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.


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


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

4. Go to DNS. Scroll down to the plus symbol (+) and add and These are Google’s Public DNSes.
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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