How to remove SearchLetters adware

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

How to remove SearchLetters from Mac computers

What is SearchLetters?

SearchLetters operates both as adware and a browser hijacker: it displays advertisements and promotes the address of a fake search engine by modifying certain browser settings. Users tend to install this app inadvertently through a deceptive Adobe Flash Player installer. Therefore, SearchLetters (and other apps of this type) is categorized as a potentially unwanted application (PUA).

SearchLetters adware

Adware-type apps generate revenue for the developers by serving ads (e.g., banners, coupons, surveys, pop-ups) and they commonly open dubious websites. They might also cause unwanted downloads and installations by running certain scripts. Therefore, you are advised against trusting such ads. Additionally, SearchLetters sets the address of a fake search engine as the address of the homepage, default search engine and new tab, so that users are forced to visit this site when they open a browser, new tab, and enter search queries into the URL bar. Typically, users are unable to undo changes that were made by these apps unless they are no longer installed. Therefore, the address of the fake search engine can be removed from browser settings by uninstalling the SearchLetters app. PUAs often collect users' browsing data (e.g., entered search queries, addresses of visited pages, IP addresses, geolocations) and other, sensitive information. The developers might sell the details to third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) or misuse them to generate revenue in other ways. Therefore, SearchLetters can cause problems relating to browsing safety, online privacy, identity theft and other issues. Note that, in some cases, deceptive installers (like the one that is used to distribute SearchLetters) can cause installation of malware. For example, ransomware and various Trojans. You are strongly advised against using these installers. Remove SearchLetters and any similar apps from the browser and computer.

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by SearchLetters
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)
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.

Some examples of other apps similar to SearchLetters are MacAppsHD, Tituricsec and SearchNetLetter. They are advertised as legitimate and useful, however, they are designed only to generate revenue for the developers. They are useless and can cause serious problems. Therefore, never download or install SearchLetters or other adware-type apps, browser hijackers.

How did SearchLetters install on my computer?

People often download and install PUAs with other (usually free) programs. I.e., when PUAs are included into the download/installation set-ups as 'additional offers'. Typically, these offers are mentioned in "Custom", "Advanced", and other settings of set-ups. Many users fail to check and change these setting when they download or install their required programs, thereby allowing PUAs to infiltrate. Unintentional downloads and installations can also be caused by clicking deceptive ads that execute certain scripts.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications

To prevent unwanted apps from being downloaded and installed, download your software only from official websites and through direct download links. Third party downloaders, installers, unofficial websites, Peer-to-Peer networks (e.g., torrent clients, eMule) and other similar channels are often used to distribute unwanted, potentially malicious apps. Check the "Custom", "Advanced" and other similar settings of the download/installation setup and decline offers to download or install additionally-included apps. Do not click advertisements that appear on dubious web pages, since they can open other untrusted websites or even cause unwanted downloads and installations. Remove any unwanted add-ons, extensions and plug-ins already installed on the browser immediately. The same should be applied to software of this kind that is installed on the operating system. If your computer is already infected with SearchLetters, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate this adware.

Files related to MacAppsHD adware that need to be removed:

  • ~/Library/Application Support/com.SearchLetters/SearchLetters
  • ~/Library/Application Support/com.SearchLettersDaemon/SearchLetters
  • ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.SearchLetters.plist
  • ~/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.SearchLettersDaemon.plist

IMPORTANT NOTE! Rogue setups/apps that promote SearchLetters 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 SearchLetters (Step 1)

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

Remove rogue profiles designed to promote SearchLetters (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/browser hijacker.

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:

SearchLetters adware removal:

Remove SearchLetters-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 searchletters 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 SearchLetters removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove ads by searchletters 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 searchletters 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 searchletters 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 SearchLetters 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 SearchLetters on your mobile device.
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