How to remove ScreenSaver.app adware from Mac?

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

How to remove ScreenSaver from Mac?

What is ScreenSaver?

Identical to ScreenCapture.app, Spaces.app, and few others, ScreenSaver (also known as ScreenSaver.app) is a potentially unwanted application (PUA), a software that is categorized as adware. This particular app is designed to promote a questionable website, searchbaron.com, which is a fake search engine. This search engine redirects users to bing.com, it does it by using the Amazon AWS service. Typically, people download and install apps like 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's background and follows user's Internet browsing activities. Every time a search query into a browser is entered, ScreenSaver forces user to visit searchbaron.com and only then opens the bing.com page and displays search results. It is possible that ScreenSaver might open bing.com through the Amazon AWS service that we mentioned in the introduction. Bing is a well known and legitimate search engine, however, it does not mean that its developers have anything to do with the ScreenSaver adware. Bing search engine is safe to use, however, the searchbaron.com fake search engine which gets opened before bing.com is used to collect information such as IP addresses, geolocations, entered search queries, addresses of visited pages and other similar information. Additionally, by being forced to visit searchbaron.com, ScreenSaver's users are used to generate fake traffic. Furthermore, adware-type apps usually are designed to display unwanted ads that, if clicked, lead to untrustworthy pages or even downloads and/or installations of unwanted applications. Examples of ads that apps of this type often display are various coupons, banners, surveys, pop-ups and so on. Adware could be used to gather data too, such as IP addresses and other information that is collected by the searchbaron.com fake search engine. People who develop these apps often misuse collected information to generate revenue or share it with other people who misuse it. In some cases other parties involve cyber criminals. Apps like ScreenSaver should be removed as soon as possible, however, it is not so easy to do that. To successfully remove it we recommend to follow the steps that are described below.

Threat Summary:
Name ScreenSaver.app virus
Threat Type Mac malware, Mac virus
Symptoms Your Mac became slower than normal, you see unwanted pop-up ads, you get redirected to shady websites.
Distribution methods Deceptive pop-up ads, free software installers (bundling), fake flash player installers, torrent file downloads.
Damage Internet browsing tracking (potential privacy issues), displaying of unwanted ads, redirects to shady 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.

Typically, adware developers present apps their apps as legitimate and useful. Unfortunately, people who have them installed on their browsers or operating systems are exposed to problems with browsing safety, privacy and other issues. Besides, instead of being useful (providing users with any real value), adware-type apps display ads and collect various data. In other words, they are designed only to generate revenue for their developers.

How did ScreenSaver install on my computer?

As we mentioned in the introduction, most people download and install adware and other PUAs unwillingly. One way to install unwanted apps unintentionally is to click some advertisement which is designed to run script that causes download or even installation of some application. In other cases unwanted downloads/installations happen when people carelessly install various software. Developers bundle (include) PUAs into various download and/or installation setups and hide information about it in "Custom", "Advanced" and other settings of this kind. When people leave such settings unchanged, they often allow for unwanted apps to be downloaded or/and installed together with other software.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

Download software from official and trustworthy pages, do not use third party downloaders, Peer-to-Peer networks such as torrent clients or eMule, dubious websites, or other similar channels. Always check all "Custom", "Advanced" and other similar settings that are available in every 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 shady pages that are related to gambling, adult dating, pornography and so on. These ads often cause redirects to other untrustworthy 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 apply the same. 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 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 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 terminating its process first. The problem is that process is automatically re-started the second it's terminated. Therefore, in order to remove this application you must perform the following steps:

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

removal of ScreenSaver step 1

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

Removal of ScreenSaver step 2

3) Once the previous steps are performed, the process of ScreenSaver application will no longer be automatically re-started and you'll able to easily terminate it, as well as remove the rest of application's files:

Removal of ScreenSaver step 3

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

Removal of ScreenSaver step 4 

5) And finally, go to "~/Library/LaunchAgents/" directory, 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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