How to remove the Tapsnake virus on your Mac?

Tapsnake is one of a number of fake virus alerts that appear when you visit certain websites. The so-called “Tapsnake virus” is intrusive and makes surfing the web much less convenient and fun than it should be, but if you ignore it, no harm will be done. That’s easier said than done, however, as it is designed to scare users into taking action, and for many less tech-savvy users, it works.

Everything you need to know about Tapsnake virus

Tapsnake isn’t a virus at all but a fake alert designed to frighten you into taking action. In this case, it tells you that “Mac has detected Tapsnake infection.” Then it tells you that the infection is linked to files you’ve downloaded and that you should stop using your Mac and not even shut it down until you’ve called the Mac experts on the telephone number displayed in the alert.

Of course, you should not call the number. It’s likely to either be a premium rate number that will cost you lots of money or an attempt to extract information from you that will allow the scammers to steal your identity or try to sell you some kind of fake support plan or software. Selling “technical support” for non-existent problems is a common scam.

How to keep your Mac safe from Tapesnake

1. Ignore the alert

You should ignore the window and carry on with your day. If you can’t close the window, quit your web browser or force quit it if necessary. And if, for any reason, that doesn’t work, restart your Mac. You may even need to force restart it by pressing and holding the power button. 

      2. Be careful when opening the links

      When you reopen your browser, make sure you don’t choose to reopen all windows that were open in the previous session. To avoid seeing the alert at all, be vigilant about the websites you visit, and don’t ignore browser warnings that tell you a link you’ve clicked on is likely to lead to somewhere that’s unsafe. Be careful about the links you click on the web. Also, never click on a link in an email unless you are absolutely certain where that link leads and who sent it to you. The same goes for links in instant messaging applications, such as Messages and WhatsApp.

      3. Destroy Tapesnake with an antivirus

      The Tapesnake virus usually sits deep in your admin profile settings. To block its activity, you can try one of the latest antivirus tools for Mac, CleanMyMac X. It deals with macOS-specific viruses and is notarized by Apple as a safe app. Like most antiviruses, it scans your Mac for popular Mac threats, including adware, spyware, worms, and “backdoor” viruses. Every case is different, but you can see it for yourself — download the free edition of CleanMyMac X and click the Malware Removal tab.

      Removing malware files

      How to remove Tapsnake virus

      Since the Tapsnake virus alert is fake, there is nothing to remove. And as the alert contains a phone number rather than a link, clicking on it won’t lead anywhere. However, there are fake virus alerts that do contain links and lead to malware being downloaded to your Mac. Often, this is in the form of a potentially unwanted program (PUP) bundled with a seemingly legitimate app. In that case, these are the steps to remove it:

      1. Get rid of the application

      1. Go to your Applications folder and look for any recently added applications that you didn’t choose to download. Remove it. 

        Tip: Just dragging an app to the Trash and emptying it doesn’t uninstall it completely. The best way to do that is to use a dedicated Uninstaller in the aforementioned app, CleanMyMac X.

        Cleaning your system in Uninstaller module of CMMX

      2. Check your Login Items by going to System Preferences, choosing Users & Groups, selecting your user name, and then clicking on the Login Items tab. For macOS Ventura, follow these steps: System Settings > General > Login Items. If you see anything that shouldn’t be there, check the box next to it and press the “-” button.

      2. Check your browser extensions

      Browser hijackers that redirect your browser homepage and searches are a common form of malware.

      1. In Safari, click on the Safari menu, choose Preferences/Settings in macOS Ventura, and then Extensions. Look for anything that shouldn’t be there. If you see anything, click on it and press Uninstall.
      2. In Chrome, paste “chrome://extensions” into the address bar and review the extensions that are installed. If you see one you haven’t deliberately installed, click on it and choose Remove.
      3. In Firefox, click on the three lines at the right of the toolbar and choose Add-ons and themes. Click on Extensions and look for any that you haven’t installed. If you find one, click on it and choose Remove.

      Once you’ve removed extensions, check that your browser homepage hasn’t been altered and that search queries are carried out using your preferred search engine. If not, go back to Preferences/Settings in Safari, Settings in Chrome (paste chrome://settings) in the address bar, or Settings in Firefox (paste about:preferences) and reset your homepage and preferred search engine. Once removed, browser hijackers won’t trouble you again, so long as you’re vigilant about the links you click and the apps you download.

      Tapsnake isn’t a virus, and if you see a warning telling you that your Mac is infected, it’s fake. The best thing to do is to ignore it and close the window, quit your browser, or restart your Mac if necessary. If you’re worried that you may have downloaded malware, such as a browser hijacker, the best thing to do is scan your computer with an anti-malware tool, such as the one in CleanMyMac X. Do that regularly, and you will have peace of mind that your Mac remains free from malware of any kind.