How to remove RecognitionAssist adware

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

How to remove RecognitionAssist from Mac computers

What is RecognitionAssist?

RecognitionAssist is a potentially unwanted application (PUA) designed to operate both as a browser hijacker and adware. It changes certain browser settings to the address of a fake search engine and feeds users with advertisements. This app promotes the Safe Finder web page by opening it via akamaihd.net, another bogus address. Apps such as RecognitionAssist are often designed to gather information relating to users' browsing habits. The main reason why these apps are categorized as PUAs is since people tend to download and install them unintentionally.

RecognitionAssist adware

Since RecognitionAssist is classified as adware, the app serves various online advertisements. Typically, apps of this type display banners, coupons, surveys, pop-ups and others. It is not safe to click these ads, since they often promote/open dubious web pages or even cause unwanted downloads and installations by executing certain scripts. Furthermore, RecognitionAssist has characteristics of browser hijackers: it changes browser settings such as the address of the homepage, new tab, and search engine to the address of a fake search engine. In this way, it forces users to visit a specific address when they open a browser, new tab, or enter search queries into the URL bar. Generally, users cannot undo changes made by browser hijackers without first uninstalling them. Apps such as RecognitionAssist also collect data - they target IP addresses, entered search queries, addresses of visited pages, geolocations, and other data of this kind. Some adware-type apps and browser hijackers can also read sensitive information. The developers often misuse the data to generate revenue, for example, by selling it to third parties (potentially, cyber criminals), and also in other ways. In summary, installation of RecognitionAssist could be the reason behind issues relating to online privacy, browsing safety or even identity theft. Therefore, never download or install RecognitionAssist, or other apps 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.
▼ 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.

UpgradeAnalog, VentureSprint and SearchToolHelper are examples of other apps similar to RecognitionAssist. There are many other apps of this type online. Their main purpose is to serve ads, promote fake search engines, and gather various data. Most are useless and can cause serious issues. If these programs are already installed on the browser and/or computer, remove them immediately.

How did RecognitionAssist install on my computer?

People often download and install browser hijackers, adware, and other PUAs through the set-ups of other software (when they are included into the download/installation set-ups as 'additional offers'). Many users fail to check and change the "Custom" and "Advanced" settings, thereby allowing PUAs to infiltrate with regular software. This distribution method is known as "bundling". Additionally, unwanted downloads and installations can be caused via deceptive advertisements - when clicked, some ads can run scripts that cause rogue downloads/installations.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications

Programs and files should be downloaded only from official websites and through direct links. Various Peer-to-Peer networks (torrent clients, eMule), unofficial websites, third party downloaders, installers, etc., are often monetized by using them to distribute unwanted, malicious applications. Check all "Advanced" and Custom" settings and decline offers to download or install potentially unwanted software. Do not click intrusive advertisements that appear on dubious web pages, since they can open potentially malicious websites or even cause unwanted downloads and installations. Remove any suspicious extensions, add-ons, and plug-ins already installed on the browser, and programs of this kind installed on the computer. 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 complete:

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 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 RecognitionAssist adware using Combo Cleaner:

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.

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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 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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