How to remove NeedWebSearch adware from MacOS

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

How to remove NeedWebSearch from Mac computers

What is NeedWebSearch?

The NeedWebSearch application is classified as adware. It is endorsed as a tool for improving the browsing experience and is allegedly capable of providing fast searches, accurate search results, etc. Despite this, it runs intrusive advertisement campaigns (i.e., delivers unwanted and potentially harmful ads). Most adware-types possess data tracking capabilities, which they employ to monitor users' browsing habits. Due to dubious methods used to distribute NeedWebSearch, it is classed as a Potentially Unwanted Application (PUA).

NeedWebSearch adware

Banners, pop-ups, coupons, and surveys are just some examples of ads displayed by adware. These intrusive ads severely affect the browsing experience and are a threat to browser/system integrity. They limit browsing speed and website visibility by overlaying web page content. Furthermore, when clicked, they redirect to various dubious and harmful web pages. For example, sale-oriented, compromised, deceptive/scam, and even malicious sites. Some can also be triggered to execute scripts designed to download/install unwanted and malicious content (e.g. PUAs) without users' permission. As mentioned, unwanted apps cause redirects to likewise dangerous web pages and deliver ads, however, they can also make unauthorized changes to browsers (hijack them) and promote fake search engines. Regardless of type (e.g. adware, browser hijacker, etc.), most PUAs can track data. They use these capabilities to record browsing activity (URLs visited, pages viewed, search queries typed, etc.) and collect users' personal information (IP addresses, geolocation and other details). This private data is then shared with third parties (often, cyber criminals) seeking to generate revenue by misusing it. In summary, PUAs (and by extension, adware) can cause browser and system infiltration/infections, and lead to serious privacy issues, financial loss and even identity theft. To ensure device and user safety, remove all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins immediately upon detection.

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by NeedWebSearch
Threat Type Adware, 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.
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.

Adware is a common type of PUA. Most of these apps share certain traits. MightyBrowserProdigySearchCustomStrategic, and OutputData are just some examples of applications similar to NeedWebSearch. In fact, all PUAs have similarities. They often seem legitimate and attempt to lure users into downloading/installing them with offers of "useful" features. In most cases, however, these features are nonoperational. PUAs have just one purpose: to generate revenue for the developers, whilst regular users receive no value. Rather than working as advertised, unwanted apps run intrusive ad campaigns, cause redirects, hijack browsers, and gather sensitive data.

How did NeedWebSearch install on my computer?

PUAs are often installed with other software inadvertently. This deceptive marketing tactic of packing normal products with unwanted or malicious content is called "bundling". By rushing through the download/installation processes (e.g. skimming or ignoring terms, using pre-set options, skipping steps and sections, etc.), many users increase the risk of potential system infiltration and infections. Certain PUAs have "official" promotional websites, on which they are usually promoted as legitimate, functional, and free. When clicked, intrusive advertisements can stealthily download/install these apps.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications

Research all content to verify its legitimacy, before downloading/installing. Use only official and verified download channels. Peer-to-Peer sharing networks (BitTorrent, eMule, Gnutella, etc.), unofficial and free file-hosting sites, third party downloaders and similar sources are classed as untrustworthy and should be avoided. When downloading/installing, read the terms, explore all available options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings, and opt-out of supplementary apps, tools, features, etc. While typically hosted by compromised web pages, intrusive ads often appear legitimate and harmless, however, they can redirect to dubious and possibly harmful websites, such as gambling, pornography, adult-dating and others. If you encounter ads or redirects of this kind, inspect the device and remove all suspicious applications and/or browser extensions/plug-ins without delay. If your computer is already infected with NeedWebSearch, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate this adware.

Pop-up window displayed once NeedWebSearch installation is complete:

pop-up displayed once NeedWebSearch installation is done

Installation folder of NeedWebSearch adware:

NeedWebSearch install folder

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 NeedWebSearch adware using Combo Cleaner:

NeedWebSearch adware removal:

Remove NeedWebSearch-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 needwebsearch 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 NeedWebSearch removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove ads by needwebsearch 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 needwebsearch 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 needwebsearch 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 NeedWebSearch 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 NeedWebSearch on your mobile device.
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