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How to avoid installation of Tarmac malware

Also Known As: OSX/Tarmac trojan
Type: Mac Virus
Damage level: Severe

What is Tarmac?

Tarmac is malicious software categorized as a trojan and also known by the name OSX/Tarmac. This trojan is distributed through other malware called OSX/Shlayer.D, which is a new variant of the OSX/Shlayer malicious program. OSX/Shlayer.D typically injects Tarmac via fake Adobe Flash updaters/installers.

Tarmac can be used to download, install, and execute malicious apps. I.e., to infect computers with other malware. To prevent this, we strongly recommend that you remove Tarmac from your system immediately.

Tarmac trojan distributing fake flash player installer

OSX/Shlayer.D malware downloads and executes Tarmac using two applications that embed two code-signed and RSA-encrypted scripts. The OSX/Shlayer.D script achieves this by connecting to the Control and Command server of Tarmac malware, downloading and then executing an encrypted archive that contains Tarmac.

The Tarmac launcher loads this malware from its folder (Player.app/Contents/Resources/Player.app/Contents/MacOS/CB61E0A8408E) with administrator privileges. Once this is done, it asks the user to enter the administrator's password.

If the victim enters it, Tarmac loads WebView, which mimics the installer of Flash Player, however, the malware will run even if the credentials are not entered - entering them will simply lead to opening the fake Adobe Flash Player installer and, potentially, login/password theft (this data is often saved to a remote server).

Once installation of Tarmac is complete, WebView loads a legitimate installer of Flash Player just to trick users into believing that the installation is successful. Tarmac receives commands through the Command & Control server. These can be used to perform various actions.

For example, to force browsers to open addresses that lead to the download web pages of software (possibly, malware). Other commands might be used to download, install, and execute various applications. It is likely that cyber criminals use Tarmac to proliferate malware (infect computers with other malicious programs).

For example, ransomware, banking malware, etc. In most cases, trojans are used to proliferate software that is capable of stealing personal information, including passwords, logins, and other sensitive details. Furthermore, installed malware can be designed encrypt data so that cyber criminals are able to blackmail victims by forcing them to pay ransoms.

In any case, Tarmac/OSX/Tarmac must be removed immediately. The same applies to OSX/Shlayer.D malware.

Threat Summary:
Name OSX/Tarmac trojan
Threat Type Mac malware, Mac virus.
Detection Names Avast (Other:Malware-gen [Trj]), BitDefender (Adware.MAC.Bundlore.DPS), eScan (Adware.MAC.Bundlore.DPS), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan-Downloader.OSX.Shlayer.a), Full List (VirusTotal)
Symptoms Trojans are designed to stealthily infiltrate the victim's computer and remain silent, and thus no particular symptoms are clearly visible on an infected machine.
Distribution methods Fake flash updater, infected email attachments, malicious online advertisements, social engineering, software 'cracks'.
Damage Stolen passwords and banking information, identity theft, the victim's computer added to a botnet, installation of malware.
Malware Removal (Mac)

To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your Mac with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
▼ Download Combo Cleaner for Mac
To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Combo Cleaner. Limited seven days free trial available. Combo Cleaner is owned and operated by Rcs Lt, the parent company of PCRisk.com read more.

More examples of trojans (programs that are often used to spread other malware) are Casbaneiro, Tortoiseshell, and Torpig

Their payloads might be different, however, cyber criminals commonly use software of this type to distribute high-risk malware. Therefore, a computer infected with trojan-type software can lead to serious problems. Information about how to avoid installation of malware is provided below.

How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?

Tarmac is distributed through OSX/Shlayer.D, another malware infection that installs it through an 'installer' disguised as an installer/updater of Adobe Flash Player. Research shows that OSX/Shlayer.D is distributed through various deceptive web pages, which inform visitors that the installed Adobe Flash Player is out-of-date.

It encourages them to update it by downloading a file that, if executed, infects computer with OSX/Shlayer.D malware. This, in turn, injects Tarmac. In summary, computers infected with Tarmac are often the result of using a fake installation promoted on a deceptive, unofficial website.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications

Download and installation of malware can be avoided by not using fake software updaters/installers. Software must be updated using only tools, implemented functions and/or websites owned/created by official software developers. The same applies to activation of licensed software.

Unofficial ('cracking') tools are illegal and are often designed to proliferate malware. Do not download programs or files from dubious, unofficial websites, through Peer-to-Peer networks, third party downloaders, etc. The safest way to download programs and files is using official web pages and direct download links.

Emails that are sent from unknown, suspicious addresses and contain attachments should not be trusted. Cyber criminals often disguise them as official, important, etc., however, when the attached file is opened, it installs malware. Finally, have reputable antivirus or anti-spyware software installed and scan the operating system with it regularly.

If your computer is already infected with PUAs, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate them.

Screenshots of deceptive websites encouraging visitors to update Flash Player with a fake updater:

fake mac flash player updater 1 fake mac flash player updater 2 fake mac flash player updater distributing flash security patches

Screenshots of a fake Flash Player installer:

Tarmac scam fake flash installer fake flash installer 2 fake flash installer 3

Tarmac installer asking for administrator privileges:

tarmac asking for administrator privileges

Website that is opened after installation of Tarmac:

tarmac redirects to a download page of questionable software

Instant automatic Mac malware removal: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Combo Cleaner is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of Mac malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
▼ DOWNLOAD Combo Cleaner for Mac By downloading any software listed on this website you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Combo Cleaner. Limited seven days free trial available. Combo Cleaner is owned and operated by Rcs Lt, the parent company of PCRisk.com read more.

