How to remove VirtualToolboxSearch adware from the operating system

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

How to remove VirtualToolboxSearch from Mac computers

What is VirtualToolboxSearch?

Belonging to the AdLoad adware family, VirtualToolboxSearch is a rogue application that runs intrusive ad campaigns (i.e., deploys various annoying and harmful advertisements). Additionally, most adware-type apps have data tracking capabilities, which are employed to monitor users' browsing habits. This application also contains browser hijacker functions: browser modification and promotion of fake search engines. VirtualToolboxSearch is also categorized as a Potentially Unwanted Application (PUA) due to its dubious proliferation methods. For example, it has been promoted via bogus Flash Player updates. Note that fake software updaters are often used to infiltrate PUAs into systems and infect them with malware (e.g. ransomware, trojans, etc.).

VirtualToolboxSearch adware

VirtualToolboxSearch adware delivers various intrusive advertisements such as pop-ups, surveys, banners, coupons and many others. These significantly diminish the browsing experience, as they limit browsing speed and website visibility (i.e., overlay web page content). Furthermore, when intrusive ads are clicked they can redirect to sale-based, untrusted/rogue, compromised, deceptive/scam and malicious sites. These ads can also be triggered (by clicking) to execute scripts that stealthily download/install software (e.g. PUAs). VirtualToolboxSearch shares traits with other browser hijackers, which assign the addresses of their fake search engines as the homepage, default search engine and new tab/window URLs. Therefore, each new browser tab/window opened and each search query typed into the URL bar redirects to a bogus search engine. Few of these fake searching tools can provide unique results, and so they redirect to legitimate sites (e.g. Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.). These changes may seem minor and relatively easy to undo, but this is not the case - access to the browser settings can be restricted/denied and any permitted changes made, automatically reset. To recover the hijacked browser it is necessary to remove the software responsible. Most PUAs (adware and browser hijackers included) can track data. They can record browsing activity (browsing and search engine histories) and gather users' personal information (IP addresses, geolocations and other details). This sensitive data is shared with third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) seeking to misuse it for financial gain. In summary, the presence of PUAs on systems can lead to various infiltration and infections, serious privacy issues, financial loss and even identity theft. To ensure device and user safety, you are advised to eliminate all suspect applications and/or browser extensions/plug-ins immediately upon detection.

Symptoms

Your Mac becomes slower than normal, you see unwanted pop-up ads, you are redirected to dubious websites.

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by VirtualToolboxSearch
Threat Type Adware, Mac malware, Mac virus.
Detection Names Avast (MacOS:Adload-AD [Trj]), BitDefender (Gen:Variant.Adware.MAC.AdLoad.1), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of OSX/TrojanDownloader.Adload.AE), Kaspersky (Not-a-virus:HEUR:AdWare.OSX.Cimpli.d), Full List (VirusTotal)
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.

MajorChannelSearchPanelStartUtilityParse and UpgradeSearchSystem are some examples of other adware infections. Apps within this classification typically seem legitimate and entice users into download/installation with offers of "useful" features, however, they are rarely operational. Even if they do work, it is not as promised. In fact, this applies to all PUAs. These unwanted applications are designed simply to generate profit for the developers - rather than operating as advertised, PUAs run intrusive ad campaigns, cause redirects to untrusted and malicious web pages, hijack browsers and collect vulnerable data.

How did VirtualToolboxSearch install on my computer?

VirtualToolboxSearch can be installed through fake Flash Player updaters, which are commonly promoted by deceptive/scam pages, however, PUAs have several popular proliferation methods. They can also be downloaded/installed together with other software via "bundling", a deceptive marketing technique of pre-packing normal products with unwanted or malicious additions. Rushing download/installation processes (e.g. ignoring terms, using presets, etc.) increases the risk of unintentionally allowing bundled content onto systems. Some PUAs have "official" download sites. Intrusive ads also proliferate these apps. When clicked, they can execute scripts to download/install PUAs without users' permission.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications

All products should be researched, prior to download/installation or purchase. Use official and verified download channels. Free file-hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks (BitTorrent, Gnutella, eMule, etc.) and other third party downloaders are untrusted and should be avoided. When downloading/installing, read the terms, explore all possible options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings and opt-out of supplementary apps, tools, functions and so on. Software should be updated only with tools/functions provided by genuine developers. Intrusive advertisements often seem legitimate and harmless, however, they redirect to dubious web pages (e.g. pornography, adult-dating, gambling, etc.). If you experience these ads/redirects, check the system and immediately remove all dubious applications and/or browser extensions/plug-ins. If your computer is already infected with VirtualToolboxSearch, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate this adware.

Files related to VirtualToolboxSearch adware that need to be removed:

  • ~/Library/Application Support/com.VirtualToolboxSearch/VirtualToolboxSearch
  • ~/Library/Application Support/com.VirtualToolboxSearchDaemon/VirtualToolboxSearch
  • ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.VirtualToolboxSearch.plist
  • ~/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.VirtualToolboxSearchDaemon.plist

IMPORTANT NOTE! Rogue setups/apps that promote VirtualToolboxSearch 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".

VirtualToolboxSearch preferences step 1

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

VirtualToolboxSearch 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 the VirtualToolboxSearch 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:

VirtualToolboxSearch adware removal:

Remove VirtualToolboxSearch-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 virtualtoolboxsearch 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 VirtualToolboxSearch removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove ads by virtualtoolboxsearch 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 virtualtoolboxsearch 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 virtualtoolboxsearch 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 VirtualToolboxSearch 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 VirtualToolboxSearch on your mobile device.
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