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OperativeQueue Mac virus

What is OperativeQueue Mac virus?

OperativeQueue is a Mac virus that threatens your privacy and security

OperativeQueue

OperativeQueue is a type of malicious software that stems from a well-established malware family Adload, which is known to attack Mac systems exclusively. Spreading via fake Flash Player updates or malicious software bundles downloaded from illegitimate websites, this virus might get into users’ systems unnoticed, although infection symptoms would follow.

Upon installation, OperativeQueue would install the main component and a browser extension on Safari, Chrome, or another browser. With its help, it would change the search results and sometimes the homepage of the browser in order to manipulate users accessing sponsored links and clicking on ads. In the background, the extension could harvest personal details as well, which can lead to serious privacy issues.

NameOperativeQueue
TypeMac virus, adware, browser hijacker
Malware familyAdload
DistributionThird-party websites distributing pirated software, software bundles, fake Flash Player updates
SymptomsAn extension installed on the browser with elevated permissions, along with an application of the same name; new profiles and login items set up on the account; malicious ads shown during web browsing activities; search and browsing settings changed to another search provider
RemovalThe 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 optimizationFor best performance and system remediation, employ ReimageIntego. Also, cleaning web browser caches is highly advised after the elimination of malware for better privacy and security

What we know about Adload and its numerous versions

It was once commonly believed that Macs were immune to malware due to the smaller market share of macOS compared to Windows. However, this belief has been proven to be false in recent years as the number of threats targeting macOS has increased.

Hackers have started to develop and release malware that specifically targets Macs, and as a result, users must now also be cautious when downloading software and navigating the internet. While Macs are still considered to be less vulnerable to malware than Windows computers, it is no longer accurate to say that they are immune.

Adload malware family that the OperativeQueue virus stems from is just one of many examples of how cybercriminals managed to break into Macs steadily. Since it was launched in 2022, hundreds of versions have been produced by its authors, including DigitalSection, IdentityStack, EssentialModule, and many more.

Although the dissimilarities between these versions of malware are minimal, cybercriminals frequently refine and alter them to ensure that detection is incredibly difficult. All these variants feature a recognizable magnifying icon, often situated on backgrounds in green, teal, or grey shades. It always consists of two fundamental components – an extension for your web browser and an app installed at the system level.

Researchers have uncovered associations between other malware and the “Player.app” (or sometimes, “Install.app”) malicious file, which is used to deliver infections like Bundlore and Shlayer. It remains unknown whether or not these viruses were designed by the same people, but their developers remain anonymous as of now.

OperativeQueue virus

How to avoid being a victim of OperativeQueue and similar malware

Adload uses simple but effective distribution and operations strategies that are successful on Mac operating systems. As a result, numerous Apple devices become infected by malicious software. To prevent infection, abstain from downloading programs from illicit software sites and be alert for fake Flash Player updates.

Adload is also capable of stealing personal information from a system or network. To protect yourself from data theft, use strong passwords for all accounts and beware of phishing attempts that may attempt to acquire sensitive data such as login credentials or banking information. Additionally, keep your anti-virus program updated and have a firewall enabled at all times, and never ignore warnings from them.

Additionally, make sure to keep your computer and software updated so that any security flaws can be quickly addressed. While OperativeQueue authors have not yet changed distribution methods, they might do so at any time, so be wary.

Removal explained

OperativeQueue runs on the system with escalated privileges, making it more difficult to remove than a typical app. In addition to dropping dangerous files, this application creates new profiles and login items. With AppleScript’s assistance, malware can bypass detection by XProtect and Gatekeeper. Even if you manage to eliminate the core files of the main app or extension, they may easily reappear again.

The best way to remove OperativeQueue from your Mac is to use anti-malware software. The scan will detect and remove malicious files and the associated malware, including any persistent ones. It’s important to update the software regularly so that it can detect new threats. The virus can be a tricky piece of malware to remove; however, with the right tools and knowledge, you can easily get rid of it from your Mac and keep it safe from future infections.

That being said, if you want to remove the threat manually, you can do so by following the instructions below, although keep in mind that the infection may come back if some of its components remain on the system.

Your first step should be to access Activity Monitor and forcibly shut down any processes related to the malicious threat. Once you have done that, then you may attempt to remove the primary application.

  • 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 it in the list and move it to Trash.Uninstall from Mac 1

Login items guarantee the application starts running immediately after a computer is powered on, and Profiles can be used to organize various account configurations. Eliminating them is a vital step in malware’s removal process:

  • 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.

The PLIST files are small config files, also known as “Properly list.” They hold various user settings and hold information about certain applications. To remove the virus, you should find the related PLIST files and delete them as follows:

  • 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

Cleaning web browsers and removing the extension

The OperativeQueue extension plays a critical role in the malicious program’s operations. It alters fundamental browser settings (homepage, new tab address, and search provider) to guarantee that users are constantly exposed to advertisements. Malware can further leverage it to access all data typed into the website, including account passwords and credit card details.

If you opted for the automatic elimination method, your browser extension should already be removed – don’t worry about it. However, if manual removal was chosen as the solution of choice, double-check to ensure that the extension has been successfully deleted from your device.

You should also clean web browsers from cached files and cookies to prevent data tracking and the possible recurrence of redirects and ads. To do so quickly, employ ReimageIntego, and if you prefer the manual method, please follow the steps below.

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.

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.

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 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, 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 OperativeQueue 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.

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.

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.