FacebookTwitterLinkedIn

How to remove ExploreSearchResults adware

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

What is ExploreSearchResults?

ExploreSearchResults is a rogue application belonging to the AdLoad adware family. It runs intrusive advertisement campaigns (i.e. delivers various unwanted and harmful ads).

As well as operating as adware, it has browser hijacker characteristics, which are defined by modification and access restriction of browser settings, and promotion of fake search engines. ExploreSearchResults promotes search.landslidesearch.com or home.searchpulse.net, which are bogus web searchers.

This app infiltrates systems via a fake Flash Player updater and, due to the dubious proliferation methods employed, it is classified as a Potentially Unwanted Application (PUA). Most apps within this classification have data-tracking capabilities, which they use to gather browsing-related information.

ExploreSearchResults adware

Adware delivers various ads including, for example, pop-ups, banners, surveys, coupons, and so on. These significantly diminish the browsing experience by limiting browsing speed and site visibility (i.e. they overlay web page content), however, these ads are also a threat to device/user safety.

When clicked, they redirect to sale-based, rogue, compromised, deceptive/scam and even malicious web pages. Some intrusive advertisements can be triggered (by clicking them) to execute scripts designed to download/install rogue content (e.g. PUAs) without users' permission.

Browser hijackers, with which ExploreSearchResults shares similarities, reassign the homepage, default search engine and new tab/window URLs to the addresses of their fake search engines. Therefore, with ExploreSearchResults installed, each new browser tab/window opened and each search query typed into the URL bar redirects to search.landslidesearch.com or home.searchpulse.net.

As few bogus search engines can generate unique results, they tend to redirect to (or cause redirection chains ending with) genuine sites - search.landslidesearch.com is no exception, and simply redirects to search.yahoo.com. Additionally, any changes users attempt to make to their browsers are reset, if access to the settings is permitted at all.

Therefore, unless the browser hijacker is removed, recovering the affected browser is impossible. Most PUAs (adware type apps and browser hijackers included) possess data tracking capabilities.

They monitor users' browsing habits (URLs visited, search queries typed, etc.) and collect their personal information (IP addresses, geolocations and other personal details). It is highly likely that this private data is then shared with third parties, intent on misusing it for profit, possibly by putting it to criminal use.

In summary, PUAs can lead to various browser and system infiltration/infections, financial loss, serious privacy issues and even identity theft. Therefore, you are strongly advised 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.
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.

GlobalAdviseSearchFocusProvideEngineFiles and CentralLocator are some examples of other adware-type apps. In general, most PUAs seem legitimate, with little to no difference from genuine corresponding software.

Users are lured into download/installation with a broad array of "useful" functions. These features rarely work as advertised and, in most cases, are nonoperational.

The only purpose of this unwanted content is to generate revenue for the developers - it is not designed for user convenience and has no real value to them. Rather than working as promised, PUAs deliver intrusive ad campaigns, modify browsers and promote fake search engines, force-open untrusted/malicious websites and track sensitive data.

How did ExploreSearchResults install on my computer?

ExploreSearchResults is installed through bogus Flash Player updates, which are commonly promoted by deceptive pages. This 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 set-ups of normal products as well. This deceptive marketing tactic of pre-packing regular content with unwanted or malicious software is called "bundling".

Rushing download/installation processes (e.g. ignoring terms, skipping steps and sections, etc.) increases the risk of inadvertently allowing bundled content onto systems. Some PUAs have "official" download pages, where they are endorsed as "useful" and typically "free" products.

These web pages are usually promoted by deceptive/scam sites (e.g. those claiming that a crucial piece of software is outdated, the device is infected or at risk, etc.). When intrusive ads are clicked, they can execute scripts to stealthily download/install PUAs.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications

It is important to research all products to verify their legitimacy prior to download/installation. All downloads should be performed from official and verified sources.

Do not use P2P sharing networks (BitTorrent, eMule, Gnutella, etc.), free file-hosting websites or other third party downloaders, as they are untrusted 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, you are advised to read the terms, study all possible options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings and opt-out of additional apps, tools, features, and so on. Intrusive advertisements seldom seem suspicious, however, they can redirect to dubious sites such as gambling, pornography, adult-dating and others.

If you encounter ads/redirects of this type, inspect the system and remove all suspect applications and 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 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 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 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 ExploreSearchResults adware using Combo Cleaner:

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.

Click to post a comment

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.

Our malware removal guides are free. However, if you want to support us you can send us a donation.

Removal Instructions in other languages
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
Scan this QR code to have an easy access removal guide of Ads by ExploreSearchResults on your mobile device.
We Recommend:

Get rid of Mac malware infections today:

▼ REMOVE IT NOW
Download Combo Cleaner for Mac

Platform: macOS

Editors' Rating for Combo Cleaner:
Editors ratingOutstanding!

[Back to Top]

To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Combo Cleaner. Limited three days free trial available.