How to Remove CentralHint (Mac)

The unknown browser extension CentralHint has the ability to access computers without the users’ permission. The program’s creators tout it as a useful and capable tool for Mac users. Similar to regular software, installation is necessary before users can utilize all of its features. The question is, though, whether CentralHint is secure enough to run on a Mac. Does it not harm or spread infections? As is common knowledge, a large number of potentially unwanted programs (PUP) and adware are currently active online, posing a threat to computers as well as web browser software.

Screenshot of CentralHint

CentralHint is a PUP

CentralHint is a browser hijacker and a Potentially Unwanted Program (PUP). This tool’s behavior is what led to its classification because it is exactly like that of other dubious browser add-ons, TerabyteLogoff, SkillChange, and GlobalNetSearch. Its harmful features are active without the Mac user’s knowledge. It enters a computer without authorization and changes how the system works. CentralHint monitors the user’s personal information kept on the main web browser as well as its actions (such as search history, links visited, and other things). After that, CentralHint will alter the browser by changing the default search engine to one that is not desired. According to CentralHint operation, the home page, new tab page, and search engine will be updated.

Malicious ads will start to appear on screens more often, thanks to CentralHint. These are similar to standard advertisements in the form of campaign banners, deals, surveys, pop-ups, and commercials. Despite their seemingly harmless appearance, these advertisements pose a risk to users’ devices. It can link web users to fraudulent web pages or even deadly sites if clicked on purposefully or accidentally. Sites where a user’s identity or personal information can be revealed or exploited by attackers to make money online, such as adult-related sites, scam and phishing websites, or sale-based websites.

The origin of CentralHint adware

PUP’s and adware can penetrate devices without permission, as was already established. Computers can be infected by programs like CentralHint due to software bundle packages or clicking random advertising while browsing the internet. Software that is supplied for installation as a bundle is referred to as “bundling.” These bundles can conceal CentralHint, allowing it to access the computer without the user’s permission. Another way is through clicking on advertisements; however, not all online advertisements are trustworthy. Developers will sometimes employ malware-associated advertising to market their apps or programs in an effort to deceive customers and make money.

CentralHint actually damages computers and jeopardizes the internet anonymity of Mac users. It is not advised to use it for anything. The best course of action is to refrain from installing CentralHint. It’s crucial to use caution when downloading or installing programs or apps. Check your device with tools to see if any unusual parasites are present.

Procedures to Remove CentralHint from Mac

This area contains comprehensive procedures to help you remove adware and potentially unwanted program from the computer. Guide on this page are written in a manner that can be easily understand and execute by Mac users.

Quick Fix - Scan the Mac Computer with Combo Cleaner

Combo Cleaner is a trusted Mac utility application with complete antivirus and optimization features. It is useful in dealing with adware, malware, and PUP's. Moreover, it can get rid of adware like CentralHint. You may need to purchase the full version if you want to maximize its premium features.

1. Download the tool from the following page:

2. Double-click the downloaded file and proceed with the installation.

3. In the opened window, drag and drop the Combo Cleaner icon onto your Applications folder icon.

Install Combo Cleaner

4. Open your Launchpad and click on the Combo Cleaner icon.

5. Wait until your antivirus downloads its latest virus definition updates.

6. Next, click on "Start Combo Scan" to start removing CentralHint.

Combo Cleaner Scanner

7. Free features of Combo Cleaner include Disk Cleaner, Big Files finder, Duplicate files finder, and Uninstaller. To use antivirus and privacy scanner, users have to upgrade to a premium version.

Proceed with the rest of the removal steps if you are comfortable manually removing malicious objects associated with the threat.

Step 1 : Delete CentralHint from Mac Applications

1. Go to Finder.

2. On the menu, click Go and then, select Applications from the list to open Applications Folder.

3. Find CentralHint or any unwanted program and suspicious item. It may also disguise itself as a different file with random names.

Delete Unwanted App

4. Drag the suspicious file to the Trash Bin to delete the application from Mac.

5. Right-click on Trash icon and click on Empty Trash.

Step 2 : Remove Browser Extensions that belongs to CentralHint

1. Locate the add-on or extension that is relevant to the adware. To do this, please follow the following depending on affected browser.

Safari - Choose Preferences from the Safari menu, then click the Extensions icon. This will open a window showing all installed extensions.

Chrome - Select Preferences from the Chrome menu, and then click the Extensions link found on the left pane.

Firefox - Choose Add-ons from the Menu. Look at both the Extensions and Plug-ins lists when it opens a new window.

