How to get rid of the RecognitionAssist adware?

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

How to remove RecognitionAssist from Mac?

What is RecognitionAssist?

RecognitionAssist is a potentially unwanted application (PUA) which is designed to operate both as a browser hijacker and adware. It changes certain browser's settings to an address of a fake search engine and feeds users with advertisements. It is known that this app promotes the Safe Finder page, it does that by opening that page via akamaihd.net, another shady address. Also, it is common that apps like RecognitionAssist are designed to gather information related to user's browsing habits. The main reason why such apps are categorized as PUAs is because users tend to download and install them unknowingly.

RecognitionAssist adware

Since RecognitionAssist is classified as adware, it means that this app serves various online advertisements. Typically, apps of this type display banners, coupons, surveys, pop-ups and/or other types of ads. It is not safe to click those ads because they often are designed to promote (open) shady pages or even cause unwanted downloads and/or installations by executing certain scripts. Moreover, RecognitionAssist has traits of a browser hijacker: it changes browser's settings such as address of a homepage, new tab and search engine to an address of a fake search engine. Simply said, it makes sure that users would visit a certain address every time they open a browser, new tab and enter search queries into URL bar. More often than not users cannot undo changes made by a browser hijacker without having to uninstall it first. One more issue with apps like RecognitionAssist is that a lot of them are designed to collect various data, usually they target IP addresses, entered search queries, addresses of visited pages, geolocations and/or other data of this kind. Although, there are adware-type apps and browser hijackers that can read sensitive information as well. What is worse, their developers may misuse gathered data to generate revenue, for example, by selling it to third parties (potentially cyber criminals). Nevertheless, such data could be misused in other ways too. To sum up, installation of RecognitionAssist could be the reason behind issues related to online privacy, browsing safety or even identity theft. Therefore, it is strongly recommended not to download and install neither RecognitionAssist or any other app of this type.

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by RecognitionAssist
Threat Type Adware, Mac malware, Mac virus
Additional Information This application belongs to 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.
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UpgradeAnalog, VentureSprint and SearchToolHelper are the names of other apps that are similar to RecognitionAssist. Although, there are many other apps of this type. Typically, their main purpose is to serve various ads, also, quite often such apps can be designed to promote some fake search engine and/or gather various data. In one way or another, most of them are not only useless but also can be the culprit of various issues. If such program is already installed on a browser and/or computer, then it should be uninstalled as soon as possible.

How did RecognitionAssist install on my computer?

Very often users download and/or install browser hijackers, adware or other PUAs through setups of other software, when they are included in various download and installation setups as additional offers. Usually they are mentioned in and can be declined through setup's settings like "Custom", "Advanced". Although, not all users check and change those settings and by leaving them unchanged they allow for included apps to be downloaded or installed together with software that they downloaded and/or installed willingly. This distribution method is known as "bundling". Additionally, unwanted downloads or installations can be caused via deceptive advertisements: when clicked, some ads can run scripts that would cause unwanted downloads, or even installations.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

Programs, files should be downloaded only from official websites and through direct links. Various Peer-to-Peer networks (like torrent clients, eMule), unofficial websites, third party downloaders, installers, etc., can be and often are monetized by using them as tools to distribute unwanted, in some cases even malicious applications. Furthermore, setups that include settings (e.g., "Advanced", Custom") should be always checked for offers to download or install potentially unwanted software. Intrusive advertisements that appear on unreliable web pages should not be clicked as well - they often open potentially malicious websites or even cause unwanted downloads and/or installations. If there are any unwanted, suspicious extensions, add-ons, plug-ins already installed on a browser (or programs of this kind on a computer), then they should be uninstalled right away. If your computer is already infected with RecognitionAssist, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate this adware.

Pop-up window displayed once RecognitionAssist installation is over:

pop-up displayed once RecognitionAssist installation is done

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

RecognitionAssist redirecting users to Safe Finder website via akamaihd.net

RecognitionAssist's installation folder:

recognitionassist adware contents folder

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:

RecognitionAssist adware removal:

Remove RecognitionAssist-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 recognitionassist 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 RecognitionAssist removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove ads by recognitionassist 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 recognitionassist 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 recognitionassist 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 RecognitionAssist 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 RecognitionAssist on your mobile device.
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