How to Remove ProtocolPort (Mac)

This post explains the risks of installing a malicious browser extension called ProtocolPort. Also part of this article are Easy Fix solution, Manual Removal Guide, and cleaning the Homepage and Search section of infected browser application.

ProtocolPort is a threat for browser application that is operating on Mac OS environment. Its objective is to redirect the browser to a custom search engine and utilize it as the new default setup. While ProtocolPort is in command of the search, web user may not be able to attain the same informative search result. Moreover, links on the page may contain sponsored ones that mean to divert the browser to unnecessary sites like online gambling, adult oriented sites, phishing pages, and similar website that can cause harm when visited.

How ProtocolPort infects Mac?

This adware originates from the notorious family that also created identical applications like AthenaSearch, RunningUpdater, and PortalAgent. As usual, the spread tactics applied to this latest version is the same and it is through the use of deceitful scheme conceptualize to influence web user to intentionally download ProtocolPort or its carrier applications. As observed, ProtocolPort deployment scheme involves the following:

Software Bundles – This is the main distribution channel for ProtocolPort. Attackers typically embed the adware to different freeware, shareware, and third party applications and upload them to different file-sharing sites. During setup process of the installer file, it runs a simultaneous installation of ProtocolPort app but was accomplished in discreet method. Mac user is totally unaware of the installation of the adware and it proceeds without an authority.

Malicious Advertisements – Ads that aggressively pops up when visiting questionable website may disguise as operating system warning that detects obsolete program running on the computer. It advise to download software update in order to fix the issue but once downloaded, ProtocolPort app is installed in replacement for Mac user’s anticipated program update. Normally, the pop-up ads are purporting as Google Chrome, Safari, or Adobe update page. As Mac security experts suggests, go directly to official websites and run the update from that location to ensure safety and security.

Traffic Referrals – If adware is present on the computer, regardless if it is ProtocolPort app or anything similar, browser program have the tendency to redirect pages to different kinds of suspicious websites. This traffic referral scheme where adware makers can gain profit could drive the browser to malicious sites that hosts ProtocolPort. On some occasions, the destination site was designed to automate the download and installation of adware, so, it easy to infect the browser of visitors.

ProtocolPort app is a hazardous object

The presence of ProtocolPort app could cause different kinds of annoyances on the browser. It can even be the root for permanent browser redirect issues on internet browser program. As a matter of fact, internet browser affected by this malware may issue an alarming message like “ProtocolPort Daemon will damage your computer.”  Therefore, removal of this adware is recommended as soon as it was observed on the computer.

Image of ProtocolPort App

Procedures to Remove ProtocolPort 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 ProtocolPort. 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.

Install Combo Cleaner

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 ProtocolPort.

Combo Cleaner Scanner

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 ProtocolPort 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 ProtocolPort or any unwanted program.

Delete Unwanted App

4. Drag ProtocolPort 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 ProtocolPort

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 ProtocolPort, 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 ProtocolPort

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.ProtocolPort
  • 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:

- ProtocolPort Daemon

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

- ProtocolPort Daemon

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 ProtocolPort 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 ProtocolPort.

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.

MBAM for Mac

5. After the scan, Malwarebytes Anti-malware for Mac will display a list of identified threats, ProtocolPort 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 ProtocolPort 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 ProtocolPort 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 ProtocolPort. 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 ProtocolPort 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 ProtocolPort. 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 ProtocolPort or any relevant profile from the left pane. See image below.

Remove Profile

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 ProtocolPort.

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