How to remove ScreenSaver.app adware from your Mac

Also Known As: ScreenSaver.app virus
Type: Mac Virus
Distribution: Moderate
Damage level: Medium

How to remove ScreenSaver from Mac?

What is ScreenSaver?

Identical to ScreenCapture.app, Spaces.app, and a number of others, ScreenSaver (also known as ScreenSaver.app) is a potentially unwanted application (PUA) and software categorized as adware. This particular app is designed to promote a dubious website (searchbaron.com), which is a fake search engine. This search engine redirects users to bing.com using the Amazon AWS service. Typically, people download and install apps such as ScreenSaver unintentionally. When installed, most adware-type apps feed users with annoying, intrusive ads and gather data about browsing habits.

ScreenSaver adware

When installed, the ScreenSaver application runs in the operating system background and follows users' internet browsing activities. Each time a search query is entered into a browser, ScreenSaver forces the user to visit searchbaron.com, and then simply opens the bing.com site and displays associated search results. It is possible that ScreenSaver might open bing.com through the Amazon AWS service. Bing is a well-known and legitimate search engine, however, this does not indicate that its developers have anything to do with the ScreenSaver adware. The Bing search engine is safe to use, however, the searchbaron.com fake search engine (which is opened before bing.com) is used to collect information such as IP addresses, geolocations, entered search queries, addresses of visited pages, and other similar details. Additionally, people who are forced to visit searchbaron.com by ScreenSaver are being used to generate fake traffic. Furthermore, adware-type apps usually display unwanted ads that, if clicked, lead to untrustworthy pages or even download and installation of unwanted applications. These apps often display coupons, banners, surveys, pop-ups, and so on. Adware might also be used to gather data such as IP addresses and other information that is collected by the searchbaron.com fake search engine. People who develop these apps often misuse the information to generate revenue, or share it with third parties (possibly, cyber criminals) who also misuse it. Apps such as ScreenSaver should be removed immediately, however, this might not be straightforward. To successfully remove ScreenSaver, follow the steps described below.

Threat Summary:
Name ScreenSaver.app virus
Threat Type Mac malware, Mac virus
Symptoms Your Mac becomes slower than normal, you see unwanted pop-up ads, you are redirected to dubious websites.
Distribution methods Deceptive pop-up ads, free software installers (bundling), fake flash player installers, torrent file downloads.
Damage Internet browser tracking (potential privacy issues), display of unwanted ads, redirects to dubious websites, loss of private information.
Removal

To eliminate ScreenSaver.app virus our malware researchers recommend scanning your computer with Combo Cleaner.
▼ Download Combo Cleaner
Free scanner checks if your computer is infected. To remove malware, you have to purchase the full version of Combo Cleaner.

Adware developers present their apps as legitimate and useful, however, people who have them installed on their browsers or operating systems are exposed to problems with browsing safety, privacy, and other issues. Rather than providing any useful features, adware-type apps display ads and collect data. They are designed only to generate revenue for their developers.

How did ScreenSaver install on my computer?

Many people download and install adware and other PUAs inadvertently. In some cases, by clicking advertisements that run scripts - these cause download and installation of a rogue application. In other cases, unwanted downloads/installations happen when people install software. Developers bundle (include) PUAs into various download and/or installation set-ups, and hide related information in "Custom", "Advanced", and other settings. Many people leave these settings unchanged, thereby allowing unwanted apps to be downloaded and installed with other software.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

Download software from official and trustworthy web pages. Do not use third party downloaders, Peer-to-Peer networks such as torrent clients or eMule, dubious websites or other similar channels. Check all "Custom", "Advanced" and other similar settings that are available in each download or installation setup. Deselect offers to install or download unwanted software, and only then complete the setup. Avoid clicking advertisements, especially if they are displayed on dubious web pages relating to gambling, adult dating, pornography, and so on. These often cause redirects to other untrustworthy web pages. If you encounter unwanted redirects or see intrusive ads, check your browser for unwanted applications (extensions, plug-ins, and add-ons) and remove them. Also check the list of installed programs on your computer and remove unwanted entries. If your computer is already infected with ScreenSaver, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate this adware.

