What Is NativeLightning?
NativeLightning is an ad-supported, potentially unwanted application (PUA). As such, it would tamper with your browser’s settings to display advertisements and redirect you to suspicious pages. However, since NativeLightning belongs to the AdLoad family of adware, it could also alter your system’s settings, too. AdLoad is also known as Trojan.Adload, meaning that the application could introduce a trojan component to your macOS and could be quite persistent to remove. You can learn more about these capabilities from the article below.
Because of the associated risks of having adware run on your system, the removal of NativeLightning is recommended.
NativeLightning Threat Summary
|Name||NativeLightning also known as Trojan.Adload|
|Type||Potentially Unwanted Application / Adware / Browser Hijacker|
|Short Description||A potentially unwanted app. This program aims to heavily modify your web browsers’ settings to display ads and redirect you to suspicious pages.|
|Symptoms||Preferred web browser is configured to redirect you to unwanted pages. Slower Mac performance could be experienced as well.|
|Distribution Method||Software Bundles, Corrupted Installers, Bogus Websites/Webpages|
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NativeLightning Mac Adware – How Did It Get Installed on My Mac?
After we established what NativeLightning adware is, it is time to learn more about its distribution ways.
Several techniques are usually deployed for the distribution of the NativeLightning adware. A significant distribution technique is software bundling. Bundling revolves around programs that pretend to be useful and legit but come bundled with ad-supported apps.
The purpose of bundling is quick monetization. Commonly used software may deliver unwanted apps. This includes media players, file converters, weather toolbars, online streaming apps, etc.
The installers of these programs often present optional offers or free extras. At the same time, they are not designed to appropriately disclose information about added apps. That’s how users fail to notice their presence during the installation of whatever software they wanted to download.
Other possible reasons for having the adware dropped on your system include interacting with suspicious pages (torrenting and online streaming websites, adult pages, free online games, etc.). On these pages, you may have clicked on suspicious links, banners, and offers. The result is an unnoticed download and installation of a potentially unwanted program, such as Nativelightning.
A very wide-spread propagation technique that AdLoad variants utilize is using a fake Flash Player update. Your browser may generate a fake error message, claiming that “Adobe Flash Player Is Out of Date”. Interacting with the message, like clicking on the download button it provides, will surely install an adware on your Mac.
N.B. Once started on your Mac, such a program could access all installed browsers’ settings to apply significant changes. One of these changes often affects the default search engine in your preferred web browser. If your default search engine is altered without your consent, then don’t waste time but go check your macOS security. This problem is a definite sign that a suspicious piece of software has sneaked into your system.
Furthermore, as long as files associated with the NativeLightning adware are running on your Mac, you may be a victim of unsolicited data collection.
- Visited URLs and websites
- Browser’s home page
- Search queries
- Search queries on the visited web pages
- Type of used browser
- Operating system type
- Internet protocol (IP) address
- Geographic location
- The domain name of the current Internet service provider (ISP)
- Banking credentials
- Entered keystrokes
Shady adware developers may use your data records in targeted advertising campaigns. Once the data is available on their servers, it can be used for the identification of your online interests. Ads delivered by undesired apps may target your interests. At worst, data records will be released on dark web markets for additional revenue.
How Does NativeLightning Achieve Persistence on macOS?
Note that AdLoad variants such as NativeLightning have been known to install a persistence agent in Library LaunchAgents folder. This way the adware becomes persistence on the machine, and requires specific technical approach to remove completely.
Is NativeLightning a Virus?
By definition, NativeLightning does not fit to the technical description of computer viruses. A computer virus is the type of program that replicates itself upon execution and modifies other programs by inserting its own code. Once the replication happens, the affected areas are “infected” with the computer virus. NativeLightning does not have these capabilities. However, the program’s behavior fits the description of adware and potentially unwanted programs. AdLoad variants are also known for their backdoor capabilities. In other words, despite not being a real computer virus, NativeLightning is threatening to your online security and should be removed from your Mac.
Remove NativeLightning from Your Mac
To get rid of all files associated with NativeLightning on an affected Mac, several removal steps should be completed in a specific order. The guide below will reveal all needed removal steps, including manual and automatic actions. Due to the adware’s persistence, we recommend using both approaches. Please, note that you can minimize the risk of leaving harmful files behind by using the help of an advanced anti-malware tool. Such a tool will add another layer of protection to your Mac.
