How to uninstall SearchOptical adware from the Mac operating system

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

How to remove SearchOptical from Mac computers

What is SearchOptical?

Part of the AdLoad adware family, SearchOptical is a rogue application that operates by running intrusive advertisement campaigns (i.e. it delivers various undesirable and even harmful ads). Additionally, it shares traits with browser hijackers including modification of browser settings and promotion of fake search engines. Most apps within the this classification (adware and browser hijackers) possess data tracking capabilities, which are employed to monitor users' browsing activity. SearchOptical often infiltrates systems via bogus Adobe Flash player updates, which are typically spread through scams such as "Latest version of Adobe Flash Player" and other dubious proliferation methods. Therefore, it is also classed as a Potentially Unwanted Application (PUA). Note that fake software updaters are often used to proliferate PUAs and malware (e.g. ransomware, trojans, etc.).

SearchOptical adware

Adware-type applications deliver intrusive ads including pop-ups, banners, coupons, surveys and so on. These ads are more than just a minor annoyance, they significantly diminish the browsing experience (limiting browsing speed and website visibility). Furthermore, when clicked, they redirect to untrusted/rogue, compromised, deceptive/scam and malicious pages. Intrusive advertisements can also be triggered (when clicked) to execute scripts designed to stealthily download/install software (e.g. PUAs). As mentioned, SearchOptical has qualities of browser hijackers. Apps of this type assign the addresses of their fake search engines as the homepage, default search engine and new tab/window URLs. Therefore, each search query typed into the URL bar and each new tab/window opened redirects to the bogus search engine. These fake search engines are seldom able to provide unique results, and so usually redirect to Google, Yahoo, Bing or other genuine search engines. Furthermore, any changes users attempt to make to their browsers are automatically reset (if access to settings is allowed at all). Therefore, it is necessary to remove the hijacker to recover the affected browser. All PUAs (adware, browser hijackers and others) can monitor browsing activity (browsing and search engine histories) and collect users' personal information (IP addresses, geolocations and other details). The data is then shared with third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) seeking to misuse it for profit. In summary, PUAs can cause browser/system infiltration and infections, lead to serious privacy issues, financial loss and even identity theft. To protect device integrity and user safety, remove all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins without delay.

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by SearchOptical
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.Adloa), 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.

NetToolboxSearch, SystemSpot, VirtualToolboxSearch, and PanelStart are examples of other adware programs. In general, PUAs tend to seem legitimate and tempt users to install with offers of "useful" functions, however, these features rarely work as promised and, in most cases, are nonoperational. Therefore, not only are unwanted apps useless but they can also cause serious problems. The only purpose of PUAs is to generate revenue for the developers - they deliver intrusive ad campaigns, cause redirects to untrusted and malicious sites, hijack browsers and track/collect sensitive data.

How did SearchOptical install on my computer?

As well as proliferating through fake Flash Player updaters, PUAs can be downloaded/installed together with other software. This deceptive marketing technique of packing normal products with unwanted or malicious content is called "bundling". Rushing download/installation processes (e.g. ignoring terms, skipping steps, using pre-set options, etc.) endangers devices with potential infiltration and infections. Some PUAs have "official" download web pages. Intrusive ads also proliferate these applications. Once clicked, they can execute scripts to download/install PUAs without users' consent.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications

All products should be researched to verify their legitimacy, prior to download/installation. Use official and verified download sources, as opposed to Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, free file-hosting websites and other third party downloaders. When downloading/installing, read the terms, explore all available options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings and opt-out of additional apps, tools, functions and so on. Programs should be updated with tools/functions provided by genuine developers. Intrusive advertisements usually seem legitimate and harmless, however, they often redirect to highly dubious web pages (e.g. gambling, pornography, adult-dating and others). If you encounter these ads/redirects, check the system and immediately eliminate all dubious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins. If your computer is already infected with SearchOptical, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate this adware.

Files related to SearchOptical adware that need to be removed:

  • ~/Library/Application Support/com.SearchOptical/SearchOptical
  • ~/Library/Application Support/com.SearchOpticalDaemon/SearchOptical
  • ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.SearchOptical.plist
  • ~/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.SearchOpticalDaemon.plist

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

SearchOptical preferences step 1

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

SearchOptical 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:

SearchOptical adware removal:

Remove SearchOptical-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 searchoptical 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 SearchOptical removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove ads by searchoptical 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 searchoptical 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 searchoptical 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 SearchOptical 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 SearchOptical on your mobile device.
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