How to remove ExpertModuleSearch and other adware

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

How to remove ExpertModuleSearch from Mac computers

What is ExpertModuleSearch?

The ExpertModuleSearch application is part of the AdLoad adware family. Research shows that it is distributed and installed through a fake Adobe Flash Player installer. ExpertModuleSearch is not the only potentially unwanted app (PUA) that is installed through this installer - another PUA named Safe Finder is also installed. ExpertModuleSearch operates as a browser hijacker and promotes fake search engines by changing browser settings. Furthermore, apps of this type often record browsing data.

ExpertModuleSearch adware

ExpertModuleSearch is adware that feeds users with advertisements. Typically, these PUAs serve ads in the form of banners, coupons, pop-ups, surveys, and so on. The ads lead people who click them to various untrusted, potentially malicious web pages. In some cases, they execute certain scripts that download and/or install unwanted software. Furthermore, apps such as ExpertModuleSearch often gather browsing-related details. For example, entered search queries, addresses of visited pages, geolocations, IP addresses, and other browsing data, however, they might also record private, sensitive details. Developers misuse the data to generate revenue and/or sell it to third parties (potentially, cyber criminals). Safe Finder also changes browser settings such as the address of the default search engine, homepage, and new tab. It might change them to search.safefinderformac.com, search.macsafefinder.com, search.safefinder.com, or the address of other fake search engines. Users of hijacked browsers are thus forced to visit/use a specific fake search engine as long as the hijacker is installed on the browser and/or operating system. The only way to prevent this is to uninstall the browser hijacker. Having ExpertModuleSearch and Safe Finder installed can lead to installation of additional PUAs, problems with browsing safety, privacy, and users may also become victims of identity theft. For these reasons, we recommend against using any fake Adobe Flash installers. If PUAs are already installed on the browser and/or operating system, they should be removed immediately.

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by ExpertModuleSearch
Threat Type Adware, Mac malware, Mac virus.
Detection Names Avast (MacOS:Adload-M [Trj]), BitDefender (Adware.MAC.Generic.14616), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of OSX/TrojanDownloader.Adload.AE), Kaspersky (Not-a-virus:HEUR:AdWare.OSX.Cimpli.k), Full List (VirusTotal)
Promoted Unwanted Apps Safe Finder
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.

ExpertModuleSearch is similar to ExploreSearchResults, GlobalAdviseSearch and other adware-type software. Typically, these apps are useless and simply cause problems: they serve unwanted, often deceptive advertisements and gather information relating to users. Many people download and install adware or PUAs unintentionally.

How did ExpertModuleSearch install on my computer?

ExpertModuleSearch is distributed through a fake Adobe Flash Player installer. These installers are used to trick people into installing potentially unwanted or even malicious software. This distribution method of rogue software is known as "bundling". Generally, information about additional downloads and installations is hidden in "Custom", "Advanced" and other settings of the download/installation set-ups. When people download or install software without checking and changing the settings, they often allow PUAs or even malware to also be downloaded and installed. Fake Adobe Flash Players are used to proliferate malicious program such as Trojans, ransomware, and other malware. Additionally, unwanted downloads/installations can be caused through deceptive ads that run certain scripts, however, this cannot happen unless the ads are first clicked.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications

You are advised to download all software from trustworthy and official websites and via direct links. Third party downloaders and installers, Peer-to-Peer networks such as torrent clients, eMule, unofficial websites and other similar sources, tools should not be used, since they are used to distribute unwanted or even malicious programs. Check "Advanced", "Custom" and other settings of the download/installation setup. Completing downloads and installations without checking and changing these settings often leads to download and installation of additional, potentially unwanted programs. It is not safe to click advertisements that appear on web pages relating to gambling, adult dating, pornography, and other dubious sites. The ads usually open untrusted web pages or cause download/installation of unwanted apps. If you believe that a PUA is already installed, we recommend that you check the list of extensions, plug-ins and add-ons that are installed on the browser, and remove all unwanted, unknown or suspicious apps. The same should be applied to programs of this kind that are installed on the operating system. If your computer is already infected with ExpertModuleSearch, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate this adware.

Deceptive application installer promoting ExpertModuleSearch adware:

Delusive installer used to promote ExpertModuleSearch

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

  • ~/Library/Application Support/com.ExpertModuleSearch/ExpertModuleSearch
  • ~/Library/Application Support/com.ExpertModuleSearchDaemon/ExpertModuleSearch
  • ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.ExpertModuleSearchP.plist
  • ~/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.ExpertModuleSearchDaemon.plist

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

pavadinimas preferences step 1

2) Select the "AdminPrefs" profile and delete it.

pavadinimas 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 adware.

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:

ExpertModuleSearch adware removal:

Remove ExpertModuleSearch-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 expertmodulesearch 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 ExpertModuleSearch removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove ads by expertmodulesearch 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 expertmodulesearch 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 expertmodulesearch 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 ExpertModuleSearch 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 ExpertModuleSearch on your mobile device.
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