Fake error message displayed by ScreenSaver application:

Fake error displayed by ScreenSaver application

Text in this error message:

Your computer is low on memory.

To free up some memory, please close a few applications.

This adware is also designed to ask for permissions to perform various actions in the Safari web browser by displaying a pop-up with this text:

“ScreenSaver.app“ 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.

Appearance of ScreenSaver adware redirecting to searchbaron.com, which, in turn, redirects to bing.com:

screensaver adware redirects to searchbaron.com and then to bing.com

IMPORTANT NOTE!

As mentioned above, removal of the ScreenSaver application is a complicated process. It is impossible to delete it without first terminating its process. The problem is that the process is automatically re-started immediately it is terminated. Therefore, to remove this application, you must perform the following steps:

1) Navigate to the "~/Library/Application Support/.screensaver/" directory, right-click on the "ScreenSaver" application, and select "Show Package Contents":

removal of ScreenSaver step 1

2) Navigate to the "Contents/MacOS" directory and delete the "ScreenSaver" application:

Removal of ScreenSaver step 2

3) Once the previous steps are performed, the process of the ScreenSaver application will no longer be automatically re-started, and you can then easily terminate it and remove the remaining application files:

Removal of ScreenSaver step 3

4) After removing the ScreenCapture application, you must navigate to the "/Users/Test/Library/Application Support" directory and enable the display of hidden directories. Then, search for a directory with a dubious name (e.g., ".helper", ".dir" or similar) which contains an application called "Finder". Once located, this entire directory must be deleted. Note that MacOS has a genuine Finder application. Yet, the malicious one has a completely different icon (typically, a Terminal logo) - criminals simply use this name as a disguise:

Removal of ScreenSaver step 4 

5) Finally, go to the "~/Library/LaunchAgents/" directory and find and remove the "com.xyz.abc.ScreenSaver.plist" file.

Removal of ScreenSaver step 5

Instant automatic removal of ScreenSaver.app virus: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Combo Cleaner is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of ScreenSaver.app virus. Download it by clicking the button below:
▼ DOWNLOAD Combo Cleaner for Mac By downloading any software listed on this website you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Free scanner checks if your computer is infected. To remove malware, you have to purchase the full version of Combo Cleaner.

Quick menu:

Video showing how to remove ScreenSaver adware using Combo Cleaner:

ScreenSaver adware removal:

Remove ScreenSaver-related potentially unwanted applications from your "Applications" folder:

mac browser hijacker removal from applications folder

Click the Finder icon. In the Finder window, select "Applications". In the applications folder, look for "MPlayerX", "NicePlayer", or other suspicious applications and drag them to the Trash. After removing the potentially unwanted application(s) that cause online ads, scan your Mac for any remaining unwanted components.

Remove screensaver.app virus related files and folders:

Finder go to folder command

Click the Finder icon, from the menu bar. Choose Go, and click Go to Folder...

step1Check for adware-generated files in the /Library/LaunchAgents folder:

removing adware from launch agents folder step 1

In the Go to Folder... bar, type: /Library/LaunchAgents

removing adware from launch agents folder step 2
In the “LaunchAgents” folder, look for any recently-added suspicious files and move them to the Trash. Examples of files generated by adware - “installmac.AppRemoval.plist”, “myppes.download.plist”, “mykotlerino.ltvbit.plist”, “kuklorest.update.plist”, etc. Adware commonly installs several files with the same string.

step2Check for adware generated files in the /Library/Application Support folder:

removing adware from application support folder step 1

In the Go to Folder... bar, type: /Library/Application Support

removing adware from application support folder step 2
In the “Application Support” folder, look for any recently-added suspicious folders. For example, “MplayerX” or “NicePlayer”, and move these folders to the Trash.

