How to uninstall PlusSpecial adware from the operating system

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

How to remove PlusSpecial from Mac computers

What is PlusSpecial?

PlusSpecial is a rogue app classified as adware that possesses browser hijacker characteristics. This application enables the placement of intrusive advertisements on any visited website. It also makes modifications to browsers to promote fake search engines (Safe Finder via akamaihd.net). Most adware-types and browser hijackers monitor users' browsing activity. Furthermore, since most users download/install PlusSpecial inadvertently, it is classified as a Potentially Unwanted Application (PUA).

PlusSpecial adware

Adware delivers various intrusive ads such as pop-ups, banners, coupons, surveys and so on. These diminish the browsing experience, since they limit browsing speed and website visibility (by overlaying web page content). Additionally, when clicked, the advertisements redirect to untrusted and malicious sites, and some can even execute scripts to stealthily download/install rogue software (e.g. PUAs). Browser hijackers assign the addresses of their bogus search engines as the default search engine, new tab/window and homepage URLs. Therefore, with this software installed, each new browser tab/window opened and each search made via the URL bar redirects to the address of the fake search engine. These bogus tools are rarely capable of providing unique results, and so they usually redirect to genuine search engines (e.g. Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.). In the case of PlusSpecial, it promotes akamaihd.net in this way, and then redirects to Safe Finder, which in turn redirects to search.yahoo.com (a legitimate search engine). Furthermore, any changes users try to make to their browsers are simply reset, if access to the settings is allowed at all. Therefore, to recover the affected browser, it is necessary to eliminate the browser hijacker. It is likely that PlusSpecial also has data tracking capabilities. Most of these apps can monitor browsing activity (browsing and search engine histories) and gather users' personal information (IP addresses, geolocations and other details). The data is typically shared with third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) intent on misusing it for profit. To summarize, the presence of PUAs on systems can lead to various infiltration and infections, serious privacy issues, financial loss and even identity theft. To protect device health and user safety, you are strongly advised to remove all suspect applications and browser extensions/plug-ins immediately upon detection.

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by PlusSpecial
Threat Type Adware, Mac malware, Mac virus.
Detection Names Avast (MacOS:Adload-AB [Trj]), Sophos AV (Adloadr (PUA)), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of OSX/Adware.Synataeb.C), Kaspersky (Not-a-virus:HEUR:AdWare.OSX.Adload.g), Full List (VirusTotal)
Additional Information This application belongs to the Adload malware family.
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.

InteractiveSpeedAresLookup, and EngineOrder are some examples of other apps classified as adware. They may seem legitimate and useful, however, the varied functions that they offer are seldom operational. In fact, this applies to all unwanted applications. The only purpose of PUAs is to generate revenue at users' expense. PUAs operate by delivering intrusive ad campaigns, hijacking browsers, causing unwanted redirects and collecting private data.

How did PlusSpecial install on my computer?

Some PUAs have "official" download web pages, however, they are mostly downloaded/installed together with other products. This deceptive marketing technique of pre-packing regular software with unwanted or malicious additions is termed "bundling". By rushing through downloads/installations (e.g. skipping steps, using pre-set options, etc.), many users risk inadvertently allowing bundled content onto their devices. Intrusive ads proliferate these applications as well. Once clicked, they can execute scripts designed to download/install PUAs without users' permission.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications

You are advised to research all content before download/installation or purchase. Use only official and verified download channels. Unofficial and free file-hosting sites, P2P sharing networks (BitTorrent, eMule, Gnutella, etc.) and other third party downloaders are untrusted and can offer deceptive or bundled software. When downloading/installing, you are advised to read the terms, explore all available options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings and opt-out of supplementary apps, tools, functions and so on. Intrusive advertisements may seem normal and harmless, however, when clicked they can redirect to dubious web pages (e.g. pornography, adult-dating, gambling, etc.). If you experience these ads/redirects, check the system and remove all dubious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins without delay. If your computer is already infected with PlusSpecial, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate this adware.

Pop-up window displayed once PlusSpecial installation is complete:

pop-up displayed once PlusSpecial installation is done

PlusSpecial redirecting users to Safe Finder website via akamaihd.net:

PlusSpecial redirecting users to Safe Finder website via akamaihd.net

PlusSpecial adware installation folder:

PlusSpecial adware install folder

PlusSpecial installed on the Safari browser:

PlusSpecial adware installed on Safari

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 PlusSpecial adware using Combo Cleaner:

PlusSpecial adware removal:

Remove PlusSpecial-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 plusspecial 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 PlusSpecial removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove ads by plusspecial 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 plusspecial 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 plusspecial 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.

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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 PlusSpecial 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 PlusSpecial on your mobile device.
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