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How to remove GoWebSearch adware from your browser and computer

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

How to remove GoWebSearch from Mac computers

What is GoWebSearch?

GoWebSearch functions not only as adware but also as a browser hijacker. I.e., it serves advertisements and promotes fake search engine addresses by changing browser settings. Additionally, this app might be designed to gather browsing-related information and other details. Apps of this type are classified as potentially unwanted applications (PUAs), since users often download and install them unintentionally. This particular app is distributed through a fake installer for Adobe Flash Player.

GoWebSearch adware

Some examples of advertisements served by GoWebSearch are pop-ups, banners, surveys, and coupons. Commonly, ads served by adware promote (open) dubious pages and, in some cases, cause download/installation of PUAs by running certain scripts. Furthermore, GoWebSearch promotes the address of a fake search engine by assigning it as the default search engine, homepage, and address of a new tab. In this way, the app ensures that users are forced to visit a certain address when they enter search queries into the URL bar, open a browser, or new tab. Note that fake search engines do not generate any unique results (they provide results generated by other, usually legitimate, search engines), or generate misleading results. Users cannot remove the bogus addresses from browser settings unless they uninstall the apps that promote them. Additionally, GoWebSearch could be designed to function as an information tracking tool - it might target details such as geolocations, entered search queries, addresses of visited websites, IP addresses and other data. In some cases, these apps can access (and collect) sensitive details as well. The developers could sell the data to third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) or misuse it to generate revenue in other ways, which would put users at risk of problems relating to online privacy and browsing safety, and other issues such as identity theft.

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by GoWebSearch
Threat Type Adware, Mac malware, Mac virus.
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.

More examples of apps like GoWebSearch are UltraSearchSystem, MultiplySearch, and SmartFunctionSearch. Most generate revenue for the developers by serving ads, promoting dubious addresses, and collecting various data. They are useless to regular users, even if they are advertised as useful, legitimate applications. You are strongly advised not to download or install apps such as GoWebSearch

How did GoWebSearch install on my computer?

This particular app is distributed through a deceptive installer designed to install Adobe Flash Player. These installers are often used to trick users into installing malware such as ransomware and Trojan-type malware. PUAs are also spread by including them into the download/installation set-ups of other programs as extra offers. This distribution method is known as "bundling". It works when users fail to check and change "Advanced", "Custom", and other settings, and not unticking checkboxes that are available in the set-ups. Leaving default settings unchanged allows included PUAs to be downloaded and installed. In some cases, these downloads and installations are caused through clicking deceptive advertisements that execute certain scripts.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications

Check all "Custom" and "Advanced" settings and decline offers to download or install included apps. Download software and files from official, trustworthy websites and via direct download links. Avoid other sources, tools such as third party downloaders, Peer-to-Peer networks (for example, torrent clients, eMule), unofficial websites, etc. Third party installers should also be avoided. Do not click advertisements that appear on dubious pages, since they can open potentially malicious websites or even cause download/installation of unwanted applications. Remove all unwanted, suspicious extensions, plug-ins, and add-ons that are already installed on the browser. This also 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 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 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.

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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.

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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