How to remove GoWebSearch adware from a browser and computer?

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

How to remove GoWebSearch from Mac?

What is GoWebSearch?

GoWebSearch functions not only as adware but also as a browser hijacker. To be more precise, it serves advertisements and promotes some fake search engine (its address) by changing browser settings. Additionally, this app may be designed to gather browsing-related information and/or other details. Apps of this type are called potentially unwanted applications (PUAs), it is because most of the times users download and install them unintentionally. This particular app is distributed through a fake installer for Adobe Flash Player.

GoWebSearch adware

Some examples of advertisements that apps like GoWebSearch serve are various pop-up ads, banners, surveys, coupons. It is common that ads served by adware are designed to promote (open) questionable pages, in some cases they are designed to cause downloads and/or installations of PUAs by running certain scripts. Furthermore, GoWebSearch promotes address of some fake search engine by making it as a default search engine, homepage and address of a new tab. It means that this app is designed to make sure that its users would visit a certain address when they enter search queries into URL bar, open a browser and new tab. It is worthwhile to mention that fake search engines either do not generate any unique results (they provide results generated by some other, usually legitimate search engine) or generate misleading results. Also, users cannot remove their addresses from browser settings unless they uninstall the apps that are designed to promote them. Additionally, GoWebSearch could be designed to function as information tracking tool - it may target details like geolocations, entered search queries, addresses of visited websites, IP addresses and other data. In some cases such apps can access (and collect) sensitive details as well. The bigger problem with it is that their developers could sell gathered data to third parties (potentially some cyber criminals) or misuse it to generate revenue in some other ways which would put users at risk of problems related to online privacy, browsing safety, and/or other issues like identity theft.

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by GoWebSearch
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.

More examples of apps like GoWebSearch are UltraSearchSystem, MultiplySearch, SmartFunctionSearch. What most of them have in common is that they are designed to generate revenue for their developers by serving ads, promoting questionable addresses and/or collecting various data. Also, most of them are useless to their users, even if they are advertised as useful, legitimate applications. It is strongly recommended not to download and install apps like GoWebSearch.

How did GoWebSearch install on my computer?

This particular app is distributed through a deceptive installer which supposed to install Adobe Flash Player. Quite often such installers are used to trick users into installing some malware like ransomware, Trojan-type malware as well. Another common way to distribute PUAs is to include them in download and/or installation setups of other programs as extra offers. This distribution method is known as "bundling". It works when users download and/or install programs without changing "Advanced", "Custom" or other settings, or unticking checkboxes that are available in their setups. It is common that by leaving default settings unchanged users allow for included PUAs to be downloaded and/or installed too. In some cases such downloads, installations can be caused through deceptive advertisements, although, only by clicking ads that are designed to execute certain scripts.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

Unwanted downloads and installations can be prevented by checking settings like "Custom", "Advanced" of download and installation setups and declining offers to download and/or install included apps. Also, it can be done by downloading software (and files) from official, trustworthy websites and via direct download links, and not some other sources, tools like third party downloaders, Peer-to-Peer networks (for example, torrent clients, eMule), unofficial websites, etc. Third party installers should not be used too. One more way to avoid unwanted downloads and/or installations is not to click advertisements that appear on unreliable pages. Such ads can be designed to open potentially malicious websites or even cause downloads, installations of unwanted applications. All unwanted, suspicious extensions, plug-ins, and/or add-ons that are already installed on a browser should be removed. It applies to software of this kind that is installed on the operating system. If your computer is already infected with GoWebSearch, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate this adware.

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

  • ~/Library/Application Support/com.GoWebSearch/GoWebSearch
  • ~/Library/Application Support/com.GoWebSearchDaemon/GoWebSearch
  • ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.GoWebSearch.plist
  • ~/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.GoWebSearchDaemon.plist

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

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

Remove rogue profiles designed to promote GoWebSearch (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:

GoWebSearch adware removal:

Remove GoWebSearch-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 gowebsearch 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 GoWebSearch removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove ads by gowebsearch 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 gowebsearch 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 gowebsearch 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 GoWebSearch 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 GoWebSearch on your mobile device.
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