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Remove Shlayer Trojan virus (Virus Removal Guide) - updated Feb 2019

removal by Alice Woods - - | Type: Adware

Shlayer Trojan virus is the threat that disables Gatekeeper to run malicious payloads on macOS devices

Shlayer Trojan virus

Shlayer Trojan virus is malicious software that targets Mac users and is typically installed via BitTorrent file sharing sites or fake Adobe Flash updates. Also known as OSX/Shlayer or Crossrider, the threat is especially dangerous because it establishes configuration profiles which increase the persistence and users struggle when trying to get rid of it. The most recent variant of the virus that spreads via rogue Flash Player updates focuses on disabling the macOS Gatekeeper security agent.[1] The discovery was made by TAU researchers, and according to them, versions from 10.10.5 to 10/12/.3 can get affected by this updated version. The malicious installer uses DMG, .pkg, .iso, .or zip file formats.

Name Shlayer Trojan virus
Also known as OSX/Shlayer, Crossrider
Type Trojan horse, adware
Affected systems macOS
First discovered  2018
Symptoms Aggressive pop-ups lead to insecure sites, the computer is filled with programs the user never installed, altered search engine and homepage, etc. 
Recently discovered features Disabling macOS Gatekeeper security agent to distribute malicious payloads
Distribution Fake Adobe Flash updates, cracks, BitTorrent sites
Elimination Download and install reputable security software
Optimization To revert the damage done by the virus, scan your Mac with Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego

The primary purpose of Shlayer Trojan virus is to download and install various potentially unwanted programs, such as Advanced Mac Cleaner or Mac Cleanup Pro. Initially, Apple does not allow automatic installations of apps that do not come from Apple store, but Shlayer Trojan enables such functionality and macOS gets filled with bloatware that degrade the operation of the device. It is also known that the malware changes Google Chrome's or other browser's search engine to[2]

Shlayer Trojan virus is one of the most well-known malware that is designed for Macs. Users typically wonder around BitTorrent sites and download a crack for legitimate software. It is not surprising that such illegal tools are often malicious, and most of the security applications will detect the file as malware, regardless of its functionality.

Alternatively, users might get infected when they get redirected to a malicious site that prompts them to update Adobe Flash. When Shlayer Trojan virus is launched, it will display two installation methods: Express (recommended) or Custom Installation (expert). If the latter is chosen, users can see what is actually being installed:

Custom installation (expert)

  • Install Adobe Flash Player & MyShopcoupon.
  • Install ChumSearch.
  • Install maccleaner.

Shlayer Trojan virus installer will install the following onto the macOS:

Once installed, Shlayer Trojan virus will perform the scan using Advanced Mac Cleaner and activate Siri's voice that says that the computer has multiple problems (which is obviously a lie). As typical to scareware, it will show numerous issues and, users who want to fix them need to pay a hefty $107 for it. As evident, users should ignore these warning and remove Shlayer Trojan virus together with the unwanted programs that it installed.

However, even after Shlayer Trojan virus removal, users will not be able to get rid of all the traces left by PUPs because it sets up a malicious configuration profile that lingers until the profile is deleted. We explain below how to accomplish that. Until then, users will still see as their main page on Safari and Chrome.

Shlayer Trojan Shlayer Trojan is the virus that came back to the internet with a new Mac OS targeting campaign. In February 2019, Carbon Black's Threat Analysis Unit discovered a new campaign with additional features. This time  Shlayer Trojan virus spreading via rogue Flash Player updates. This aggressive campaign now is not targeting BitTorrent users and spreading malware more worldly.

As researchers reported, samples discovered during their analysis affects most of the newest versions:

Samples discovered by TAU have been seen to affect versions of macOS from 10.10.5 to 10.14.3. To this point, all discovered samples of this malware have targeted only macOS. The malware employs multiple levels of obfuscation and is capable of privilege escalation. 

Attackers use the legitimate code signing through Apple's developer program and that allows them to bypass MacOS's restrictions and warnings that are enforced using gatekeeper. However, Shlayer virus still uses shell scripts to deploy secondary payloads, run commands and execute scripts.

The final payload collects information from the system, creates a unique ID for the infected device and downloads other malware from the remote server. That secondary malware payload is an .app executable, as TAU report writes:

Once the malware has elevated to root privileges, it attempts to download additional software (observed to be adware in the analyzed samples) and disables Gatekeeper for the downloaded software using spctl. This allows the whitelisted software to run without user intervention even if the system is set to disallow unknown applications downloaded from the internet.

Shlayer Trojan virus can read and transmit the data you type while the malware is installed. It means that your name, passwords, and even banking details are at risk of the exposure. In addition, users will suffer from constant ads and redirects during their web browsing.

To detect the unwanted software on your device, check your applications folder. If you see any apps you never installed or the ones mentioned above – you should be concerned. The best way to protect your Mac is by employing reputable security software. We recommend using Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego or SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner, although you can use any other trusted AV engine that would detect malicious processes automatically.

