How to remove MainSignalSearch adware

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

How to remove MainSignalSearch from Mac computers

What is MainSignalSearch?

MainSignalSearch belongs to the family of adware named AdLoad. It is a potentially unwanted application (PUA), which is designed to display intrusive advertisements. Furthermore, MainSignalSearch operates as a browser hijacker and promotes a fake search engine by changing certain browser settings. It is very likely that this app will also collect information. Research shows that MainSignalSearch is distributed through fake Adobe Flash Player installers. People usually download and install applications of this type unintentionally.

MainSignalSearch adware

Installed adware-type applications feed users with advertisements that are usually displayed in the form of pop-ups, banners, coupons, surveys, and so on. Typically, these ads conceal underlying content of visited web pages. Furthermore, most lead to dubious or even malicious sites or cause download/installation of unwanted apps by executing certain scripts (this only happens when users click the ads). Furthermore, MainSignalSearch promotes a fake search engine by assigning it as the address of the homepage, default search engine and new tab. Typically, it is impossible to remove the fake search engine URL from settings without first uninstalling the app that assigned them. These search engines are classified as fake, since they do not generate unique results and can provide misleading information. Furthermore, MainSignalSearch is likely to collect browsing data such as entered search queries, addresses of visited/opened websites, geolocations, IP addresses and other details of this kind. It might also record sensitive information. The people responsible for apps such as MainSignalSearch generate revenue by selling the data to third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) who misuse it in other ways. By having MainSignalSearch (and other apps of this type) installed on browsers and operating systems, many users risk becoming victims of identity theft, suffer monetary loss, experience problems with privacy, browsing safety and other issues. Therefore, do not trust, download or install MainSignalSearch or other adware.

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by MainSignalSearch
Threat Type Adware, Mac malware, Mac virus
Detection Names Avast (MacOS:Adload-M [Trj]), BitDefender (Gen:Variant.Adware.MAC.Adload.4), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of OSX/TrojanDownloader.Adload.AE), 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.

MainSignalSearch is similar to SmartWebSearch, MajorChannelSearch, KeyWordsSearch and a number of other apps of this type. Typically, adware displays intrusive advertisements and gathers browsing-related (and other) details. PUAs deliver no real value and simply cause problems. If MainSignalSearch or other adware is installed on the browser or operating system, remove it immediately.

How did MainSignalSearch install on my computer?

MainSignalSearch can be installed through various fake Adobe Flash Player installers, however, it is likely to also be distributed though the download/installation set-ups of regular, free programs. Developers distribute PUAs by including them into set-ups as "additional offers". This distribution method is called "bundling" and used by developers to deceive users into downloading and installing potentially unwanted programs through the set-ups of regular software. Generally, offers to download or install PUAs are listed in settings such as "Custom", "Advanced", and "Manual", however, many users download and install their software without checking and changing these settings. In this way, they allow PUAs to be downloaded and installed by default. In some cases, unwanted downloads and installations are caused by clicking untrusted, deceptive advertisements that execute certain scripts.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications

Download programs and files only from official websites and via direct links. Other sources, tools such as third party downloaders (and installers), torrent clients, eMule (and other Peer-to-Peer networks), unofficial websites should not be trusted, since they are often used to promote/distribute various unwanted apps. Check "Advanced", "Custom" and other similar settings before completing any download and installation. These settings often  mention offers to download or install additionally-included (unwanted) applications. Do not click intrusive ads that are displayed on dubious web pages, as they can lead to untrusted websites or cause download/installation of unwanted applications. Remove any unknown, unwanted or suspicious extensions, plug-ins and add-ons installed on the browser immediately. The same should be applied to programs of this kind that are installed on the operating system. If your computer is already infected with MainSignalSearch, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate this adware.

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

  • ~/Library/Application Support/com.MainSignalSearch/MainSignalSearch
  • ~/Library/Application Support/com.MainSignalSearchDaemon/MainSignalSearch
  • ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.MainSignalSearch.plist
  • ~/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.MainSignalSearch.plist

IMPORTANT NOTE! Rogue setups/apps that promote MainSignalSearch adware are designed to create a new device profile. Therefore, before taking any further removal steps, perform these actions:

1) Click the "Preferences" icon in the menu bar and select "Profiles".

MainSignalSearch preferences step 1

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

MainSignalSearch preferences step 2

3) Perform a full system scan with the 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 adware and browser hijackers from a Mac computer:

MainSignalSearch adware removal:

Remove MainSignalSearch-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 mainsignalsearch 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 MainSignalSearch removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove ads by mainsignalsearch 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 mainsignalsearch 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 mainsignalsearch 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 MainSignalSearch 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 MainSignalSearch on your mobile device.
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