Steps to Prepare Before Removal:
Before starting to follow the steps below, be advised that you should first do the following preparations:
- Backup your files in case the worst happens.
- Make sure to have a device with these instructions on standy.
- Arm yourself with patience.
What is NativeLightning on your Mac?
The NativeLightning threat is probably a potentially unwanted app. There is also a chance it could be related to Mac malware.
The creators of such unwanted apps work with pay-per-click schemes to get your Mac to visit risky or different types of websites that may generate them funds. This is why they do not even care what types of websites show up on the ads. This makes their unwanted software indirectly risky for your MacOS.
Can Macs Get Viruses?
Yes. As much as any other device, Apple computers do get malware. Apple devices may not be a frequent target by malware authors, but rest assured that the following Apple devices can become infected with a threat:
- Mac Mini
- Macbook Air
- Macbook Pro
What Are The Symptoms of NativeLightning On Mac?
There are several symptoms to look for when this particular threat and also most Mac threats in general are active:
Symptom #1: Your Mac may become slow and has poor performance in general.
Symtpom #2: You have toolbars, add-ons or extensions on your web browsers that you don't remember adding.
Symptom #3: You see all types of ads, like ad-supported search results, pop-ups and redirects to randomly appear.
Symptom #4: You see installed apps on your Mac running automatically and you do not remember installing them.
Symptom #5: You see suspicious processes running in your Mac's Activity Monitor.
If you see one or more of those symptoms, then security experts reccomend that you check your Mac for viruses.
What Types of Mac Threats Are There?
According to most malware researchers and cyber-security experts, the threats that can currently infect your Mac can be the following types:
- Rogue Antivirus programs.
- Adware and hijackers.
- Trojan horses and other spyware.
- Ransomware and screen-lockers.
- Cryptocurrency miner malware.
What To Do If I Have a Mac Virus, Like NativeLightning?
Do not panic! You can easily get rid of most Mac threats by firstly isolating them and then removing them. One recommended way to do that is by using a reputable malware removal software that can take care of the removal automatically for you.
There are many Mac anti-malware apps out there that you can choose from. SpyHunter for Mac is one of the reccomended Mac anti-malware apps, that can scan for free and detect any viruses. This saves time for manual removal that you would otherwise have to do.
How to Secure My Data from NativeLightning?
With few simple actions. First and foremost, it is imperative that you follow these steps:
Step 1: Find a safe computer and connect it to another network, not the one that your Mac was infected in.
Step 2: Change all of your passwords, starting from your e-mail passwords.
Step 3: Enable two-factor authentication for protection of your important accounts.
Step 4: Call your bank to change your credit card details (secret code, etc.) if you have saved your credit card for online shopping or have done online activiites with your card.
Step 5: Make sure to call your ISP (Internet provider or carrier) and ask them to change your IP address.
Step 6: Change your Wi-Fi password.
Step 7: (Optional): Make sure to scan all of the devices connected to your network for viruses and repeat these steps for them if they are affected.
Step 8: Install anti-malware software with real-time protection on every device you have.
Step 9: Try not to download software from sites you know nothing about and stay away from low-reputation websites in general.
If you follow these reccomendations, your network and Apple devices will become significantly more safe against any threats or information invasive software and be virus free and protected in the future too.
More tips you can find on our MacOS Virus section, where you can also ask any questions and comment about your Mac problems.
About the NativeLightning Research
The content we publish on SensorsTechForum.com, this NativeLightning how-to removal guide included, is the outcome of extensive research, hard work and our team’s devotion to help you remove the specific macOS issue.
How did we conduct the research on NativeLightning?
Please note that our research is based on an independent investigation. We are in contact with independent security researchers, thanks to which we receive daily updates on the latest malware definitions, including the various types of Mac threats, especially adware and potentially unwanted apps (PUAs).
Furthermore, the research behind the NativeLightning threat is backed with VirusTotal.
To better understand the threat posed by Mac malware, please refer to the following articles which provide knowledgeable details.