Remove HelperFormat from Mac

A browser extension called HelperFormat claims to improve the browsing experience for Mac users. Also, the creators of this application guarantee that when HelperFormat is included as a browser extension to internet software, accurate and rapid search results will be delivered. Unfortunately, once installed, it behaves differently and, rather than being useful, it causes issues with internet apps. It is important to note that the HelperFormat software on Mac computers poses a threat to user security and privacy.

HelperFormat Infection

HelperFormat imitates the propagation strategies of its relatives because it comes from the same adware clan as ArchiveWebSearch_2 and LeadingExplorerSearch. The dangerous browser extension is being spread mostly through a scam about software bundling. HelperFormat was frequently obtained by Mac users by accident after they downloaded malicious shareware from dubious websites including torrent sites and unsecured file-sharing networks.

Attackers also utilize deceptive pop-up notifications to successfully attach the adware to Mac users’ internet browsers and malicious advertising campaigns to spread HelperFormat. This strategy calls for a beautiful pop-up ad that displays an alert that appears to be from the system. It can entice web users to download and install a fake update that ultimately installs the HelperFormat app by posing as an OS notification that diagnoses a problem with an outdated program.

Screenshot of HelperFormat App

HelperFormat operation

As soon as HelperFormat enters the Mac, it makes unauthorized changes to the browser settings and tampers with the preferences for the homepage and search engine. In order to completely obstruct a Mac user’s browsing and search operations, the adware allots its own resources to these portions. Prior to HelperFormat infection, the search results returned by the browser for this activity may never be precise and helpful. Those who become victims of this fraudulent browser extension may never experience fully optimized browsing and searching because this adware is an unreliable search tool.

To summarize, it is recommended that Mac users install the HelperFormat app on their web browser. As a result, the outcome is completely unusable. Many problems are developing when it is present and it is the cause of browser troubles. We advise deleting HelperFormat immediately following the instructions below. There are also malware and virus scanners that can find and get rid of adware like HelperFormat.

Procedures to Remove HelperFormat 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 HelperFormat. 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 HelperFormat.

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 HelperFormat 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 HelperFormat 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 HelperFormat

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 HelperFormat, 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 HelperFormat

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.HelperFormat.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:

- HelperFormat, (random characters).plist

If you cannot find the specified file, please look for any unfamiliar or suspicious entries. It may be the one causing HelperFormat 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.

- HelperFormat

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 HelperFormat 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 HelperFormat.

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 HelperFormat 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 HelperFormat 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 HelperFormat 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 HelperFormat 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 HelperFormat 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 HelperFormat. 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 HelperFormat 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 HelperFormat.

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