Maftask is a helper process for Mac Auto Fixer, a very common adware program. It claims to clean up your Mac from viruses but will insert ads into your browser and run itself on startup.
This article is part of our ongoing series explaining various processes found in Activity Monitor, though this one is different from the rest as while kernel_task, hidd, and installd are normal system processes, maftask is malware, and should be removed.
How Did This Get on My Computer?
You probably unknowingly installed it alongside another application. Mac Auto Fixer is bundled malware, meaning when you install something from an untrusted source (pop-up ads, scam emails, etc.) it installs itself alongside the app you intended to install. This is a common way of getting malware onto Macs and other computers, as it doesn’t require any hacking or exploiting of the operating system or browser to do.
MacOS isn’t safe from malware anymore. Malware used to focus primarily on Windows, but now adware and scamware are much more common on a Mac than it used to be. Everything is a lot more secure now, and scamware that users install directly makes up the most common form of malware.
For most things, the best antivirus you can have is a bit of tech sense. Don’t install software from advertisements or pop-up browser ads, as most of these are either scams or full-on malware. On a Mac, you can also stick to only trusted sources like the Mac App Store.
How Do I Get Rid of It?
Often malware will try to insert itself into other programs to keep itself hidden and become hard to remove. Luckily, Mac Auto Fixer isn’t an entirely nasty program and keeps itself contained to its own app container. Removing it is as simple as deleting the app.
You’ll probably find the app in the Applications folder in your home folder. Launch Finder and click “Applications” to find it. Simply Ctrl-click (or right-click) the Mac Auto Fixer application and move it to trash. Reboot your Mac afterward to verify that the app is removed. It might also be in the system applications folder, located at the root of your hard drive.
Alternatively, you can try to remove it automatically with Malwarebytes, a free (and legitimate) malware scanner for macOS. Malwarebytes will have the added benefit of removing all files associated with Mac Auto Fixer and any other malicious applications you might have installed.