What Is IdentityStack?
IdentityStack is an example of a suspicious program that targets Mac users with ads by altering system and browser settings. IdentityStack relies on deceptive means to get distributed across the web, including fake updates and other social engineering tricks. The end goal is making the user install the adware without his knowledge, and generating profit.
N.B. Advertisements triggered by ad-supported programs such as IdentityStack are often associated with suspicious redirects that take you to scamming pages. These pages tend to generate pop-ups that may claim your system is infected with viruses, or that you need to update a program. You should navigate away from such pages and avoid clicking anything they show, including download buttons and links.
IdentityStack Threat Summary
|IdentityStack also known as Trojan.Adload
|Potentially Unwanted Application / Adware / Browser Hijacker
|A potentially unwanted app. This program aims to heavily modify your web browsers’ settings to display ads and redirect you to suspicious pages.
|Preferred web browser is configured to redirect you to unwanted pages. Slower Mac performance could be experienced as well.
|Software Bundles, Corrupted Installers, Bogus Websites/Webpages
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IdentityStack Mac Adware – How Did It Get Installed on My Mac?
After we established what IdentityStack adware is, it is time to learn more about its distribution ways.
Several techniques are usually deployed for the distribution of the IdentityStack. 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 such as IdentityStack. 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 scenarios include users interacting with suspicious pages (torrenting and online streaming websites, adult pages, free online games, etc.). On these pages, users may click on suspicious links, banners, and offers. The result may be an unnoticed download and install of a potentially unwanted program.
A very wide-spread propagation 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 IdentityStack 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 IdentityStack Achieve Persistence on macOS?
Note that AdLoad variants such as IdentityStack 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 IdentityStack a Virus?
No, adware programs are not considered viruses. However, there have been cases of persistent adware infections or adware that is dropped together with malware. Because of that, adware is not considered safe and should be removed.
Remove IdentityStack from Your Mac
To remove all files associated with IdentityStack on Mac, you should complete several removal steps. The guide below will reveal all removal steps in their precise order, including manual and automatic actions. Due to the adware’s persistence, we recommend using both approaches. Please keep in mind 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 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 IdentityStack on your Mac?
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 almost all of the Apple devices can become infected with a threat.
What Types of Mac Threats Are There?
What To Do If I Have a Mac Virus, Like IdentityStack?
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 IdentityStack?
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 IdentityStack Research
The content we publish on SensorsTechForum.com, this IdentityStack 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 IdentityStack?
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 IdentityStack threat is backed with VirusTotal.
To better understand the threat posed by Mac malware, please refer to the following articles which provide knowledgeable details.