UtilityParze Adware on Mac

UtilityParze, sometimes spelled out as UtilityParse, is the name of a strain of adware that belongs to the broader Pirrit family of Mac adware. It shares a number of traits commonly found in potentially unwanted apps, browser hijackers and adware.

UtilityParze will display unwanted, often intrusive advertising inside your browser of choice. This includes pop-up windows, banners and embedded ads that can even obscure the underlying normal website content, which considerably impairs your regular browsing experience. A portion of the advertisement served this way may lead to websites that attempt to install further potentially unwanted applications, leading to a vicious circle.

The UtilityParze app may also collect information about your search queries and browsing habits and use this information to generate revenue for its owners. Your browser settings such as your default search engine may also be swapped out for one chosen by UtilityParze. All of this happens without clear user consent at every step of the process.

Before UtilityParze gets to work on your browser and your Mac, it usually attempts to lure the user into giving it elevated privileges. This happens through an annoying pop-up window you will see in your browser. The pop-up will read "UtilityParse wants access to control Safari.app. Allowing control will provide access to documents and data in Safari.app, and to perform actions within that app."

This is perhaps UtilityParze's idea of disclosing the intrusive changes it is about to implement in your browser if you allow it. The text will mention Chrome and Firefox if you youse those browsers instead of Safar. You should not approve the app's elevated privileges, especially given the complete lack of disclosure about what it is about to do once you grant it those rights.

Potentially unwanted applications and adware similar to UtilityParze are often distributed through fake software updates. Research has shown that UtilityParze in particular is commonly distributed using fake Adobe Flash Player updates. This method may not be as effective, now that Adobe have officially discontinued Flash Player and all major browsers are no longer even allowing Flash content to execute and play in their updated versions.

It is important to always get your software from reputable and well-curated app portals and platforms. Those include the App Store and each app's official developer or publisher website. Free download websites will often offer app bundle installers that may have an app you may want. However, those bundles will very often have potentially unwanted applications piggy-backing alongside the main attraction in the package. Bundle installers have poor disclosure of their full contents and are another easy way for potentially unwanted apps such as UtilityParze to end up in your system without your knowledge.

May 24, 2021

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