How to remove BufferKey adware from the operating system

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

How to remove BufferKey adware from Mac computers

What is BufferKey?

BufferKey is an adware-type application that possesses certain traits common to browser hijackers. It operates by running intrusive ad campaigns and modifying browser settings to promote a fake search engine. BufferKey promotes Safe Finder via akamaihd.net. Additionally, most adware and browser hijackers monitor users' browsing habits. Due to BufferKey's dubious proliferation methods, it is categorized as a Potentially Unwanted Application (PUA).

BufferKey adware

Adware enables the placement of third party graphical content, typically on any visited website. The delivered advertisements can include pop-ups, banners, coupons, surveys, etc. They significantly diminish the browsing experience, since they overlay web pages and limit browsing speed. When clicked, intrusive ads redirect to various untrusted/malicious sites and can even execute scripts to stealthily download/install rogue software (e.g. PUAs). Browser hijackers reassign the homepage, default search engine and new tab/window URLs to the addresses of fake search engines. BufferKey promotes Safe Finder (through akamaihd.net) in this manner. This forces users to visit the promoted address, thereby affecting their browsing experience. Rogue search engines are usually unable to provide unique results, and so they redirect to (or cause redirection chains ending with) Google, Bing, Yahoo and other genuine sites. Furthermore, recovering a hijacked browser without removing the software responsible is impossible, since any changes users attempt to make are automatically reset, if access to the browser settings is permitted at all. Most PUAs (adware and browser hijackers included) have data tracking capabilities. They monitor browsing activity (browsing and search engine histories) and collect personal information derived from it (IP addresses, geolocations and other details). The data is often shared with third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) intent on misusing it for financial gain. To summarize, the presence of unwanted apps on systems can lead to serious privacy issues, financial loss and even identity theft. To protect device and user safety, it is important to remove all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins immediately upon detection.

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by BufferKey
Threat Type Adware, Mac malware, Mac virus.
Detection Names ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of OSX/Adware.Synataeb.C), Kaspersky (Not-a-virus:HEUR:AdWare.OSX.Adload.h), Endgame (Malicious (high Confidence)), 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.

SearchExploreTechFunctionSearch, and ExtraDevice are some examples of other adware-type apps. They may seem legitimate and useful and users are enticed into download/installation with offers of various functions, however, these features are rarely operational - this lack of functionality is typical of all PUAs, not just adware. PUAs have just one purpose: to generate profit at users' expense. They deliver intrusive ad campaigns, force-open untrusted and malicious pages, hijack browsers and gather sensitive information.

How did BufferKey install on my computer?

PUAs spread via the download/installation set-ups of other products. This deceptive marketing method of packing regular software with unwanted or malicious content is called "bundling". Rushing downloads/installations (e.g. ignoring terms, using pre-set options, skipping steps and sections, etc.) increases the risk of unintentionally allowing bundled additions onto the system. Some PUAs have "official" promotional web pages from which they can be downloaded. Once clicked, intrusive ads can execute scripts to download/install PUAs without users' permission.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications

You are strongly advised to research all products before download/installation. All downloads must be performed from official and verified sources. Untrusted channels such as unofficial and free file-hosting sites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks (BitTorrent, eMule, Gnutella, etc.) and other third party downloaders can offer deceptive and bundled content. When downloading/installing, read the terms, study all available options, use the "Custom" or "Advanced" settings and opt-out of all additional apps, tools, features, etc. It is also important to exercise caution when browsing. Intrusive advertisements may seem legitimate and normal, however, they can redirect to highly dubious websites (e.g. gambling, pornography, adult-dating and others). If you encounter these ads/redirects, check the system and remove all dubious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins detected. If your computer is already infected with BufferKey, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate this adware.

Pop-up window displayed once BufferKey installation is complete:

pop-up displayed once BufferKey installation is done

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

BufferKey redirecting users to Safe Finder website via akamaihd.net

BufferKey adware installation folder:

BufferKey adware install folder

BufferKey adware installed onto the Safari browser:

BufferKey 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 BufferKey adware using Combo Cleaner:

BufferKey adware removal:

Remove BufferKey-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 bufferkey 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 BufferKey removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove ads by bufferkey 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 bufferkey 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 bufferkey 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 BufferKey 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 BufferKey on your mobile device.
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