How to remove DisplayUpdate and MacPerformance adware

Also Known As: Ads by DisplayUpdate
Type: Mac Virus
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Medium

How to remove DisplayUpdate from Mac?

What is DisplayUpdate?

DisplayUpdate is an adware-type application and part of the Pirrit adware family. DisplayUpdate installs other adware called MacPerformance (also belonging to the Pirrit family) on Mac computers. When installed, adware-type apps feed users with unwanted advertisements and sometimes collect user-system information. Furthermore, DisplayUpdate opens pop-up windows that offer to update software using various tools (these are actually fake).

DisplayUpdate adware

Adware-type applications force affected browsers to display ads such as coupons, banners, surveys, pop-up ads, and so on. Typically, these open untrustworthy/malicious websites, or run scripts that download or install other unwanted applications. In any case, it is not safe to click these ads. Adware might also be used to record details such as users' IP addresses, addresses of visited websites, entered search queries, geolocations, and other data of this kind. In some cases, adware might record private, sensitive details. Developers share the information with other parties (potentially, cyber criminals) who misuse it to generate revenue. Typically, people do not install adware intentionally. Developers distribute these apps using deceptive methods. Therefore, they are known as potentially unwanted applications (PUAs). You are advised to avoid these apps and remove any installed PUAs immediately. Additionally, if allowed, the MacPerformance app can access and control Google Chrome (or other browsers). Granting these permissions provides MacPerformance with access to documents and data within the browser, and to perform actions within the app. DisplayUpdate displays fake notifications about possible 'software updates' - it is likely that these pop-ups are designed to distribute other PUAs.

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by DisplayUpdate
Threat Type Mac malware, Mac virus.
Detection Names Avast (MacOS:Pirrit-AT [Adw]), DrWeb (Adware.Mac.Pirrit.104), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of OSX/Adware.Pirrit.AN), Kaspersky (Not-a-virus:HEUR:AdWare.OSX.Pirrit.s), Full List (VirusTotal)
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.
Malware Removal (Mac)

To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your Mac with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
▼ Download Combo Cleaner for Mac
To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Combo Cleaner. Limited three days free trial available.

There are many adware-type apps online, all of which have similar behavior. Examples of other adware infections include AssistEngine, GenerelOpen, and TechNetSearch. In most cases,  these apps feed users with unwanted, deceptive ads and/or collect private details. In any case, adware or other PUAs should not be installed on systems.

How did DisplayUpdate install on my computer?

Typically, adware can be downloaded and installed through other software or via intrusive, deceptive advertisements. Some developers seek to trick people into unwanted downloads and installations using a deceptive marketing method called "bundling". They include PUAs into the set-ups of other software. Furthermore, they do not disclose related information properly and hide offers to download or install unwanted apps in the settings of various set-ups such as "Custom", "Advanced", and so on. They hope that people will not check or change any of the aforementioned settings, thereby allowing various PUAs (including adware) to be downloaded or installed through regular software setups.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications

Download and install all software (especially if it is free) properly. Download from official and trustworthy websites, and using direct download links. Do not use third party downloaders, installers, torrent clients, eMule (or other Peer-to-Peer networks), unofficial pages, or other similar sources when downloading or installing programs. Handle all installations and downloads properly. Check "Advanced", "Custom" and other settings that are available in the set-ups and dismiss offers to download or install unwanted apps. Once clicked, intrusive ads often cause redirects to dubious, untrustworthy websites or run scripts designed to download or install potentially malicious apps. If unwanted ads and redirects appear/occur often, it is likely that they are caused by adware installed on the browser/system. To stop your browser from opening unwanted pages or showing ads, remove all unwanted, unknown extensions, add-ons, and plug-ins installed. Also uninstall programs of this type installed on the operating system. If your computer is already infected with DisplayUpdate, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate this adware.

DisplayUpdate adware running in Activity Monitor:

displayupdate running in activity monitor

DisplayUpdate enables a pop-up window that offers to update software (actually, via fake tools):

displayupdate offers fake updates

MacPerformance asking for permission to control and access Chrome:

MacPerformance wants to access Chrome and to control it

Text in this pop-up:

"MacPerformance" wants access to control "Google Chrome". Allowing control will provide access to documents and data in "Google Chrome", and to perform actions within that app.

Instant automatic Mac malware removal: 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 Mac malware. 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. To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Combo Cleaner. Limited three days free trial available.

Quick menu:

Video showing how to remove adware and browser hijackers from a Mac computer:

DisplayUpdate adware removal:

Remove DisplayUpdate-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 ads by displayupdate 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.

Ads by DisplayUpdate removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove ads by displayupdate 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 ads by displayupdate 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 ads by displayupdate 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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Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

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

QR Code
Ads by DisplayUpdate 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 Ads by DisplayUpdate on your mobile device.
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