What Is VantageAdvisor?
VantageAdvisor is a potentially unwanted application (PUA) with trojan-like capabilities that belongs to the AdLoad family. Multiple AdLoad variants have been plaguing Mac users for at least two years. Symptoms of having an AdLoad variant such as VantangeAdvisor installed secretly on your Mac include intrusive advertisements and data collection.
Details about your browser and computer can be harvested and shared with remote locations that are controlled by AdLoad’s operators. Furthermore, additional adware and PUAs can be downloaded onto your Mac as well thanks to the backdoor component that AdLoad programs are equipped with.
VantageAdvisor Threat Summary
|Name||VantageAdvisor a.k.a. Trojan.Adload|
|Type||Adware / Potentially Unwanted Application|
|Short Description||A program that delivers lots of annoying advertisements in browsers it affects.|
|Symptoms||Browser slowdowns could occur due to increased number of ads generated by the adware. Sensitive detials could be obtained by unknown actors.|
|Distribution Method||Software bundles; Corrupted installers; Deceptive web pages|
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|User Experience||Join Our Forum to Discuss VantageAdvisor.|
How Did I Get VantageAdvisor?
Since VantageAdvisor is considered to be a potentially unwanted application (PUA), its distribution techniques are dubious and misleading. Most of these distribution mechanisms aim to trick you into installing the program without considering the side effects. For the purpose of achieving this goal, bundled software installers are used as well as fake software updates delivered over compromised web pages. An example of a fake update scheme widely adopted by AdLoad variants is the Adobe Flash Player is out of date browser scam.
When the PUP is distributed along with software bundles and free third-party apps, its presence is smartly concealed in the Advanced/Custom configuration step of their installers. To avoid downloading unwanted apps, it is highly recommendable to review the details in these steps during the installation process of new apps. Once you access them and get informed about the extras, you could prevent your Mac system from being affected by programs such as VantageAdvisor.
When web pages are used to spread the undesired program, you could get affected only by visiting them. This is possible via the so-called drive-by attack that enables attackers to inject the installation code of suspicious programs into the source code of different web pages and further set them to automatically drop it directly on victims’ devices. In some cases, such pages could be set to display fake software update notifications which in fact are set to install the adware on the device.
More Information About VantageAdvisor Adware
Being an adware program, VantageAdvisor is primarily designed to show as much online advertisements as possible. Once started on your Mac, the adware could initiate several modifications of browser settings that will enable the generation of vast number of questionable advertisements. The program may be set to affect the settings of all commonly used web browsers including Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer and Safari.
These ads could pose a serious risk to your Mac. On one hand, they could make your browser sluggish which in turn could diminish significantly your browsing experience. On the other hand, some of them could be set to land you on poorly secured web pages compromised by hackers.
Another issue that may occur while VantageAdvisor is running on your device is data harvesting. With the help of various tracking technologies, the program could attempt to obtain sensitive data from your affected browsers and then send it to its servers. If you want to prevent this adware program from displaying annoying ads and collecting sensitive data of yours, you need to remove all associated files from affected browsers and system as soon as possible.
Is VantageAdvisor a Virus?
By definition, VantageAdvisor does not belong to the category of computer viruses. A computer virus is the type of program that replicates itself upon execution by modifying other programs and inserting its own code. Once the replication happens, the affected areas become “infected” with the computer virus. VantageAdvisor 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, VantageAdvisor is threatening to your online security and should be removed from your Mac.
Remove VantageAdvisor Adware from Mac
In order to remove VantageAdvisor adware and all associated files from your Mac, you should complete all the steps listed in the removal that follows. It presents both manual and automatic removal instructions that combined could help you to secure your device and keep it safe from future attacks. In case that you have further questions or need additional help, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below the article.
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 VantageAdvisor on your Mac?
The VantageAdvisor 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 VantageAdvisor 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 VantageAdvisor?
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 VantageAdvisor?
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 VantageAdvisor Research
The content we publish on SensorsTechForum.com, this VantageAdvisor 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 VantageAdvisor?
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 VantageAdvisor threat is backed with VirusTotal.
To better understand the threat posed by Mac malware, please refer to the following articles which provide knowledgeable details.