2. Once you have located CentralHint, click on Remove or Uninstall, to get rid of it.

3. Close the browser and proceed to the next steps.

Step 3 : Delete Malicious Files that have installed CentralHint

1. Select and copy the string below to your Clipboard by pressing Command + C on your keyboard.

~/Library/LaunchAgents

2. Go to your Finder. From the menu bar please select Go > Go to Folder...

3. Press Command + V on your keyboard to paste the copied string. Press Return to go to the said folder.

Command + V

4. You will now see a folder named LaunchAgents. Take note of the following files inside the folder:

  • com.CentralHint.plist
  • unknown.service.plist
  • unknown.system.plist
  • unknown.download.plist
  • unknown.update.plist

The term unknown is just a representation of the actual malware name. Attackers may use the following file names:

- CentralHint, (random characters).plist

If you cannot find the specified file, please look for any unfamiliar or suspicious entries. It may be the one causing CentralHint to be present on your Mac. Arranging all items to see the most latest ones may also help you identify recently installed unfamiliar files. Please press Option + Command + 4 on your keyboard to arrange the application list in chronological order.

Option+Command+4

Important: Take note of all the suspicious files as you may also delete the same item on another folder as we go on.

5. Drag all suspicious files that you may find to Trash.

6. Please restart the computer.

7. Open another folder using the same method as above. Copy and Paste the following string to easily locate the folder.

~/Library/Application Support

8. Look for any suspicious items that are similar to the ones in Step 4. Drag them to the Trash.

9. Repeat the process on the following non-hidden folders (without ~):

/Library/LaunchAgents
/Library/LaunchDaemons
/Library/Application Support

10. Lastly, go to your Finder and open the Applications Folder. Look for subfolders with the following names and drag them to Trash.

- CentralHint

Optional : For locked files that cannot be removed, do the following:

1. Go to Launchpad, Utilities folder, open Activity Monitor.

2. Select the process you want to quit.

Force Quit Apps

3. Click on Force Quit button.

4. You may now delete or remove locked files that belongs to CentralHint adware.

Step 4 : Double-check with MBAM Tool for Mac

1. Download Malwarebytes Anti-malware for Mac from this link:

2. Run Malwarebytes Anti-malware for Mac. It will check for updates and download the most recent version if one is available. This is necessary for finding recent malware threats, including CentralHint.

3. If it prompts to close all running web browser, please do so. Thus, we advise you to PRINT this guide for your reference before going offline.

4. Once it opens the user interface, please click on the Scan button to start scanning your Mac computer.

MBAM for Mac

5. After the scan, Malwarebytes Anti-malware for Mac will display a list of identified threats, and CentralHint is surely part of it. Be sure to select all items in the list. Then, click the Remove button to clean the computer.

Step 5 : Remove CentralHint from Homepage and Search

Safari

- Open your Safari browser.
- Go to the Safari Menu located in the upper left-hand corner, and then select Preferences.
- Under the General tab, navigate to the Default Search Engine section and select Google or any valid search engine.
- Next, be sure that the "New Windows Open With" field is set to Homepage.
- Lastly, remove CentralHint from the Homepage field. Replace it with your preferred URL to be set as your default homepage.

Google Chrome

- Open the Google Chrome browser.
- Input the following on the address bar and press Enter on the keyboard : chrome://settings/
- Look for 'On Startup' area on the sidebar.
- Select 'Open a specific page or set of pages'.
- Choose the unwanted homepage, and click on Ellipses (three dots) and select Edit.
- Enter the desired web address as your homepage, replacing the CentralHint setting. Click Save.
- To set the default search engine, go to the Search Engine area from the sidebar link.
- Click on 'Manage search engines...' button.
- Select the questionable Search Engine and click on Ellipses (three dots). ClickDelete. to remove it from the list.
- Go back to the Search Engine area and choose a valid entry (i.e., Google) from 'Search engine used in the address bar'.

Mozilla Firefox

- Run Mozilla Firefox browser.
- Type the following on the address bar and hit Enter on keyboard : about:preferences
- Click Home on the sidebar area.
- Under "New Windows and Tabs", you may choose Firefox Home (Default) or Custom URLs. - Input the desired URL to replace CentralHint settings if you chose Custom URLs.
- To configure default search engine, select Search on the sidebar to display the settings.
- Under the Default Search Engine list, please select one (i.e., Google).
- On the same page, you have the option to Remove unwanted search engines.

Optional : If you are unable to change browser settings, execute these steps:

Some users complain that there is no way to change browser settings because they are grayed out by CentralHint. In such a situation, it is important to check if there is an unwanted profile. Please do the following:

1. Quit any running applications and launch System Preferences from your Dock.

2. Under System Preferences, click Profiles.

3. Select CentralHint or any relevant profile from the left pane. See the image below.

Remove Mac Profile

4. At the bottom of this window, click the minus [-] button to delete the account. Please refer to the image above.

5. Close the Profiles window and open the affected browser to change all settings associated with CentralHint.

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