Quick menu:

Video showing how to remove adware and browser hijackers from a Mac computer:

Potentially unwanted applications removal:

Remove potentially unwanted applications from your "Applications" folder:

mac browser hijacker removal from applications folder

Click the Finder icon. In the Finder window, select "Applications". In the applications folder, look for "MPlayerX", "NicePlayer", or other suspicious applications and drag them to the Trash. After removing the potentially unwanted application(s) that cause online ads, scan your Mac for any remaining unwanted components.

Remove adware-related files and folders

Mac Go To Folder step

Click the Finder icon, from the menu bar. Choose Go, and click Go to Folder...

Mac removing related files and folders - step 1Check for adware generated files in the /Library/LaunchAgents/ folder:

Mac go to /Library/LaunchAgents - step 1

In the Go to Folder... bar, type: /Library/LaunchAgents/

Mac go to /Library/LaunchAgents - step 2

In the "LaunchAgents" folder, look for any recently-added suspicious files and move them to the Trash. Examples of files generated by adware - "installmac.AppRemoval.plist", "myppes.download.plist", "mykotlerino.ltvbit.plist", "kuklorest.update.plist", etc. Adware commonly installs several files with the exact same string.

Mac removing related files and folders - step 2Check for adware generated files in the ~/Library/Application Support/ folder:

Mac go to /Library/Application Support - step 1

In the Go to Folder... bar, type: ~/Library/Application Support/

Mac go to /Library/Application Support - step 2

In the "Application Support" folder, look for any recently-added suspicious folders. For example, "MplayerX" or "NicePlayer", and move these folders to the Trash.

Mac removing related files and folders - step 3Check for adware generated files in the ~/Library/LaunchAgents/ folder:

Mac go to ~/Library/LaunchAgents - step 1

In the Go to Folder... bar, type: ~/Library/LaunchAgents/

Mac go to ~/Library/LaunchAgents - step 2

In the "LaunchAgents" folder, look for any recently-added suspicious files and move them to the Trash. Examples of files generated by adware - "installmac.AppRemoval.plist", "myppes.download.plist", "mykotlerino.ltvbit.plist", "kuklorest.update.plist", etc. Adware commonly installs several files with the exact same string.

Mac removing related files and folders - step 4Check for adware generated files in the /Library/LaunchDaemons/ folder:

Mac go to /Library/LaunchDaemons - step 1

In the "Go to Folder..." bar, type: /Library/LaunchDaemons/

Mac go to /Library/LaunchDaemons - step 2

In the "LaunchDaemons" folder, look for recently-added suspicious files. For example "com.aoudad.net-preferences.plist", "com.myppes.net-preferences.plist", "com.kuklorest.net-preferences.plist", "com.avickUpd.plist", etc., and move them to the Trash.

Mac removing malware related files and folders - step 5Scan your Mac with Combo Cleaner:

If you have followed all the steps correctly, your Mac should be clean of infections. To ensure your system is not infected, run a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus. Download it HERE. After downloading the file, double click combocleaner.dmg installer. In the opened window, drag and drop the Combo Cleaner icon on top of the Applications icon. Now open your launchpad and click on the Combo Cleaner icon. Wait until Combo Cleaner updates its virus definition database and click the "Start Combo Scan" button.

Mac remove malware with Combo Cleaner - step 1

Combo Cleaner will scan your Mac for malware infections. If the antivirus scan displays "no threats found" - this means that you can continue with the removal guide; otherwise, it's recommended to remove any found infections before continuing.

Mac remove malware with Combo Cleaner - step 2

After removing files and folders generated by the adware, continue to remove rogue extensions from your Internet browsers.

Remove malicious extensions from Internet browsers

Safari iconRemove malicious Safari extensions:

Removal of malicious extensions in Safari - step 1

Open the Safari browser, from the menu bar, select "Safari" and click "Preferences...".

Removal of malicious extensions in Safari - step 2

In the preferences window, select "Extensions" and look for any recently-installed suspicious extensions. When located, click the "Uninstall" button next to it/them. Note that you can safely uninstall all extensions from your Safari browser - none are crucial for regular browser operation.

  • If you continue to have problems with browser redirects and unwanted advertisements - Reset Safari.

Google Chrome logoRemove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:

Removal of malicious extensions in Google Chrome - step 1

Click the Chrome menu icon Google Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "More Tools" and click "Extensions". Locate all recently-installed suspicious extensions, select these entries and click "Remove".

Removal of malicious extensions in Google Chrome - step 2

  • If you continue to have problems with browser redirects and unwanted advertisements - Reset Google Chrome.

Mozilla Firefox logoRemove malicious extensions from Mozilla Firefox:

Removal of malicious extensions in Mozilla Firefox - step 1

Click the Firefox menu firefox menu icon (at the top right corner of the main window) and select "Add-ons and themes". Click "Extensions", in the opened window locate all recently-installed suspicious extensions, click on the three dots and then click "Remove".

Removal of malicious extensions in Mozilla Firefox - step 2

  • If you continue to have problems with browser redirects and unwanted advertisements - Reset Mozilla Firefox.

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About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

PCrisk security portal is brought by a company RCS LT. Joined forces of security researchers help educate computer users about the latest online security threats. More information about the company RCS LT.

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Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

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