How to uninstall AssistiveDisplaySearch adware from the system?

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

How to remove AssistiveDisplaySearch adware from Mac?

What is AssistiveDisplaySearch?

AssistiveDisplaySearch is an adware-type application with browser hijacker traits. Following successful installation, this app runs intrusive advertisement campaigns and makes changes to browser settings - in order to promote fake search engines. Most adware-types and browser hijackers collect information relating to browsing activity. Due to the dubious tactics employed to distribute AssistiveDisplaySearch, it is classified as a PUA (Potentially Unwanted Application) as well. This application has been observed being proliferated via fake Adobe Flash Player updates. It is noteworthy that illegitimate software updaters/installers proliferate not only PUAs but also malware (e.g. trojans, ransomware, etc.).

AssistiveDisplaySearch adware distributed via fake Flash Player updater/installer

Adware delivers pop-ups, banners, coupons, surveys and other intrusive advertisements. Typically, the ads are placed on any visited website, hence they do not originate from the pages themselves. The delivered adverts seriously diminish the browsing experience, as they overlay webpage content and slow down the browsing speed. Furthermore, upon being clicked, intrusive advertisements redirect to various unreliable/malicious sites and some can even stealthily download/install software (e.g. PUAs). Browser hijackers reassign browsers' homepage, default search engine and new tab/window URLs - to the addresses of fake web searchers. With such a piece of software installed: new browser tabs/windows opened and search queries typed into the URL bar - redirect to the promoted address. Fake search engines are rarely able to generate search results, so they tend to redirect to Yahoo, Bing, Google and other legitimate ones. Browser hijackers can also restrict/deny access to the browser's settings and/or automatically undo any permitted changes made. Therefore, recovering a hijacked browser is impossible - without removing the software affecting it. Most PUAs (adware and browser hijackers included) can track data. They monitor browsing activity (URLs visited, pages viewed, search queries typed, etc.) and gather personal information extracted from it (IP addresses, geolocations and other details). The collected data is then monetized by PUA developers by being shared with and/or sold to third parties (potentially, cyber criminals). In summary, presence of unwanted software on devices can lead to system infections, financial losses, severe privacy issues and even identity theft. To protect device and user safety, all suspect applications and browser extensions/plug-ins must be eliminated without delay.

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by AssistiveDisplaySearch
Threat Type Adware, Mac malware, Mac virus
Detection Names Avast (MacOS:Adload-AD [Trj]), BitDefender (Gen:Variant.Adware.MAC.Rload.5), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of OSX/TrojanDownloader.Adload.AE), Ikarus (Trojan-Downloader.OSX.Adload), Full List (VirusTotal)
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.

Apps classified as adware - appear legitimate and harmless; ExploreDivisionPromoteOptimization and OnlineToolSearch are a few examples of software within this classification. Adware also often offers various "useful" and "advantageous" functionalities. However, the promised features are seldom operational. In fact, this is true of nearly all PUAs. Functionality and user safety are irrelevant, since the only purpose of unwanted applications is to generate revenue for the developers. PUAs are designed to deliver intrusive advert campaigns, hijack browsers, cause redirects and collect private information.

How did AssistiveDisplaySearch install on my computer?

PUAs are distributed via download/installation setups of other software. This false marketing technique of packing ordinary products with unwanted or malicious additions - is called "bundling". By rushing through download/installation processes (e.g. by ignoring terms, skipping steps and sections, etc.) - users risk inadvertently allowing bundled content into their devices. Select PUAs have "official" download sites. Intrusive advertisements proliferate these applications as well. Once clicked on, they can execute scripts to download/install PUAs without user permission.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

It is recommended to research software before download/installation and/or purchase. Only official and trustworthy download channels must be used. Dubious sources, e.g. unofficial and free file-hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks and other third party downloaders - commonly offer deceptive and/or bundled content. When downloading/installing, it is important to read terms, explore all available options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings and opt-out from additional apps, tools, features, etc. Intrusive adverts typically appear legitimate, however they redirect to various questionable webpages (e.g. gambling, pornography, adult-dating, and so on). In case of encounters with ads and/or redirects of this kind, users must inspect their devices and immediately remove all suspect applications and browser extensions/plug-ins from them. If your computer is already infected with AssistiveDisplaySearch, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate this adware.

Files related to the AssistiveDisplaySearch adware that need to be removed:

  • ~/Library/Application Support/com.AssistiveDisplaySearch/AssistiveDisplaySearch
  • ~/Library/Application Support/com.AssistiveDisplaySearchDaemon/AssistiveDisplaySearch
  • ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.AssistiveDisplaySearch.plist
  • ~/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.AssistiveDisplaySearchDaemon.plist

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

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

Remove rogue profiles designed to promote AssistiveDisplaySearch (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.

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:

AssistiveDisplaySearch adware removal:

Remove AssistiveDisplaySearch-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 assistivedisplaysearch 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 AssistiveDisplaySearch removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove ads by assistivedisplaysearch 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 assistivedisplaysearch 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 assistivedisplaysearch 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 AssistiveDisplaySearch 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 AssistiveDisplaySearch on your mobile device.
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