I Downloaded a Fake Adobe Flash Update. Here’s How I Fixed it in 30 Seconds

Last week I accidentally downloaded a fake Flash update.

(And yes, I feel 100 years old and completely un-web savvy typing that out.)

I was online when I was prompted to download the update. It seemed legit, like one I’d seen — and successfully downloaded — before. So without much thought, I proceeded.

I noticed something was off immediately after restarting my computer. My two browsers suddenly displayed “TimeSearchNow” as the default homepage. After switching them back to Google, I noticed popup ads.

And then, crazy, near-pornographic ads began displaying on the non-pornagraphic (hey, just clarifying) websites I browsed. To add insult to injury, I sent a screenshot of this to my CEO because I thought the issue was with the company website at first.

you've got to be kitten me face palm

Image credit: Giphy

It was clear: I had downloaded something funky onto my Mac.

How to Remove a Fake Adobe Flash Update From a Mac

Alternatively titled: So you think you have malware?

Malware, or malicious software, is “any software used to disrupt computer operations,” according to Wikipedia.

what is malware

Image credit: Wikipedia

To begin the removal process, I cleared my cache and cookies, removed unknown browser extensions and reset my browsers. I also downloaded the latest Apple update.

Next, I downloaded the free version of Malwarebytes. After running the scan a couple times, I removed suspicious files from my computer.

I was pleased with Malwarebytes; unfortunately, it didn’t completely fix the problems with my Mac.

Getting Rid of the Fake Flash

Alternatively titled: An unlikely “solution”

“Solution” is in quotes because I don’t know if this fixed my computer. But, I do know my computer has had no popup or crazy ads in the last 48 hours. It also runs a lot smoother.

So what did I do?

I made the plea to my company’s computer guy. (Thankfully, he’s more helpful than Nick Burns.)

I’ll walk you through the steps we took:

1. Go to the top right of your screen. Click the wifi icon.

wifi-internet-button

2. Scroll down to Open Network Preferences. Click on it.

open-network-preferences

3. This screen will appear. Go to the bottom right and click Advanced…

advanced-network-sessions
4. Go to DNS. Scroll down to the plus symbol (+) and add 8.8.8.8. and 8.8.4.4. These are Google’s Public DNSes.
dns-settings
5. Click OK and then Apply.

This process took all of 30 seconds, and my Mac’s been as good as new ever since.

I can’t explain this *magic* but I thought I’d share my experience. Hopefully it helps someone else! (And note to self: No more downloading updates of any kind except those that come straight from the official website.)

Did this fix work for you? Let me know in the comments.

Featured image credit: Picjumbo + Canva

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