How to uninstall DataQuest adware?

Also Known As: Ads by DataQuest
Type: Mac Virus
Distribution: Moderate
Damage level: Medium

How to remove DataQuest from Mac?

What is DataQuest?

DataQuest is a part of adware family called AdLoad. This application displays various advertisements, promotes some fake search engine and may gather various information. Simply said, this app operates as adware and a browser hijacker. Typically, users do not download and install apps of this type intentionally, therefore, they are called potentially unwanted applications (PUAs). Research shows that DataQuest usually gets installed through a fake Adobe Flash Player installer.

DataQuest adware

In most cases apps like DataQuest serve advertisements in forms of pop-ups, banners, surveys and/or coupons. It is common that those ads, if clicked, open questionable or even malicious websites. In some cases they download and/or install unwanted software by executing certain scripts. Either way, it is not safe to click them. As we mentioned in the introduction, DataQuest operates not only as adware but also as a browser hijacker: it promotes some fake search engine by changing browser's settings. Typically, it is done by modifying settings such as address of a default search engine, homepage and new tab. It is worthwhile to mention that fake search engines can be designed to generate misleading results. Furthermore, DataQuest may be designed to collect various information (like IP addresses, entered search queries, addresses of visited pages, geolocations, and so on). It is possible that it may be capable of accessing personal, confidential information as well. It is worthwhile to mention that collected data may fall into hands of cyber criminals: developers may sell it to them or misuse it by themselves. One more detail about DataQuest is that it is being distributed though a fake Adobe Flash Player installer. Such installers never update and/or install the actual Adobe Flash Player. In most cases they are designed to install unwanted applications like DataQuest. However, they could be designed to cause installation of some malware like ransomware, Trojan, or other malicious software as well.

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by DataQuest
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.
Removal

To eliminate malware infections our security researchers recommend scanning your Mac with Combo Cleaner.
▼ Download Combo Cleaner for Mac
Free scanner checks if your computer is infected. To remove malware, you have to purchase the full version of Combo Cleaner.

More examples of adware are LookupModule, ProcessSign and SearchSkilledData. In most cases these apps are designed to serve advertisements and/or collect various information. It is common that apps of this type are advertised as useful: they supposed to deliver various features, improve browsing experience, and so on. However, most of them are useless and can cause various problems, e.g., their users may become victims of identity theft, experience problems related to online privacy, browsing safety, and other issues. Therefore, if DataQuest or any other PUA is installed on a browser and/or operating system, then it should be uninstalled from it right away.

How did DataQuest install on my computer?

Unwanted downloads, installations usually happen when users click deceptive ads that are designed to execute certain scripts or when those apps are distributed by including them in download and/or installation setups of various programs. This distribution method is known as "bundling". It is used by developers who attempt to trick users into downloading and/or installing PUAs alongside with software that they download and/or install intentionally. In most cases offers to download and/or install PUAs can be found "Advanced", "Custom", "Manual", or other similar settings of setups. However, users often download and install programs without checking and changing them. By doing that they allow for included PUAs to be downloaded and/or installed too.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

Files and programs should not be downloaded or installed through third party downloaders, installers, torrent clients, eMule and other Peer-to-Peer networks, questionable web pages, and other channels. These channels can be and are used to distribute unwanted, potentially malicious apps. Therefore, files and program should be downloaded from official websites and via direct links. Download, installation setups that contain settings like "Custom", "Advanced" should be checked for offers to download and/or install potentially unwanted apps. Such offers should be declined before completing download and installation processes. Advertisements that appear on unreliable web pages should not be clicked.  Quite often they lead to untrustworthy websites or download, install unwanted applications by executing certain scripts. If there are any unwanted, suspicious apps (extensions, plug-ins or add-ons) installed on a web browser, then they should be removed from it as soon as possible. The same should be applied to software of this kind that is installed on the operating system. If your computer is already infected with DataQuest, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate this adware.

Files related to the DataQuest adware that need to be removed:

    • ~/Library/Application Support/com.DataQuest/DataQuest
    • ~/Library/Application Support/com.DataQuestDaemon/DataQuest
    • ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.SDataQuest.plist
    • ~/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.DataQuestDaemon.plist

IMPORTANT NOTE! Rogue setups/apps that promote the DataQuest website 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"

Remove rogue profiles designed to promote DataQuest (Step 1)

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

Remove rogue profiles designed to promote DataQuest (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. Free scanner checks if your computer is infected. To remove malware, you have to purchase the full version of Combo Cleaner.

Quick menu:

Video showing how to remove adware and browser hijackers from a Mac computer:

DataQuest adware removal:

Remove DataQuest-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 dataquest 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 DataQuest removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove ads by dataquest 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 dataquest 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 dataquest 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 DataQuest 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 DataQuest on your mobile device.
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