step3Check for adware-generated files in the ~/Library/LaunchAgents folder:

removing adware from ~launch agents folder step 1


In the Go to Folder bar, type: ~/Library/LaunchAgents

removing adware from ~launch agents folder step 2

In the “LaunchAgents” folder, look for any recently-added suspicious files and move them to the Trash. Examples of files generated by adware - “installmac.AppRemoval.plist”, “myppes.download.plist”, “mykotlerino.ltvbit.plist”, “kuklorest.update.plist”, etc. Adware commonly installs several files with the same string.

step4Check for adware-generated files in the /Library/LaunchDaemons folder:

removing adware from launch daemons folder step 1
In the Go to Folder... bar, type: /Library/LaunchDaemons

removing adware from launch daemons folder step 2
In the “LaunchDaemons” folder, look for recently-added suspicious files. For example “com.aoudad.net-preferences.plist”, “com.myppes.net-preferences.plist”, "com.kuklorest.net-preferences.plist”, “com.avickUpd.plist”, etc., and move them to the Trash.

step 5 Scan your Mac with Combo Cleaner:

If you have followed all the steps in the correct order you Mac should be clean of infections. To be sure your system is not infected run a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus. Download it HERE. After downloading the file double click combocleaner.dmg installer, in the opened window drag and drop Combo Cleaner icon on top of the Applications icon. Now open your launchpad and click on the Combo Cleaner icon. Wait until Combo Cleaner updates it's virus definition database and click "Start Combo Scan" button.

scan-with-combo-cleaner-1

Combo Cleaner will scan your Mac for malware infections. If the antivirus scan displays "no threats found" - this means that you can continue with the removal guide, otherwise it's recommended to remove any found infections before continuing.

scan-with-combo-cleaner-2

After removing files and folders generated by the adware, continue to remove rogue extensions from your Internet browsers.

ScreenSaver.app virus removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove screensaver.app virus related Safari extensions:

safari browser preferences

Open Safari browser, from the menu bar, select "Safari" and click "Preferences...".

safari extensions window

In the preferences window, select "Extensions" and look for any recently-installed suspicious extensions. When located, click the "Uninstall" button next to it/them. Note that you can safely uninstall all extensions from your Safari browser - none are crucial for normal browser operation.

  • If you continue to have problems with browser redirects and unwanted advertisements - Reset Safari.

firefox browser iconRemove malicious plug-ins from Mozilla Firefox:

Remove screensaver.app virus related Mozilla Firefox add-ons:

accessing mozilla firefox add-ons

Open your Mozilla Firefox browser. At the top right corner of the screen, click the "Open Menu" (three horizontal lines) button. From the opened menu, choose "Add-ons".

removing malicious add-ons from mozilla firefox

Choose the "Extensions" tab and look for any recently-installed suspicious add-ons. When located, click the "Remove" button next to it/them. Note that you can safely uninstall all extensions from your Mozilla Firefox browser - none are crucial for normal browser operation.

  • If you continue to have problems with browser redirects and unwanted advertisements - Reset Mozilla Firefox.

chrome-browser-iconRemove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:

Remove screensaver.app virus related Google Chrome add-ons:

removing malicious google chrome extensions step 1

Open Google Chrome and click the "Chrome menu" (three horizontal lines) button located in the top-right corner of the browser window. From the drop-down menu, choose "More Tools" and select "Extensions".

removing malicious Google Chrome extensions step 2

In the "Extensions" window, look for any recently-installed suspicious add-ons. When located, click the "Trash" button next to it/them. Note that you can safely uninstall all extensions from your Google Chrome browser - none are crucial for normal browser operation.

  • If you continue to have problems with browser redirects and unwanted advertisements - Reset Google Chrome.

About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

PCrisk security portal is brought by a company RCS LT. Joined forces of security researchers help educate computer users about the latest online security threats. More information about the company RCS LT.

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Removal Instructions in other languages
Malware activity

Global virus and spyware activity level today:

Medium threat activity
Medium

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

QR Code
ScreenSaver.app virus QR code
A QR code (Quick Response Code) is a machine-readable code which stores URLs and other information. This code can be read using a camera on a smartphone or a tablet. Scan this QR code to have an easy access removal guide of ScreenSaver.app virus on your mobile device.
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Platform: macOS

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