Here we go again.

You might recall that a few months ago I got to spend some time removing MacKeeper from a Mac. Then last week, the call came from downstairs where my spouse was using her Mac. From the sound of her voice, I was sure it wasn't good.

Allow me to paraphrase.... "Something just popped up on my screen about an automatic update." It didn't take long to figure out that an app named Mac Auto Fixer was that something and that my spouse didn't install it.

This all sounded suspiciously like a number of other software products that (1) show up on a Mac, seemingly out of thin air, (2) offer to do one thing, but (3) might do something else.

Mac Auto Fixer advertises itself on its website as a "Cleanup Utility for Mac".

So I deleted the app, took a look around in the usual places in the home folder (Application Support, Launch Daemons, LaunchAgents, Preferences) and Safari extensions, deleted what looked suspicious, and waited for the app to reappear.

Sure enough, it did.

So what is Mac Auto Fixer?

Mac Auto Fixer advertises itself on its website as a "Cleanup Utility for Mac".

Web search research for Mac Auto Fixer also turned up a link to a product called Mac Tonic. It appears that Mac Auto Fixer is a reincarnation of that former app, since the verbiage on the websites for the two products is in large part the same. A little more searching about Mac Tonic brought up web pages about how to delete it as well as links to third-party software that would also do the trick.

In addition, a search of malwarebytes.com included a forum post from a user who reported "I had Advanced Mac Cleaner on my research VM. It showed update and downloaded Mac Auto Fixer."

Bingo!

Within a few hours, the folks at Malwarebytes responded, "Thanks for the heads-up! We're detecting that now."

How to remove Mac Auto Fixer

I had already tried to delete Mac Auto Fixer manually but was pretty sure there were probably some hidden remnants. So I turned to Malwarebytes.

If you haven't already heard of Malwarebytes, it's an anti-virus program that detects unwanted leftover bits of coding that can oftentimes be left behind, even when you think you've deleted the offending program. You can use it for free on a one-time basis if your Mac is already infected. If you want full-time protection, you can upgrade to the premium version for $39.99 per year for one Mac, $49.99 per year for two computers, and $59.99 per year for three computers. The per-unit price gets cheaper the more computers you license it for.

See at Malwarebytes

  1. Open Malwarebytes.
  2. Click Scan Now.

    Open Malwarebytes, then click Scan Now

  3. In the results window, check the box for each item to be deleted and click Confirm.
  4. Click Restart.

    Tick the box for each item you want to delete, then click Confirm, then click Restart

If you launch Malwarebytes and run the scan again, you can rejoice in the purge.

Rejoice!

A PUP By Any Other Name Would Still Not Smell Sweet

Potentially Unwanted Programs will probably keep resurfacing. What PUPs are you seeing and how are you handling them? Let us know in the comments below.

MacBook Pro

Main