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How to uninstall EngageSearch adware from the operating system

Also Known As: Ads by EngageSearch
Type: Mac Virus
Damage level: Medium

What is EngageSearch?

EngageSearch is an adware-type application with browser hijacker traits. This app is designed to run intrusive advertisement campaigns, make modifications to browsers and promote fake search engines. EngageSearch promotes Safe Finder via akamaihd.net in this manner.

Most software within the adware and browser hijacker categories has data tracking capabilities, which are used to monitor users' browsing activity. Additionally, due to the dubious methods employed to proliferate EngageSearch, it is classified as a Potentially Unwanted Application (PUA).

EngageSearch adware

Adware operates by enabling the placement of pop-ups, banners, coupons, surveys, full-page and other intrusive advertisements typically, on any visited website. These ads significantly diminish the browsing experience, since they limit browsing speed and web page visibility.

Furthermore, when clicked, intrusive ads redirect to various dubious/malicious sites and some can even stealthily download/install rogue software (e.g. PUAs). Browser hijackers assign the addresses of bogus search engines as the homepage, default search engine and new tab/window URLs.

Therefore, with this software installed, new browser tabs/windows opened and web searches made via the URL bar redirect to the promoted address.

EngageSearch promotes Safe Finder through akamaihd.net in this manner. Fake search engines are usually unable to generate search results, and so they redirect (or cause redirection chains leading) to Google, Yahoo, Bing and other legitimate sites.

Browser hijackers can undo any changes users try to make to their browsers, or they might restrict/deny access to the settings outright. As mentioned, most PUAs (adware and browser hijackers included) can track data, and it is highly likely that EngageSearch has such capabilities as well.

These unwanted apps can monitor browsing activity and collect personal data extracted from it. Information of interest includes visited URLs, viewed pages, typed search queries, IP addresses, geolocations and other sensitive details. PUA developers often monetize this vulnerable information by sharing it with and/or selling it to third parties (potentially, cyber criminals).

Therefore, the presence of unwanted software on devices can lead to system infections, financial loss, serious privacy issues and even identity theft. To ensure device and user safety, remove all suspect applications and browser extensions/plug-ins immediately upon detection.

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by EngageSearch
Threat Type Adware, Mac malware, Mac virus.
Detection Names Avast (MacOS:Adload-AB [Trj]), BitDefender (Gen:Variant.Adware.MAC.Adload.5), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of OSX/Adware.Synataeb.C), Kaspersky (Not-a-virus:HEUR:AdWare.OSX.Adload.h), 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.

BinarySignSearchDynamicAnalog and FunctionRecord are some examples of other adware-type apps. This software may seem legitimate and useful, and people are often enticed into download/installation with offers of various functionality. In fact, the advertised features are seldom operational, and this information is true of most PUAs.

The only purpose of these unwanted applications is to generate revenue for the developers. Rather than delivering any real value, PUAs run intrusive ad campaigns, force-open untrusted and malicious web pages, hijack browsers and gather private information.

How did EngageSearch install on my computer?

PUAs are proliferated through the download/installation set-ups of other products. This deceptive marketing technique of pre-packing regular software with unwanted or malicious additions is called "bundling".

Rushing through download/installation processes (e.g. ignoring terms, skipping steps and sections, etc.) increases the risk of unintentionally allowing bundled content into the system. Some PUAs have "official" download pages. Once clicked, intrusive advertisements 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 prior to download/installation and/or purchase. All downloads must be done from official and verified sources. Untrusted channels such as unofficial and free file-hosting websites, P2P sharing networks (BitTorrent, eMule, Gnutella, etc.) and other third party downloaders commonly offer deceptive and/or bundled content.

When downloading/installing, you are advised to read the terms, study all available options, use the "Custom" or "Advanced" settings and opt-out of supplementary apps, tools, features, and so on. Intrusive ads may seem legitimate and harmless, however, they can redirect to dubious web pages (e.g. gambling, pornography, adult-dating, etc.).

If you encounter ads/redirects of this type, inspect all devices and immediately remove any dubious applications and browser executions/plug-ins. If your computer is already infected with EngageSearch, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate this adware.

Pop-up window displayed once EngageSearch installation is complete:

pop-up displayed once EngageSearch installation is done

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

EngageSearch redirecting users to Safe Finder website via akamaihd.net

EngageSearch adware installation folder:

EngageSearch adware install 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 EngageSearch adware using Combo Cleaner:

EngageSearch adware removal:

Remove EngageSearch-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 engagesearch 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 EngageSearch removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove ads by engagesearch 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 engagesearch 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 engagesearch 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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Removal Instructions in other languages
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 EngageSearch QR code
Scan this QR code to have an easy access removal guide of Ads by EngageSearch on your mobile device.
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