Shlayer Trojan malwareShlayer Trojan virus is a dangerous cyber threat that is programmed to download and install PUPs and malware automatically

Forget Adobe Flash or never install its updates from third-party sites

Adobe Flash is an outdated platform and is barely used anymore, as it will be shut down in 2020.[3] The player is known to have multiple security flaws,[4] and have been abused by cybercriminals for years (fake updates). Besides, most modern browsers have the feature already built-in, so there is no need to download Adobe Flash.

However, if you ever find the need for Adobe Flash, download it from the official website. Additionally, set it to click-to-run mode, so that it would not launch automatically on dangerous sites.

As it is typical of malware, it is widely spread on BitTorrent sites. Therefore, experts[5] recommend staying away from them. However, if you will be torrenting, keep in mind the following:

  • Do not download cracks or keygens;
  • Employ security software and keep it updated;
  • Enable Firewall;
  • Download ad-blocking software;
  • Keep your system and software updated;
  • Read comments before downloading;
  • Scan each unknown file with anti-malware software.

Remove Shlayer Trojan virus with the help of these instructions

The first thing you have to do is to remove Shlayer Trojan virus and the applications that it installed. If you are savvy enough, you can proceed simply go Application folder and look for apps mentioned above. However, be aware that OSX/Shlayer is designed to download and install unknown programs automatically. Therefore, we recommend users using profession software that could take care of Shlayer Trojan virus removal automatically.

Once the unwanted applications are removed, you will have to delete the malicious profile that Shlayer Trojan created. Please follow these steps:

  • Go to System Preferences;
  • Click on Profiles;
  • Locate a suspicious profile;
  • Remove it by clicking on the “-” button.

Finally, we recommend resetting each of the installed browsers as described below.

You may remove virus damage with a help of Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego. 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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Reimage Happiness
Intego Happiness
Compatible with Microsoft Windows Supported versions Compatible with OS X Supported versions
What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove 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.

To remove Shlayer Trojan virus, follow these steps:

Delete Shlayer Trojan from Mac OS X system

To remove Shlayer Trojan virus from your Mac, follow these steps:

If your macOS is displaying some infection symptoms, proceed with the following guide:

Remove Shlayer Trojan from Applications folder:

  1. From the menu bar, select Go > Applications.
  2. In the Applications folder, look for Shlayer Trojan-related entries.
  3. Click on the app and drag it to Trash (or right-click and pick Move to Trash)Uninstall from Mac 1

To fully remove Shlayer Trojan, you need to access Application Support, LaunchAgents, and LaunchDaemons folders and delete relevant files:

  1. Select Go > Go to Folder.
  2. Enter /Library/Application Support and click Go or press Enter.
  3. In the Application Support folder, look for any dubious entries related to Shlayer Trojan and then delete them.
  4. Now enter /Library/LaunchAgents and /Library/LaunchDaemons folders the same way and terminate all the Shlayer Trojan-related entries.Uninstall from Mac 2

Remove Shlayer Trojan virus from Microsoft Edge

To make sure all the settings are reset on MS Edge, follow these instructions:

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 Shlayer Trojan-related 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

Reset MS Edge if that 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 DeleteAdvanced 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” -VerboseAdvanced 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 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

Eliminate Shlayer Trojan 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 plugins that are related to Shlayer Trojan and click Remove.Remove extensions from 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

In case Shlayer Trojan did not get removed after following the instructions above, 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 – this should complete Shlayer Trojan removal.Reset Firefox 2

Get rid of Shlayer Trojan 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 Shlayer Trojan 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

If the above-methods did not help you, reset Google Chrome to eliminate all the Shlayer Trojan-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 to complete Shlayer Trojan removal.Reset Chrome 2

Erase Shlayer Trojan from Safari

You need to reset Safari by performing these steps:

Remove unwanted extensions from Safari:

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

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. It is a hassle when your website is protected from suspicious connections and unauthorized IP addresses.

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 server or network manager that need to monitor connections and activities. This is how you bypass some of the authentications factors and can remotely use your banking accounts without triggering suspicious with each login. 

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. It is better to clock the access to your website from different IP addresses. So you can keep the project safe and secure when you have the dedicated IP address VPN and protected access to the content management system.

Backup files for the later use, in case of the malware attack

Computer users can suffer from data losses due to cyber infections or their own faulty doings. Ransomware can encrypt and hold files hostage, while unforeseen power cuts might cause a loss of important documents. If you have proper up-to-date backups, you can easily recover after such an incident and get back to work. It is also equally important to update backups on a regular basis so that the newest information remains intact – you can set this process to be performed automatically.

When you have the previous version of every important document or project you can avoid frustration and breakdowns. It comes in handy when malware strikes out of nowhere. Use Data Recovery Pro for the data restoration process.

About the author
Alice Woods
Alice Woods - Likes to teach users about virus prevention

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