VastVista Mac virus (Free Instructions)

VastVista Mac virus Removal Guide

What is VastVista Mac virus?

VastVista – a malicious Mac application that reads your personal information and floods your browser with ads

VastVistaVastVista is a malicious application that avoids XProtext and Gatekeeper

Once considered a myth, Mac malware is not only real but has become much more prevalent over the past few years. According to research done a few years ago, Mac malware even outpaced that of Windows,[1] which is a rather alarming statistic. However, unlike the latter, macOS is commonly plagued by adware and similar potentially unwanted applications rather than devastating infections like ransomware.

VastVista is one of the parasites that you might find running on your device one day. The virus belongs to a widespread family of Mac malware known as Adload, with hundreds of variants released so far. Its distribution methods – fake Flash Player updates and pirated software installers – ensure that the strain remains active, with hundreds of daily victims.

Once on the system, the malware drops plenty of malicious files to establish persistence, all while avoiding the built-in defenses of Mac. It consists of two components: the main application installed on the system level and the browser extension appended to Safari, Chrome, Firefox, or another browser, which results in a change of browser settings, including to homepage and new tab address, as well as the search provider.

This allows the VastVista virus to produce excessive and intrusive advertisements that might lead to phishing content online and, consequently, more infections or personal data exposure to cybercriminals. The app is also capable of tracking personal information, including credit card details and account login data.

Name VastVista
Type Mac virus, adware, browser hijacker
Malware family Adload
Distribution Pirated application installers, fake Flash Player updates, or other fake ads
Symptoms A new extension is installed on the browser, along with an application of the same name; search and browsing settings altered to an alternative search provider; new profiles and login items set up on the account; intrusive ads and redirects
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 After you get rid of the infection, we recommend you also scan your machine with ReimageIntego to clean your browsers and junk that the infection might have left

How Adload variants spread

It is evident that users would not install malware on their systems deliberately, and VastVista virus authors are well aware of that. Therefore, they use distribution methods that would make people install it themselves without realizing it – fake Flash installers and pirated applications downloaded from insecure sites.

It goes without saying that you should not download any files or even visit websites that distribute illegal apps. Not only is it illegal, but peer-to-peer networks are known to be filled with malware and malicious ads.

When it comes to fake Flash installers, it is worth mentioning that Adobe has long discontinued the plugin as it was outdated by current technology standards, had to constantly be patched for vulnerabilities,[2] and is constantly being exploited in phishing campaigns to distribute malware.

Researchers have discovered that distribution campaigns have a lot in common with Bundlore and Shlayer payloads. All of them are mainly distributed via signed Flash Player installers and tend to avoid detection by Mac's defenses. It could be that the authors of these campaigns are the same, although one can never know for sure.

VastVista virusMalware spreads via fake Flash Player installers

Persistence

Adload is one of the most prevalent malware families targeting Macs out there. First discovered in 2017, it continues to adapt and evolve, even though its operational principles aren't too complex. Malware authors use DMG files signed with a valid certificate, which Mac recognizes as acceptable to install, without activating its built-in defenses.

As soon as privileges are granted, the VastVista virus uses the built-in AppleScript to drop several malicious files in various folders on the system, which increases its persistence. Malware is also added to the exception list of Gatekeeper and XProtect,[3] which allows it to be launched without being stopped every time a user boots their device.

VastVista removal explained

Due to various persistence mechanisms, removing malware from the system might be quite difficult. The virus drops plenty of malicious files in Application Support, Services, LaunchDaemons, etc. – it might not be an easy task to find and delete them all manually. Therefore, we recommend instead taking care of the removal process with the help of third-party anti-malware software, such as SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes.

If you still want to attempt manual elimination, we provide the instructions below, although be warned that this might not fully get rid of the VastVista virus.

1. Stop malicious processes and remove the main app

To make sure that the removal process goes smoothly, try terminating malware-related background processes:

  • Open Applications folder
  • Select Utilities
  • Double-click Activity Monitor
  • Here, look for suspicious processes and use the Force Quit command to shut them down

Your next task is to find and remove the main application that may be installed on your device:

  • From the menu bar, select Go > Applications.
  • In the Applications folder, look for all related entries.
  • Click on the app and drag it to Trash (or right-click and pick Move to Trash)

2. Delete persistence 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 terminate all the related .plist files.Uninstall from Mac 2

3. Remove malicious profiles

  • 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.

4. Check your browser

To ensure that all the virus components are eliminated, make sure you don't forget to tackle issues on your browser. If you have chosen automatic removal, the extension components should have been deleted already; if not, proceed with the following:

Safari

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

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

To prevent adware from tracking all websites, you visit and links you click, ensure you remove browser caches. To do it once and clean your system from other junk files, we recommend using ReimageIntego; manual steps are explained below.

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

Google 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 you were unable to eradicate malware components within your web browser, you could simply reset it as we explain below. Your bookmarks and other preferences will not get lost as long as you remember your account details. Proceed with the following to reset your browser:

Safari

  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

Google Chrome

  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

If you are using MS Edge or Mozilla Firefox, check out the instructions below.

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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 VastVista Mac virus. Follow these steps

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
EdgeFirefox

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

How to prevent from getting adware

Stream videos without limitations, no matter where you are

There are multiple parties that could find out almost anything about you by checking your online activity. While this is highly unlikely, advertisers and tech companies are constantly tracking you online. The first step to privacy should be a secure browser that focuses on tracker reduction to a minimum.

Even if you employ a secure browser, you will not be able to access websites that are restricted due to local government laws or other reasons. In other words, you may not be able to stream Disney+ or US-based Netflix in some countries. To bypass these restrictions, you can employ a powerful Private Internet Access VPN, which provides dedicated servers for torrenting and streaming, not slowing you down in the process.

Data backups are important – recover your lost files

Ransomware is one of the biggest threats to personal data. Once it is executed on a machine, it launches a sophisticated encryption algorithm that locks all your files, although it does not destroy them. The most common misconception is that anti-malware software can return files to their previous states. This is not true, however, and data remains locked after the malicious payload is deleted.

While regular data backups are the only secure method to recover your files after a ransomware attack, tools such as Data Recovery Pro can also be effective and restore at least some of your lost data.

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

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