This article has been created with the main purpose of explaining what is Pirrit Adware and how you can make sure to stop advertisements coming from it on your Mac.
SIDENOTE: This post was originally published in August 2018. But we gave it an update in August 2019.
An adware program for Mac, known as Pirrit has been detected to still be active ever since it’s first launch in early 2018. The adware aims to infect computers while remaining undetected and in addition to this display a lot of advertisements on the Macs of users. The Pirrit adware may also collect data from the affected Macs and also lead users to third-party sites that may be of a scamming or malicious character. If you see advertisements, that are related to Pirrit adware, we strongly suggest that you read this article as it aims to help you remove this unwanted program from your Mac.
|Type||Adware/PUP for Mac OS|
|Short Description||Aims to display a wide variety of advertisements on your Mac that aim to get you to visit third-party sites of suspicious origin to likely generate the developers of Pirrit profit.|
|Symptoms||You may see a rich array of advertisemetns, that may lead you to third-party sites.|
|Distribution Method||Via bundling of setups or via other unwanted software or suspicious websites.|
See If Your System Has Been Affected by malware
|User Experience||Join Our Forum to Discuss Pirrit.|
Pirrit Adware – How Did I Get It
The primary method by which this virus spreads according to researchers is reported to likely be via an online marketing company’s website, known as TargetingEdge, which may be based in Israel. In addition to this, another likely method of replication of OSX.Pirrit is likely via software bundling that disguises this unwanted program as something that is of a helpful nature and is added as a free extra to a free program the user is trying to install. Such free programs are your average video converter app or an app that helps you download free media content. Usually these free apps are available on third-party sites, where Pirrit may also be offered as an addition in their installers or even may be automatically added alongside them.
There is no specific information about the TargetingEdge company, but it is clear that It is related to several other companies as it’s website suggests:
TargetingEdge is related to two other companies, TLV Media, which makes an ad targeting and ad monetization platform, and Feature Forward, which sells a video platform. According to LinkedIn, all three companies have the same board of directors and the executive who created the OSX.Pirrit variant previously worked for TLV Media.
Furthermore, in a research on Pirrit, done by Amit Serper, a security analyst at Cybereason, the company was also reported to likely be associated with such activity for quite some time. And not only this but the Pirrit adware has similar activity to malware infections.
Pirrit Adware – Activity and More Information
If your Mac has been affected by this adware, be advised that this is not a new program. Several years ago, the program was in it’s Windows version where it was detected to heavily display ads on the victim PC. But it’s Mac OS version is quite different and has more malware features added to it:
Attackers could have used the capabilities built into OSX.Pirrit to install a keylogger and steal your log-in credentials or make off with your company’s intellectual property, among many other bad outcomes.
Furthrmore, the malware has also been reported to be far more dangerous than it’s traditional Windows variant In the sense that it has a lot of capabilities added to it’s Mac version and some of them have nothing to do with adware, because they may be able to obtain the following information from your Mac:
- The keystrokes you type.
- Live feed from your camera.
- Sound recording from your microphone.
- Taking screenshots.
- Obtaining saved passwords on your web browser.
- Getting information regarding the apps installed on your Mac.
- Info about what you search for and type online.
Furthermore, in addition to this, the creators of the Pirrit adware may also have left a tar.gz archive, with data that could eventually lead researchers to tracking the actual malware creators.
Programs, like Pirrit adware are nothing new for Mac machines, and the program itself may not be a direct threat to the Mac, even though it users some malicious practices, like key logging. What may be dangerous is that this adware may show different types content from third-party sites, such as:
- Browser Redirects.
- Ad-supported search results.
- Taken over Banner spaces on the sites you visit.
Since these advertisements may lead victims to pay-per-click sites or other unwanted websites that may be of a scamming or malicious type, It is strongly advisable to remove Pirrit adware if you encounter it on your Mac.
Remove Pirrit Adware and Stop Pop-ups on Your Mac
If you want to remove Pirrit from your Mac, you will first need to identify what type of program is the adware disguised as and remove it as an app. Then, you should look for leftover files or changed DNS settings on your Mac that may lead to this adware still being active on your Mac. For maximum effectiveness, be advised that security experts always recommend to remove such ad-supported programs with the aid of an advanced anti-malware software, capable of automatically scanning and removing all malicious files from your Mac plus optimizing it so that it remains fast and protected in the future.
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.
Step 1: Uninstall Pirrit and remove related files and objects
1. Hit the ⇧+⌘+U keys to open Utilities. Another way is to click on “Go” and then click “Utilities”, like the image below shows:
- Go to Finder.
- In the search bar type the name of the app that you want to remove.
- Above the search bar change the two drop down menus to “System Files” and “Are Included” so that you can see all of the files associated with the application you want to remove. Bear in mind that some of the files may not be related to the app so be very careful which files you delete.
- If all of the files are related, hold the ⌘+A buttons to select them and then drive them to “Trash”.
In case you cannot remove Pirrit via Step 1 above:
In case you cannot find the virus files and objects in your Applications or other places we have shown above, you can manually look for them in the Libraries of your Mac. But before doing this, please read the disclaimer below:
You can repeat the same procedure with the following other Library directories:
Tip: ~ is there on purpose, because it leads to more LaunchAgents.
Step 2: Remove Pirrit – related extensions from Safari / Chrome / Firefox
Step 3: Scan for and remove Pirrit files from your Mac
When you are facing problems on your Mac as a result of unwanted scripts and programs such as Pirrit, the recommended way of eliminating the threat is by using an anti-malware program. SpyHunter for Mac offers advanced security features along with other modules that will improve your Mac’s security and protect it in the future.
What is Pirrit on your Mac?
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 my Mac get a virus?
Yes. As much as any other device, Apple computers do get viruses. Apple devices may not be a frequent target by malware authors, but rest assured that the following Apple devices can become infected with a virus:
- Mac Mini
- Macbook Air
- Macbook Pro
What are the symptoms of Pirrit on your 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 Pirrit?
Do not panic! You can easily get rid of most Mac threats by firstly isolating them and then removing them. One reccomended 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, tracking cookies and unwanted adware apps plus take care of them quickly. This saves time for manual removal that you would otherwise have to do.
How to secure my passwords and other data from Pirrit?
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 website, where you can also ask any questions and comment about your Mac problems.