How to uninstall PublicAdviseSearch adware

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

How to remove PublicAdviseSearch from Mac computers

What is PublicAdviseSearch?

PublicAdviseSearch is a potentially unwanted application (PUA) that is part of the AdLoad adware family. PublicAdviseSearch serves intrusive advertisements and promotes the address of a fake search engine. It is very likely that it also gathers browsing-related (and other) data. Note that PublicAdviseSearch is promoted and installed through a fake Adobe Flash Player installer. In most cases, people download and install these apps unintentionally.

PublicAdviseSearch adware

Adware such as PublicAdviseSearch usually serves intrusive ads in the form of pop-ups, coupons, banners, surveys, and so on. When clicked, they open various untrusted, potentially malicious pages or download/install unwanted software by running certain scripts. PublicAdviseSearch also promotes a fake search engine and functions as adware and a browser hijacker. Apps promote fake search engines by changing certain browser settings (address of a homepage, default search engine and new tab). In most cases, the apps prevent users from removing the address of the fake search engine from the aforementioned settings. Therefore, users are forced to visit fake search engines as long as the rogue app is installed on the browser and/or operating system. Note that these search engines do not generate any unique results. Furthermore, they often provide misleading information. There is a high probability that PublicAdviseSearch will also gather browsing data and other information. Typically, PUAs target details such as IP addresses, entered search queries, addresses of visited pages, geolocations, etc., however, they sometimes record sensitive, personal information. The developers sell the details to third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) who misuse them in other ways. Users of PublicAdviseSearch and other apps of this type risk becoming victims of identity theft, suffering monetary loss, experiencing problems relating to privacy, browsing safety, etc. Therefore, remove PublicAdviseSearch and other PUAs from the browser and operating system immediately.

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by PublicAdviseSearch
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.

PublicAdviseSearch is very similar to a number of other adware-type apps including, for example, MajorChannelSearch, SearchOptical and NetToolboxSearch. Typically, software of this type feeds users with intrusive, often deceptive advertisements and gathers various information. Few adware-type apps operate as advertised - they deliver no useful features or any other value. Generally, adware is designed only to help the developers to generate revenue and simply causes problems.

How did PublicAdviseSearch install on my computer?

Research shows that PublicAdviseSearch can be deployed through a fake Adobe Flash Player, which installs this PUA rather than the official Adobe Flash Player. This is not the only way that developers distribute PUAs. Developers include PUAs into the set-ups of other software and hope that users will not decline offers to download/install them together with regular programs. In most cases, these offers can be found in "Custom", "Advanced" and other similar settings of the set-ups. This distribution method is called "bundling" and works when users download and/install software without checking and changing the settings - this allows PUAs to be downloaded and installed with normal software. Additionally, PUAs are downloaded and installed through clicked deceptive ads that execute certain scripts.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications

Avoid downloading and installing software through untrusted sources such as third party downloaders, installers, Peer-to-Peer networks such as torrent clients, eMule, unofficial pages, etc. Software should be downloaded only from official pages and via direct download links. Check all download and installation settings such as "Advanced", "Custom", and "Manual" - dismiss offers to download and/or install additional, unwanted software before completing the process. Intrusive advertisements that are displayed on dubious web pages can open potentially malicious pages or even cause unwanted downloads and installations. For these reasons, these ads should never be clicked. Remove any unwanted extensions, add-ons or plug-ins already 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 PublicAdviseSearch, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate this adware.

Files related to PublicAdviseSearch adware that need to be removed:

  • ~/Library/Application Support/com.PublicAdviseSearch/PublicAdviseSearch
  • ~/Library/Application Support/com.PublicAdviseSearchDaemon/PublicAdviseSearch
  • ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.PublicAdviseSearch.plist
  • ~/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.PublicAdviseSearchDaemon.plist

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

PublicAdviseSearch preferences step 1

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

PublicAdviseSearch 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 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:

PublicAdviseSearch adware removal:

Remove PublicAdviseSearch-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 publicadvisesearch 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 PublicAdviseSearch removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove ads by publicadvisesearch 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 publicadvisesearch 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 publicadvisesearch 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 PublicAdviseSearch 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 PublicAdviseSearch on your mobile device.
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