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How to uninstall TotalLetterSearch adware

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

How to remove TotalLetterSearch from Mac computers

What is TotalLetterSearch?

TotalLetterSearch is potentially unwanted application (PUA) classified as adware. This adware is a part of a group of adware-type applications called AdLoad. Adware is simply designed to display various advertisements, however, this particular app also promotes the address of a fake search engine. In this way, TotalLetterSearch functions both as adware and a browser hijacker. Note that it might also track and record information. Adware-type applications are classified as PUAs, since users often download and install them inadvertently. Research shows that, to trick people into installing TotalLetterSearch, developers use a fake Adobe Flash Player installer. This type of installer can also be used to proliferate Trojans, ransomware and other malware.

TotalLetterSearch adware

Adware is a type of software that displays unwanted, intrusive advertisements. Programs of this type usually feed users with various coupons, pop-ups, surveys, banners and other ads. These open untrusted web pages or cause download/installation of other unwanted, even malicious programs (but only when people click them). TotalLetterSearch operates not only as adware, but also as a browser hijacker. Therefore, it changes browser settings. In most cases, these apps assign the URL of a fake search engine as the default search engine, homepage, and new tab. In this way, they promote fake search engines by forcing users to visit their associated addresses when they open a browser, new tab or enter search queries into the URL bar. Note that these search engines are fake, since they do not generate unique results (or they generate misleading information). Typically, users cannot remove these bogus addresses from the aforementioned settings unless they uninstall the browser hijacker. Furthermore, TotalLetterSearch might record user-system information. Apps of this type tend to target IP addresses, geolocations, entered search queries, URLs of visited pages, etc. Sometimes they are capable of accessing personal, sensitive information. The data might be sold to third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) or misused in other ways. As mentioned, people tend to download and install adware and other PUAs inadvertently. TotalLetterSearch is installed rather than Adobe Flash Player through a fake installer. These installers are used to spread malware such as ransomware, Trojan-type programs and other malicious software, which can lead to data/financial loss, serious privacy issues, and other problems.

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by TotalLetterSearch
Threat Type Adware, Mac malware, Mac virus.
Detection Names Avast (MacOS:Adload-AD [Trj]), AVG (MacOS:Adload-AD [Trj]), 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.

Most adware-type applications generate revenue for the developers by deploying online advertisements. They might be advertised as "useful", however, few deliver any value. On the contrary, adware-type applications can cause serious problems and should never be downloaded or installed. Some examples of other apps of this type include UltraSearchApp, ActiveTrack and UpgradeAssist.

How did TotalLetterSearch install on my computer?

TotalLetterSearch can be installed through a fake installer, which is disguised as a Adobe Flash Player installer. PUAs are also distributed using a deceptive marketing method called "bundling". In summary, developers include unwanted apps into the download/installation set-ups of other (usually free) programs. They hide related information in "Custom", "Advanced" and other settings. Many users download and install their programs without changing the default settings, thereby inadvertently agreeing with offers to download and install any additionally-included software. Unwanted downloads and installation can also be caused by clicking deceptive ads capable of executing certain scripts.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications

Unwanted downloads and installations can be avoided by downloading programs and files from official, trustworthy websites (and via direct links). It is not safe to download or install them through third party downloaders, installers, Peer to-Peer networks (e.g., torrent clients, eMule), dubious websites or other similar channels. Check all download and installation settings (such as "Advanced", "Custom") and decline any offers to download or install unwanted apps. Do not click advertisements that are displayed on untrusted websites, since they can open other pages of this kind or download and install unwanted software. Remove any unwanted, suspicious extensions, plug-ins and add-ons already installed on the browser immediately. The same applies to programs of this kind that are installed on the operating system. If your computer is already infected with TotalLetterSearch, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate this adware.

Files related to TotalLetterSearch adware that need to be removed:

  • ~/Library/Application Support/com.TotalLetterSearch/TotalLetterSearch
  • ~/Library/Application Support/com.TotalLetterSearchDaemon/TotalLetterSearch
  • ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.TotalLetterSearch.plist
  • ~/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.TotalLetterSearch.plist

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

Remove rogue profiles designed to promote TotalLetterSearch (Step 1)

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

Remove rogue profiles designed to promote TotalLetterSearch (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:

TotalLetterSearch adware removal:

Remove TotalLetterSearch-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 totallettersearch 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 TotalLetterSearch removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove ads by totallettersearch 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 totallettersearch 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 totallettersearch 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.

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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 TotalLetterSearch 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 TotalLetterSearch on your mobile device.
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