How to remove WebFunctionSearch adware?

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

How to remove WebFunctionSearch from Mac?

What is WebFunctionSearch?

WebFunctionSearch is designed to promote address of some fake search engine and serve advertisements - it functions as a browser hijacker and adware. It is common that apps of this type collect browsing-related information as well. As a rule, users do not download and install apps like WebFunctionSearch intentionally, for this reason they are called potentially unwanted applications (PUAs). It is known that this particular app is distributed through a deceptive (fake) Adobe Flash Player installer.

WebFunctionSearch adware

Typically, adware-type applications serve ads in forms of surveys, banners, pop-ups, coupons, etc. It is common that those ads are designed to promote untrustworthy websites, or even run scripts that cause unwanted downloads and/or installations. Since WebFunctionSearch functions not only as adware, but as a browser hijacker too - it promotes address of some fake search engine by changing certain browser settings (address of a homepage, default search engine and/or new tab). Usually a promoted address cannot be removed from settings unless users uninstall the app that changed them. Furthermore, apps like WebFunctionSearch often are designed to collect information related to user's browsing habits: they collect data like IP addresses, geolocations, addresses of visited pages, entered search queries, and/or other browsing data. Although, in some cases such apps can be designed to record sensitive details as well. Moreover, their developers could misuse gathered data to generate revenue by selling it to third parties (potentially cyber criminals) and/or in some other ways. Therefore, users of apps like WebFunctionSearch could have problems related to online privacy, browsing safety, or even become victims of identity theft. Therefore, it is strongly recommended not to download and install apps like WebFunctionSearch.

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by WebFunctionSearch
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), Microsoft (Trojan:Script/Wacatac.C!ml), 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.

WebFunctionSearch is virtually identical to many other apps of this type, for example, AssistiveDisplaySearch, ExploreDivision and PromoteOptimization. Typically, such apps are advertised as useful, legitimate. However, most of them are designed only to generate revenue for their developers and can cause users various issues. As mentioned in the introduction, in most cases users download and install adware, browser hijackers and other PUAs unknowingly.

How did WebFunctionSearch install on my computer?

WebFunctionSearch is distributed through a fake installer which is disguised as an installer of the Adobe Flash Player. It is worthwhile to mention that such installers can be used to distribute malware. Also, apps of this type often are distributed PUAs through deceptive ads and setups of other programs too. In some cases advertisements can be designed to execute certain scripts that cause downloads, or even installations of some unwanted applications. Although, more often PUAs are distributed by integrating them in setups of other programs as additional offers. This distribution method is called "bundling". Typically, offers to download and/or install PUAs can be found in and declined in "Advanced", "Custom", "Manual", or other settings of setups. However, quite often users leave those settings unchanged. By not changing them they agree to download and/or install any included PUAs together with a desired software.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

Third party downloaders, installers, Peer-to-Peer networks (e.g., torrent clients, eMule), questionable websites, etc., can be used as tools to distribute PUAs, sometimes even malicious apps. Therefore, files and programs should be downloaded from official websites and through direct links. Download and/or installation setups that have settings like "Custom", "Advanced" should be always checked for offers to download and/or install PUAs. Such offers should be declined before completing downloads and installations. Advertisements that appear on questionable websites (for example, on pages related to pornography, gambling, adult dating) should not be clicked - they can be designed to open untrustworthy, potentially malicious websites or download, install unwanted software. Any unwanted, suspicious apps (extensions, plug-ins or add-ons) that are installed on a web browser should be uninstalled. The same should be done with programs of this type that are installed on a computer/operating system. If your computer is already infected with WebFunctionSearch, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate this adware.

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

  • ~/Library/Application Support/com.WebFunctionSearch/WebFunctionSearch
  • ~/Library/Application Support/com.WebFunctionSearchDaemon/WebFunctionSearch
  • ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.WebFunctionSearch.plist
  • ~/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.WebFunctionSearchDaemon.plist

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

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

Remove rogue profiles designed to promote WebFunctionSearch (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 browser hijacker/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:

WebFunctionSearch adware removal:

Remove WebFunctionSearch-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 webfunctionsearch 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 WebFunctionSearch removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove ads by webfunctionsearch 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 webfunctionsearch 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 webfunctionsearch 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 WebFunctionSearch 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 WebFunctionSearch on your mobile device.
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