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Stop SearchPrimary from running ad campaigns

Also Known As: Ads by SearchPrimary
Type: Mac Virus
Damage level: Medium

What is SearchPrimary?

SearchPrimary is adware-type software, allegedly designed to improve the browsing experience. This application is supposedly capable of providing fast searches, accurate search results, and so on. In fact, it runs intrusive advertisement campaigns. I.e., SearchPrimary delivers various unwanted and even harmful ads.

Most users install this app inadvertently, and therefore it is also classified as a Potentially Unwanted Application (PUA).

SearchPrimary adware

Adware can display a wide variety of intrusive ads, such as pop-ups, coupons, banners, surveys, etc. Advertisements of this kind significantly diminish the browsing experience. They limit browsing speed and website visibility by overlaying web page content.

Once clicked, they generate redirects to sale-oriented, untrustworthy, deceptive, scam and malicious web pages. Some can also execute scripts to download/install content without users' permission. An example of this content are PUAs. As well as delivering ads, PUAs have other dangerous capabilities.

They can force-open likewise dangerous sites and hijack browsers. The latter is is achieved by making unauthorized changes to browsers and limiting/denying access to their settings. Regardless of the specifics, most PUAs can track data.

They employ these capabilities to monitor browsing habits (URLs visited, pages viewed, search queries typed, etc.) and to collect users' personal information (IP addresses, geolocations and other details). The threat arises from this when the gathered data is shared with third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) seeking to misuse the sensitive information for profit.

In summary, unwanted apps can cause various browser and system infiltration/infections, lead to serious privacy issues, financial loss and even result in identity theft. To ensure device integrity and user safety, it is important to remove all suspect applications and browser extensions/plug-ins immediately upon detection.

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by SearchPrimary
Threat Type Adware, Mac malware, Mac virus.
Detection Names Avast (MacOS:Adload-J [Trj]), DrWeb (Adware.Mac.Loader.17), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of OSX/TrojanDownloader.Adload), Ikarus (Trojan-Downloader.OSX.Adload), 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 seven days free trial available. Combo Cleaner is owned and operated by Rcs Lt, the parent company of PCRisk.com read more.

Adware is a common type of PUA, all of which share many similarities. SearchAdditionallyElementsCentral, and FormList are some examples of apps akin to SearchPrimary. This applies to most unwanted applications - they tend to have similar traits. PUAs often seem legitimate and normal.

Users are lured into downloading/installing them with offers of "useful" and "beneficial" functions/features. Despite how good these offers may sound, the features promised are rarely functional. The only purpose of all unwanted content is to generate revenue for the developers - they are not created for users' convenience and have no genuine value to them.

PUAs deliver intrusive advertisements, cause redirects to untrustworthy/malicious websites, modify browsers and track private data.

How did SearchPrimary install on my computer?

PUAs can be downloaded/installed together with other products. This deceptive marketing technique of pre-packing regular software with unwanted or malicious applications is called "bundling".

Rushing download and installation processes (e.g. ignoring terms, using presets, skipping steps and sections, etc.) increases the risk of unintentionally allowing bundled content onto systems, thereby endangering them with potential infiltration and infections.

Certain PUAs also have "official" promotional pages, from which they can be downloaded, typically "free". When clicked, however, intrusive ads can execute scripts to stealthily download/install PUAs.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications

You are strongly advised to research all content to verify its legitimacy, prior to downloading/installing. Use official and verified download channels, as opposed to Peer-to-Peer sharing networks (BitTorrent, Gnutella, eMule, etc.), free file-hosting sites, third party downloaders and similar sources, which are untrusted.

When downloading/installing, read the terms, explore all available options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings and opt-out of supplementary apps, tools, functions and so on. Intrusive ads usually seem normal and innocuous, however, they cause redirects to dubious web pages (gambling, pornography, adult-dating, etc.).

If you encounter advertisements/redirects of this type, inspect the device and remove all suspicious applications and/or browser extensions/plug-ins without delay. If your computer is already infected with SearchPrimary, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate this adware.

Pop-up window displayed once SearchPrimary installation is complete:

pop-up displayed once SearchPrimary installation is done

Installation folder of SearchPrimary adware:

SearchPrimary adware 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 seven days free trial available. Combo Cleaner is owned and operated by Rcs Lt, the parent company of PCRisk.com read more.

Quick menu:

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

SearchPrimary adware removal:

Remove SearchPrimary-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 searchprimary 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 SearchPrimary removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove ads by searchprimary 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 searchprimary 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 searchprimary 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.

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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.

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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.

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