Beware of SkyScanner app spread through dubious installers

Also Known As: SkyScanner booking app
Type: Mac Virus
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Medium

How to remove SkyScanner from Mac computers

What is SkyScanner?

SkyScanner is a legitimate application and, as with the skyscanner.net website, belongs to the Trip.com Group (a travel services provider). The SkyScanner app aids the searching and booking of flights, hotels and car rentals. This application is genuine, however, it has been promoted by unaffiliated parties via dubious methods. For example, through fake Flash Player updates. Rogue software updaters are commonly used to proliferate untrusted content including adware, browser hijackers and other Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUAs). In some cases, these updates can even infect systems with malware (e.g. trojans, ransomware, etc.). Therefore, third party installation set-ups often contain legitimate products such as SkyScanner and also unwanted and malicious software.

SkyScanner application appearance

Potentially Unwanted Applications may seem genuine, with little to no outward difference from legitimate software, however, they have various capabilities, which endanger devices and user safety. PUAs can generate redirects to sale-oriented, untrusted, rogue, deceptive, compromised, scam and malicious sites. These apps can also run intrusive advertisement campaigns. The delivered ads (e.g. pop-ups, banners, coupons, surveys, etc.) significantly diminish the browsing experience as they limit browsing speed and website visibility (by overlaying page content). Furthermore, when clicked, intrusive ads redirect to similarly dangerous web pages and can execute scripts designed to stealthily download/install software (e.g. PUAs). Unwanted applications can hijack browsers (by making changes to settings and restricting/denying access to them) to promote fake search engines. The latter are rarely capable of providing unique results, and so they usually redirect to legitimate search engines (e.g. Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.). Regardless of their specific type, most PUAs can track data. They monitor users' browsing activity (URLs visited, pages viewed, search queries typed, etc.) and gather personal information derived from it (IP addresses, geolocations and personal details). The collected data is likely to contain sensitive information and is typically shared with third parties (potentially, cyber criminals), intent on misusing it for profit. In summary, the presence of PUAs on systems can lead to various infiltration and infections, serious privacy issues, financial loss and even identity theft. If SkyScanner has been installed without your consent, there is a high probability that some harmful applications have also infiltrated. Therefore, to ensure device integrity and user safety, you are advised to remove all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins immediately upon detection.

Threat Summary:
Name SkyScanner booking app
Threat Type PUP (potentially unwanted program), PUA (potentially unwanted application), Mac malware, Mac virus.
Functionality Search/Booking options for flights, hotels and car hire.
Symptoms A program that you do not recall installing suddenly appeared on your computer. A new application is performing computer scans and displays warning messages about 'found issues'. Asks for payment to eliminate the supposedly found errors.
Distribution Methods Deceptive pop-up ads, free software installers (bundling), fake Flash Player installers.
Additional Information Although SkyScanner is a legitimate and harmless application, cases where it infiltrates the system without users' consent (the "bundling" method) can cause issues - criminals often use bundling to spread multiple PUAs at once. In other words, if SkyScanner has been installed without your permission, there is a significant chance that it was deployed with a number of other rogue applications.
Damage Monetary loss (unnecessary purchase of fake software), unwanted warning pop-ups, slow computer performance.
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
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Many users are tempted to download/install PUAs, as they are often presented as useful and harmless products. This infiltration is aided by promises of "useful features", however, the advertised functions rarely work as promised and, in most cases, are nonoperational. The only purpose of unwanted apps is to generate revenue for the developers at users' expense. Rather than operating as promised, PUAs force-open dubious/malicious websites, deliver intrusive ads, hijack browsers and track private data.

How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?

Fake updaters, which are frequently promoted by scam web pages (e.g. "Latest version of Adobe Flash Player"), are just one method by which PUAs can infiltrate systems. They can also be downloaded/installed together with other products. This deceptive marketing technique of packing legitimate software with unwanted or malicious additions is called "bundling". When downloading/installing, ignoring terms, skipping steps and sections, and using pre-set options increases the risk of unintentionally allowing bundled content onto devices. Some PUAs have "official" promotional pages from which they can be downloaded. Intrusive advertisements proliferate these applications as well. Once clicked, they can execute scripts to download/install PUAs without users' consent.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications

You are strongly advised to research all products and download them only from official and verified sources. Untrustworthy download channels such as unofficial and free file-hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks (BitTorrent, eMule, Gnutella, etc.) and other third party downloaders should be avoided, as they can offer deceptive and/or bundled content. Approach download and installation processes with caution. Read the terms, explore all available options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings and opt-out of supplementary apps, tools, features and so on. Additionally, software should be updated with tools/functions provided by genuine developers, as third party updaters are high risk. Intrusive ads may seem normal and innocuous, however, they redirect to dubious sites (e.g. gambling, adult-dating, pornography and others). If you encounter these ads/redirects, inspect the system and remove all suspect applications and/or browser extensions/plug-ins without delay. If your computer is already infected with PUAs, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate them.

Screenshot of a dubious installation set-up (fake Flash Player updater) promoting SkyScanner application:

Dubious installer (fake Flash Payer updater) promoting SkyScanner app

Second step of this installation setup:

Another dubious installer (fake Flash Payer updater) promoting SkyScanner app

Third step of this installation setup (promoting booking.com virus):

Another dubious installer (fake Flash Payer updater) promoting SkyScanner app

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:

Potentially unwanted applications removal:

Remove 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 skyscanner booking app 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.

SkyScanner booking app removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove skyscanner booking app 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 skyscanner booking app 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 skyscanner booking app 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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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
SkyScanner booking app 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 SkyScanner booking app on your mobile device.
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