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Recently I responded to a suggestion that I "upgrade Flash" on my macOS system only do end up with several applications running, and intruding into my browser and desktop that I did not (mean to) install:

  • Mac Ads Cleaner
  • Mac App Cleaner
  • Porn Cleaner

I followed instructions I found online for removing these apps and believe they are gone (Bitdefender's virus and malware virus scan shows no remaining malicious software).

However, I wonder what they did while they were on my machine. What I could see is that they were very intrusive: launching themselves, setting themselves up to re-launch on start, resetting my browser's homepage to a spoof "safe" search engine — even popping up a window when they were installed by moving to the Trash. But I would like to know what else they did while installed *that I couldn't see.

What do these apps do? Have they done any lasting damage? Or are they only a nuisance while installed?


Note that this is not a duplicate of this question. Here the question is what these specific (and common and well known) apps did when installed. (For example, did they capture passwords, erase files, etc.?)

closed as off-topic by Purefan, Steve, Anders, Xander, CaffeineAddiction Mar 8 '17 at 7:04

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "This question does not appear to be about Information security within the scope defined in the help center." – Purefan, Steve, Xander, CaffeineAddiction
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.