How to uninstall TabSearch adware

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

How to remove TabSearch from Mac computers

What is TabSearch?

TabSearch is a rogue app belonging to the AdLoad adware family. It operates by displaying various intrusive advertisements that diminish the browsing experience and carry certain risks. Additionally, this application shares common traits with browser hijackers, such as alteration of browser settings to promote a fake search engine. Due to its dubious proliferation methods, TabSearch is also categorized as a Potentially Unwanted Application (PUA). It has been observed proliferating via bogus Flash Player updaters, which commonly spread not just PUAs, but malware as well. Note that most unwanted apps (adware-types and browser hijackers included) have data tracking capabilities.

TabSearch adware

Pop-ups, banners, surveys, coupons are just some examples of ads that adware can deliver. These ads seriously affect browsing - they limit browsing speed and website visibility (by overlaying web page content). Intrusive advertisements are a threat due to the rogue sites to which they redirect (e.g. sale-based, untrusted/rogue, compromised, deceptive/scam and malicious web pages) and for their ability to execute scripts designed to stealthily download/install software (e.g. PUAs). Browser hijackers (with which TabSearch shares qualities) reassign the homepage, default search engine and new tab/window URLs to the addresses of their fake search engines. These bogus search engines are typically unable to provide unique results. Even if they can, the generated results are inaccurate or promote other untrusted/malicious websites. If the search engine cannot provide valid results, it simply redirects to a legitimate site (e.g. Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.). Furthermore, resetting these modifications is not as easy as it may seem, since access to browser settings can be restricted/denied, and any permitted changes made, automatically reset. Therefore, it is necessary to remove the browser hijacker to recover the affected browser. As mentioned, PUAs of all types commonly track data. They can record users' browsing habits (URLs visited, pages viewed, search queries typed, etc.) and collect personal information derived from it (IP addresses, geolocations and other details). This vulnerable data is shared with third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) seeking to misuse it for profit. To summarize, PUAs can cause browser/system infiltration and infections, lead to serious privacy issues, financial loss and even identity theft. To protect device health and user safety, remove all suspect applications and browser extensions/plug-ins without delay.

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by TabSearch
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.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.

PublicAdviseSearchUpgradeIdeas, SearchOptical and PanelStart are some examples of other adware-type apps. Adware, browser hijackers and other unwanted applications usually seem legitimate and tempt people to install by offering "useful" features, however, these are typically nonoperational. The only purpose of PUAs is to generate revenue for the developers at users' expense. Rather than delivering any real value, PUAs cause redirects, deliver intrusive ad campaigns, hijack browsers and gather sensitive data.

How did TabSearch install on my computer?

TabSearch is spread via fake software updaters, which are often promoted by scams (e.g. "Latest version of Adobe Flash Player"). Some PUAs have "official" download pages and are also frequently promoted by deceptive/scam sites. PUAs also proliferate via the download/installation set-ups of regular software. "Bundling" is the term used to define this deceptive marketing technique of pre-packing normal products with unwanted or malicious additions. Rushing download/installation processes (e.g. ignoring terms, skipping steps and sections, etc.) increases the risk of unintentionally allowing bundled content onto the system. When clicked, intrusive advertisements can execute scripts to download/install PUAs without users' consent.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications

All products should be researched prior to download/installation or purchase. Use only official and verified download channels, as opposed to untrusted methods (e.g. via Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, free file-hosting sites or other third party downloaders). Treat download and installation processes with care, reading the terms, exploring all available options, using "Custom/Advanced" settings and opting-out of additional apps, tools, features, etc. You are advised to update software with tools/functions provided by genuine developers. Intrusive ads tend to seem legitimate, however, once clicked, they can redirect to rogue web pages (e.g. gambling, adult-dating, pornography and others). If you encounter these ads/redirects, inspect the system and immediately eliminate all suspicious applications and/or browser extensions/plug-ins. If your computer is already infected with TabSearch, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate this adware.

Files related to TabSearch adware that need to be removed:

  • ~/Library/Application Support/com.TabSearch/TabSearch
  • ~/Library/Application Support/com.TabSearchDaemon/TabSearch
  • ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.TabSearch.plist
  • ~/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.TabSearchDaemon.plist

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

TabSearch preferences step 1

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

TabSearch 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:

TabSearch adware removal:

Remove TabSearch-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 tabsearch 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 TabSearch removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove ads by tabsearch 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 tabsearch 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 tabsearch 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 TabSearch 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 TabSearch on your mobile device.
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