Macintosh users will soon come across an adware referred to as PortalFlow. This recently released suspicious browser extension is currently being rolled out on the Internet and its developers appear to be using a couple of ways. One distribution channel where PortalFlow app can easily enter the Mac computer is through software bundles. However, many Mac users are not aware of the reality that most freeware packages are the primary carrier of the adware or potentially unwanted application (PUA) such as PortalFlow.
How PortalFlow enters the Mac computer?
It is a fact that PortalFlow handlers inject code to configure files for some free software. This renders the adware to be run at the same time as the Mac user installs the freeware. This was observed and the intrusion through this method was confirmed when the diagnostics were executed on earlier variants namely MapperProgress, SampleSkilled, and UnitAnalog.
Apart from freeware and shareware injection technique, PortalFlow also prevailed by malicious ads that dubious websites expose. Web users may come across such misleading advertisements offering the PortalFlow app when you visit sites that are engaged in illegal possession of copyrighted materials like pirated software, video, music, images, and so on. Deceptive pop-up ads often claim to be a software update that the web user needs to download in order to resolve issues identified by the operating system. If ever the web user is illicitly watching the streaming media, the pop-up normally makes pretend as “player” which is basically required to view the content.
PortalFlow is an unwanted app
The installation of the PortalFlow application is accomplished normally without the Mac user knowing the application perfectly. As stated above, the actors behind this PUA are employing different misleading techniques to lure web users to acquire and install PortalFlow while it is under the guise of valuable app. This could be the main reason why it was classed as unwanted application. The fact that it was made primarily to exhibit ads for revenue generation objective, Mac security professionals also placed PortalFlow app under the list of Adware. This calls for the immediate removal. For a full guide on removing the threat, see the next segment. Also included are viruses and malware removal tools for Mac that will effectively eliminate even hidden malicious objects associated with PortalFlow adware.
Procedures to Remove PortalFlow 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 PortalFlow. 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.
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 PortalFlow.
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 PortalFlow 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 PortalFlow or any unwanted program or suspicious item. It could be in disguise as a different file.
4. Drag PortalFlow 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 PortalFlow
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 PortalFlow, 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 PortalFlow
1. Select and copy the string below to your Clipboard by pressing Command + C on your keyboard.
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:
The term unknown is just a representation of the actual malware name. Attackers may masks the actual name with following:
- Portal Flow
If you cannot find the specified file, please look for any unfamiliar or suspicious entries. It may be the one causing PortalFlow 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.
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 ~):
10. Lastly, go to your Finder and open the Applications Folder. Look for subfolders with the following names and drag them to Trash.
- Portal Flow
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 PortalFlow 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 PortalFlow.
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.
5. After the scan, Malwarebytes Anti-malware for Mac will display a list of identified threats, and PortalFlow 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 PortalFlow from Homepage and Search
- 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 PortalFlow from the Homepage field. Replace it with your preferred URL to be set as your default homepage.
- 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 PortalFlow 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'.
- 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 PortalFlow 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 PortalFlow. 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 PortalFlow or any relevant profile from the left pane. See the image below.
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 PortalFlow.