How to remove ExploreSearchResults adware?

Also Known As: Ads by ExploreSearchResults
Type: Mac Virus
Distribution: Moderate
Damage level: Medium

How to remove ExploreSearchResults from Mac?

What is ExploreSearchResults?

ExploreSearchResults is a rogue application, belonging to the AdLoad adware family. It is designed to run intrusive advertisement campaigns (i.e. deliver various undesirable and harmful ads). Aside from operating as adware, it also has browser hijacker traits - which are defined by modification and access restriction of browser settings, as well as promotion of fake search engines. ExploreSearchResults promotes search.landslidesearch.com or home.searchpulse.net - illegitimate web searchers. This app infiltrates systems via fake Flash Player updater and due to such dubious proliferation methods, it is classified as a PUA (Potentially Unwanted Application). Most apps within this class have data tracking abilities, which they employ to gather browsing-related information.

ExploreSearchResults adware

Adware delivers various adverts, for example - pop-ups, banners, surveys, coupons and so on. They severely diminish the browsing experience by limiting browsing speed and site visibility (i.e. overlay page content). However, these ads are also deemed to be a threat to device/user safety. When clicked, they redirect to sale-based, rogue, compromised, deceptive/scam and even malicious webpages. Some intrusive advertisements can be triggered (by clicking on them) to execute scripts, designed to download/install content (e.g. PUAs) without user permission. Browser hijackers, which ExploreSearchResults shares similarities with, reassign browsers' homepage, default search engine and new tab/window URLs to the addresses of their fake web searchers. Therefore, with ExploreSearchResults installed, every single new browser tab/window opened and every search query typed into the URL bar - redirect to search.landslidesearch.com or home.searchpulse.net. As few illegitimate search engines can generate search results, they tend to redirect to (or cause redirection chains ending with) a genuine one; search.landslidesearch.com is not an exception - it redirects to search.yahoo.com. Additionally, any changes users attempt to make to their browsers can be reset, if access to the settings is not limited or denied outright. Hence, unless the browser hijacker is removed - recovering the affected browser is impossible. Most PUAs (adware-types and browser hijackers included) possess data tracking abilities. They monitor users' browsing habits (URLs visited, search queries typed, etc.) and collect their personal information (IP addresses, geolocations and real-life personal details). It is highly likely that this private data will then be shared with third parties, intent on misusing it for profit - possibly by putting it to criminal use. In summary, PUAs can lead to a variety of browser and system infiltrations/infections, financial losses, serious privacy issues and even identity theft. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to remove all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins immediately upon detection.

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by ExploreSearchResults
Threat Type Adware, Mac malware, Mac virus
Detection Names Avast (MacOS:Adload-M [Trj]), Ikarus (Trojan-Downloader.OSX.Adload), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of OSX/TrojanDownloader.Adlo), Kaspersky (Not-a-virus:HEUR:AdWare.OSX.Cimpli.k), 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.
Removal

To eliminate Ads by ExploreSearchResults 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.

GlobalAdviseSearchFocusProvideEngineFiles and CentralLocator are a couple examples of other adware-type apps. In general, all PUAs appear legitimate with little to no difference from genuine corresponding software. Users are lured into downloading/installing them with a broad array of "useful" and "advantageous" functions. Rarely do these features work as advertised and in most cases - they are utterly nonoperational. It must be emphasized that the only purpose of unwanted content is to generate revenue for its developers, it is not designed for user convenience and has no real value to them. Instead of working as promised, PUAs deliver intrusive ad campaigns, modify browsers and promote fake search engines, force-open untrustworthy/malicious websites and track sensitive data.

How did ExploreSearchResults install on my computer?

ExploreSearchResults is installed through fraudulent Flash Player updates, such are commonly pushed by deceptive pages. This kind of scam is furthered by fake claims that the Flash Player plug-in is out-of-date and requires to be updated. However, PUAs have several proliferation methods, not just by being downloaded/installed under the guise of other software. They spread via download/install setups of ordinary products as well. This false marketing tactic of pre-packing regular content with unwanted or malicious software is called "bundling". Rushed download/installation processes (e.g. ignored terms, skipped steps and sections, etc.) - increase the risk of inadvertently allowing bundled content onto systems. Some PUAs have "official" download pages, where they are endorsed as "handy" and typically "free" products. These webpages are usually promoted by deceptive/scam sites (e.g. ones claiming a crucial piece of software is outdated, the device is infected or at risk, etc.). When intrusive adverts are clicked, they can execute scripts to stealthily download/install PUAs

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

It is important to research products to verify their legitimacy, prior to download/installation. All downloads should be done from official and verified sources. It is ill-advised to use P2P sharing networks (BitTorrent, eMule, Gnutella, etc.), free file-hosting websites and other third party downloaders - as they are considered to be untrustworthy and can offer similarly dubious content. Software must be updated only with tools/functions provided by legitimate developers, as opposed to various third party updaters. When downloading/installing, it is recommended to read terms, study all possible options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings and opt-put from additional apps, tools, features and so on. Intrusive advertisements seldom look suspicious, however they redirect to unreliable and questionable sites, e.g. gambling, pornography, adult-dating and others. In case of encounters with ads/redirects of this type, users should inspect the system and remove all suspect applications and/or browser extensions/plug-ins without delay. If your computer is already infected with ExploreSearchResults, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate this adware.

Screenshot of Google Chrome browser settings hijacked by ExploreSearchResults:

ExploreSearchResults adware hijacked Chrome settings

Files related to the ExploreSearchResults adware that need to be removed:

  • ~/Library/Application Support/com.ExploreSearchResults/ExploreSearchResults
  • ~/Library/Application Support/com.ExploreSearchResultsDaemon/ExploreSearchResults
  • ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.ExploreSearchResults.plist
  • ~/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.ExploreSearchResultsDaemon.plist

IMPORTANT NOTE! Rogue setups/apps that promote the ExploreSearchResults adware are designed to create new device profiles. Therefore, before taking any further removal steps, perform these actions:
1) Click the "Preferences" icon in the menu bar and select "Profiles"

ExploreSearchResults preferences step 1

2) Select the "ExploreSearchResults" profiles and delete them.

ExploreSearchResults preferences step 2

3) Perform a full system scan with Combo Cleaner anti-virus suite.

After performing these actions, you can proceed with further removal steps for this browser hijacker.

Instant automatic removal of Ads by ExploreSearchResults: 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 Ads by ExploreSearchResults. 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 adware and browser hijackers from a Mac computer:

ExploreSearchResults adware removal:

Remove ExploreSearchResults-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 exploresearchresults 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 ExploreSearchResults removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove ads by exploresearchresults 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 exploresearchresults 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 exploresearchresults 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 ExploreSearchResults QR code
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Platform: macOS

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