How to remove ExpertCharacterSearch adware

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

How to remove ExpertCharacterSearch from Mac computers

What is ExpertCharacterSearch?

ExpertCharacterSearch is an adware-type application belonging to the AdLoad malware family. After successful installation, this rogue app begins running intrusive ad campaigns (i.e., delivers annoying and dangerous ads). ExpertCharacterSearch also has some browser hijacker characteristics such as modification of browser settings and promotion of fake search engines. This application has been proliferated by bogus Flash Player updates, which are typically promoted by scams such as "Latest version of Adobe Flash Player". These fake updaters are often used to promote Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUAs) and even malware (e.g. trojans, ransomware, etc.). Due to the dubious methods used to proliferate ExpertCharacterSearch, it is additionally classified as a PUA. Furthermore, most of these unwanted apps have data tracking abilities and gather information relating to browsing activity.

ExpertCharacterSearch adware

Adware enables third party graphical content to be displayed on any site. The intrusive ads (pop-ups, surveys, banners, coupons, etc.) it displays significantly diminish the browsing experience, overlaying web pages and thereby limiting visibility and browsing speed. When clicked, these ads redirect to sale-oriented, untrusted/rogue, compromised, deceptive, scam and malicious websites. Clicking the ads can also trigger them to execute scripts designed to download/install rogue software (e.g. PUAs) without users' permission. Therefore, intrusive advertisements can cause serious problems. Browser hijackers (including ExpertCharacterSearch) assign the addresses of their fake search engines as the homepage, default search engine and new tab/window URLs. To elaborate on how these modifications affect browsers, each new tab/window opened and each web search made via the URL bar redirects to the bogus search engine. These fake search engines are usually unable to provide unique results, and so they redirect to (or cause redirection chains leading to) genuine sites (Google, Yahoo, Bing and others). Furthermore, access to browser settings can be restricted or denied, and any permitted changes made, automatically reset. Therefore, removal of the hijacker is necessary to recover the affected browser. Most PUAs (adware and browser hijackers included) can track data. Information of interest includes browsing and search engine histories, IP addresses, geolocations and personal details. This data is likely to include sensitive and personally-identifiable information. The collected data is typically shared with third parties seeking to misuse it for financial gain - potentially, by putting it to criminal use. In summary, the presence of PUAs on systems can result in various infiltration and infections, serious privacy issues, financial loss and even identity theft. You are advised to eliminate all suspect applications and browser extensions/plug-ins immediately upon detection.

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by ExpertCharacterSearch
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.Adlo), 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.

PublicAdviseSearchUpgradeIdeasTabSearch and TechLetterSearch are some examples of other adware infection. In general, all PUAs tend to seem legitimate, innocuous and useful. People are tempted into downloading/installing them due to the various features they offer. These rarely function as promised, since the only purpose of PUAs is to generate profit for the developers. These apps are useless, but they can cause serious issues. PUAs force-open untrusted and malicious web pages, deliver intrusive ad campaigns, hijack browsers and track private data.

How did ExpertCharacterSearch install on my computer?

The use of fake updaters is just one way that PUAs can infiltrate devices. They also proliferate via download/installation set-ups of other products. "Bundling" is the term defining this deceptive marketing tactic of pre-packing regular software with unwanted or malicious additions. When downloading/installing, ignoring terms, using pre-set options, skipping steps and sections endangers devices with potential infiltration and infections originating from bundled content. Some PUAs have "official" download pages. Intrusive ads also spread these applications - once clicked, they can execute scripts to stealthily download/install PUAs.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications

It is important to research all products, before download/installation or purchase. All downloads should be performed from official and verified sources. Untrustworthy download channels such as P2P sharing networks (BitTorrent, eMule, Gnutella, etc.), free file-hosting sites and other third party downloaders can offer deceptive or bundled content. Treat download and installation processes with caution. Read the terms, study all available options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings and opt-out of supplementary apps, tools, features and so on. Software should be updated only with tools/functions provided by legitimate developers. Intrusive advertisements may seem normal and harmless, however, they can redirect to rogue websites such as gambling, pornography, adult-dating and many others. If you encounter these ads, check the system and immediately remove all dubious applications and/or browser extensions/plug-ins. If your computer is already infected with ExpertCharacterSearch, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate this adware.

Files related to ExpertCharacterSearch adware that need to be removed:

  • ~/Library/Application Support/com.ExpertCharacterSearch/ExpertCharacterSearch
  • ~/Library/Application Support/com.ExpertCharacterSearchDaemon/ExpertCharacterSearch
  • ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.ExpertCharacterSearch.plist
  • ~/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.ExpertCharacterSearchDaemon.plist

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

ExpertCharacterSearch preferences step 1

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

ExpertCharacterSearch 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 malware.

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:

ExpertCharacterSearch adware removal:

Remove ExpertCharacterSearch-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 expertcharactersearch 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 ExpertCharacterSearch removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove ads by expertcharactersearch 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 expertcharactersearch 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 expertcharactersearch 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 ExpertCharacterSearch 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 ExpertCharacterSearch on your mobile device.
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