Published April 16th, 2013 at 9:53 PM EDT , modified April 17th, 2013 at 7:51 PM EDT
Just a few hours ago, I wrote about a VLC installer on Softonic that was installing adware. (Adware that was not authorized to be included with VLC, according to a post by Jean-Baptiste Kempf of VLC.) It has just come to my attention that the same thing is happening with UnRarX, and on downloading that software from Softonic, I verified that the installer behaves in the same way. It looks like Softonic is wrapping free software in a custom installer that installs adware, obviously to generate revenue for Softonic. I’m sure that the list of software being abused in this way will continue to grow over the next few days. This is despicable behavior, and I would ask everyone to boycott Softonic until they change their behavior.
To remove ChatZum, if you have installed it with something from Softonic, first open Safari’s preferences. In the General pane, change the Homepage setting to whatever page you want to use. Then go to the Extensions pane, select the ChatZum extension and click the Uninstall button. (If you use Firefox or Chrome, you will need to do the same thing there. Chrome’s extensions can be managed from the Extensions link on the settings page. Firefox extensions can be managed by going to Tools -> Add-ons, then selecting Extensions in the list.)
Once that is done, you need to manually delete a few files. First, open your applications folder and delete the following items:
Next, choose Go -> Go to Folder in the Finder (or press command-shift-G) and enter “/Library” in the box (without the quotes), then click Go. In that folder, find and delete the following items:
Application Support/SIMBL/Plugins/SafariOmnibar.bundle Internet Plug-Ins/uid.plist Internet Plug-Ins/zako.plugin
After deleting these files, make sure to quit Safari and reopen it, otherwise the changes will not take effect immediately.
You will probably also want to remove SIMBL, which can cause problems, since it allows all manner of unexpected modifications to applications. If you did not have SIMBL installed already, and want to get rid of it, while still looking in the same Library folder as above, remove the following files:
Application Support/SIMBL/ LaunchAgents/net.culater.SIMBL.Agent.plist ScriptingAdditions/SIMBL.osax
I would also recommend removing whatever app you installed from Softonic, as it is currently unknown whether those apps are the “real thing” or not.