VPN software providers like Private Internet Access can help you with such settings and offer the option to control the online reputation and manage projects easily from any part of the world.
Recover files after data-affecting malware attacks
While much of the data can be accidentally deleted due to various reasons, malware is one of the main culprits that can cause loss of pictures, documents, videos, and other important files. More serious malware infections lead to significant data loss when your documents, system files, and images get encrypted. In particular, ransomware is is a type of malware that focuses on such functions, so your files become useless without an ability to access them.
Even though there is little to no possibility to recover after file-locking threats, some applications have features for data recovery in the system. In some cases, Data Recovery Pro can also help to recover at least some portion of your data after data-locking virus infection or general cyber infection.