ProductionElements Mac virus (Free Guide)

ProductionElements Mac virus Removal Guide

What is ProductionElements Mac virus?

ProductionElements is a malicious application you should get rid of ASAP

ProductionElementsProductionElements is a dangerous Mac virus that can spy on your sensitive data via a browser extension installed on Safari, Firefox, or Chrome

ProductionElements is a potentially dangerous software developed for Mac operating systems. Evidently, people do not install this app intentionally but are tricked into using fake Flash Player installers or pirated application bundles downloaded from dangerous websites. This is one of the main reasons users notice its presence only after using their browser.

Once installed, the ProductionElements virus would change several preferences, drop various files, and apply an extension to Safari, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or any other browser used. The browser add-on, along with the main application, uses a magnifying glass icon placed on a green, teal, or blue background in most cases – a common trait for Adload malware versions.

Changes to the browser's homepage and the new tab are also established immediately as, instead of the default page, users would see something they aren't used to. Typically, Safe Finder – a prominent browser hijacker which targets Macs – is set as the browser's homepage, although other providers might be used as well.

Users might also notice something unusual when the searches are performed: their URL bar would display several different web addresses (Akamaihd, for example) before providing search results through an alternative provider, such as Yahoo. The results would also be filled with sponsored links and ads, which could, in some cases, be dangerous to click on, so we recommend staying away from those.

If you have spotted changes to your browser and other aspects of your Mac's operation due to the ProductionElements infection, you should immediately take action, as there might be a chance that there are more dangerous apps also installed on the system. In this article, we will explain how to clean your system from all the nasties thoroughly.

name ProductionElements
Type Mac virus, adware, browser hijacker
Family AdLoad
Distribution Third-party domains distributing pirated software, software bundles, fake Flash Player updates
Symptoms Installs a browser extension that can not be deleted easily; changes homepage/new tab to Safe Finder or something else; redirects lead to potentially malicious or scam sites, promotes suspicious software, etc.
Risks Identity theft, installation of other malicious/unwanted software, financial losses
Elimination The easiest way to eliminate unwarned and malicious software on Macs is by performing a full system scan with SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes security software. Alternatively, you can attempt to terminate the infection manually
System fix After you terminate the infection with all its associated components, we recommend you also scan your machine with ReimageIntego for best results

Adload family: a Mac problem here to stay

Windows has been dominating the computer market for a very long time now. However, if we look at the second most popular desktop operating system, it is macOS with a 15% market share, in comparison to 75% that of Windows. Despite these statistics, the number of people using Macs is constantly increasing. This is why cybercriminals also started paying more attention to the latter.

The main problem of macOS is adware and has been for some years now. In fact, the production of malicious software for Macs outpaced that of Windows in 2019, which is an alarming statistic. Adload, along with a few other adware families, is particularly active, and its authors are releasing new versions on a regular basis – EdgeAdvanced, LatestStructured, and EdgeManagement are just a few latest additions.

Distribution

There are two different ways most users get infected with Adload – they either are tricked by fake Flash Player updates or install it unintentionally along with illegal software. Here is some advice from security experts[1] that should help you avoid this from happening:

  • Always download software from official sources – pirated apps might be just a disguise for malware;
  • When dealing with software installation, always check the optional components that are being offered and decline them immediately. Watch out of pre-ticked boxes, read the fine print, and always select Advanced settings;
  • Have powerful security software, such as SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes, installed on your system at all times;
  • Never trust prompts that claim that your system has been infected with viruses or that it's missing some type of update – especially Flash Player, as this plugin has been discontinued by its creator Adobe;[2]
  • Be warier when dealing with ads online – use ad-blockers if need be.

ProductionElements Mac virusAdload is commonly spread via fake Flash Player updates

Operation

Initially, Adload versions have a lot of traits of adware and a browser hijacker – they take over browsers, show ads, redirect to potentially dangerous websites, and change the way searches are performed. The main goal of these applications is to expose users to as much commercial content as possible, and it doesn't have to be secure for as long as possible.

In other to be successful in this, the developers of ProductionElements malware use several features that could be easily described as malicious. The takeover of the browser is one of the traits that help malware authors to achieve their goal, as it is the primary source where users can be shown pop-ups, banners, in-text links, and other ads. Likewise, redirects to scams and phishing websites are also not uncommon.

User exposure to malicious content online is just the tip of the iceberg, however. Due to the advanced capabilities of the virus, it is installed with elevated permissions on the system, which allows it to bypass the built-in security measures of Mac, including Gatekeeper and Xprotect.[3]

To add to this, the installed extension usually has permissions that should not be given to any application – to read and gather sensitive user data, including passwords and credit card details. Without a doubt, this can lead to serious privacy issues or even serious consequences such as identity theft. Thus, remove ProductionElements and all the other unwanted applications to make sure that you are secure online.

ProductionElements removal explained

Due to malware's advanced capabilities, we strongly recommend you rely on powerful security software, such as SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner, to remove malicious apps from your device. Many components of the virus are connected to one another and might be difficult to get rid of. If you still want to try doing that, please continue with the instructions below.

Remove the main app

Background processes could hinder the elimination of the malicious application. Therefore, before you do anything, force-close all the suspicious processes running in the background:

  • 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
  • Find ExtendedService in the list and move it to Trash.

Unwanted Profiles/Login items

Upon infiltration, ProductionElements might create new Profiles and Login items, which might make the removal of all its components a difficult task. You can try removing them with the help of the following 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.

Get rid of the extension

This step might not be easy to accomplish, as the extension might be grayed out within the web browser, preventing it from being removed. If that is the case for you, ignore the steps on the extension removal and head directly to the browser reset section under it.

Note: if you are using Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, scroll to the very bottom of this post.

  • Click Safari > Preferences…
  • In the new window, pick Extensions.
  • Select the unwanted extension and select Uninstall.Remove extensions from Safari

Next, clean your browser caches and web data. This would prevent third parties from tracking you with the help of cookies and other technologies. It is overall recommended to clean web browsers from time to time for better security and privacy. Instead of doing it manually, you can instead employ a maintenance tool ReimageIntego.

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

If the above was not possible for you, reset the browser altogether:

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

Delete remaining files

The PLIST files are small config files, also known as “Properly list.” They hold various user settings and hold information about certain applications. In order to remove the virus, you have to find the related PLIST files and remove them.

  • 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

You may remove virus damage with a help of ReimageIntego. 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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Compatible with Microsoft Windows Compatible with macOS
What to do if failed?
If you failed to fix virus damage using Reimage Intego, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage Intego has a free limited scanner. Reimage 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 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.

Getting rid of ProductionElements Mac virus. Follow these steps

FirefoxChrome

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 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

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
FirefoxChrome

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

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 ProductionElements 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: ReimageIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes.

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
Alice Woods
Alice Woods - Likes to teach users about virus prevention

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