Remove PlusSpecial (Mac Adware)

Aside from other operating systems, Mac computers are also the targets of adware attacks. Adware is known for its ability to deploy intrusive ads and pop-ups on the browser persistently. One of the best example of adware infecting Mac computers is PlusSpecial app. Once Mac user installed PlusSpecial, the browser will begin to exhibit unwanted ads and unstoppable pop-ups. The adverts will simultaneously run while Mac user is online and surfing the internet. The browsing activity can be extremely disturbed causing to diminish the online experience of Mac user. Another thing is, the ads and pop-ups generated by the adware can cause browser redirection. Clicking such elements while browsing could possibly land the browser to malicious sites leading to malware infection.

Similar to older variants as EssentialPanel and ValueKnow, PlusSpecial is considered as a potentially unwanted application (PUA), which can enter the Mac computer without asking permission from the Mac user. It happens because developers usually bundled their malicious software along with other ordinary applications. This method is called software bundling. Freeware or shareware mostly incorporates unwanted applications like PlusSpecial. The installer will not reveal that there is some additional application on the installation. Therefore, Mac users should be cautious about installing free programs because they might include PlusSpecial on the process.

Another way of developers is by endorsing PlusSpecial as a legitimate application or browser extension. Through false claims, Mac users might be interested to install PlusSpecial on the computer without understanding the real purpose of this unknown program. As soon as PlusSpecial successfully infiltrates the Mac computer, it will begin to operate, which might cause issues and serious damages when tolerated. One way to stop further infections is to uninstall PlusSpecial from the Mac computer as soon as possible. Guide to execute the removal of adware is outlined on the next segment.

Procedures to Remove PlusSpecial 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 System 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 PlusSpecial. You may need to purchase full version if you require 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.

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

5. Wait until antivirus downloads its latest virus definition updates and click on "Start Combo Scan" to start removing PlusSpecial.

6. 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 in manually removing malicious objects associated with the threat.

Step 1 : Delete PlusSpecial 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 PlusSpecial or any unwanted program.

4. Drag PlusSpecial to 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 PlusSpecial

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 PlusSpecial, 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 PlusSpecial

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.

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

  • com.PlusSpecial
  • unknown.download.plist
  • unknown.ltvbit.plist
  • unknown.update.plist

The term unknown is just a representation of the actual malware name. Attackers may masks the actual name with following:

- BrowserToday, SystemJump

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

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.

- BrowserToday, SystemJump

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.

3. Click on Force Quit button.

4. You may now delete or remove locked files that belongs to PlusSpecial 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 if most recent version is available. This is necessary in finding recent malware threats including PlusSpecial.

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 Scan button to start scanning your Mac computer.

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

Step 5 : Remove PlusSpecial from Homepage and Search

Safari

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

Google Chrome

- Open Chrome browser.
- Type the following on the address bar and press Enter on keyboard : chrome://settings/
- Look for 'On Startup' area.
- Select 'Open a specific page or set of pages'.
- Click on More Actions and select Edit.
- Enter the desired web address as your home page, replacing PlusSpecial. Click Save.
- To set default search engine, go to Search Engine area.
- Click on 'Manage search engines...' button.
- Go to questionable Search Engine. Click on More Actions and Click 'Remove from list'.
- Go back to Search Engine area and choose valid entry 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
- On Startup area, select 'Show your home page' under 'When Firefox starts' field.
- Under Home Page field, type the desired URL to replace PlusSpecial settings.
- To configure default search engine, select Search on left sidebar to display settings.
- Under Default Search Engine list, please select one.
- On the same page, you have an option to Remove unwanted search engine.

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

Some user complains that there is no way to change browser settings because it is grayed out by PlusSpecial. In such situation, it is important to check if there is 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 PlusSpecial or any relevant profile from the left pane. See image below.

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

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

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