How to remove SearchNetCharacter adware from your operating system?

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

How to remove SearchNetCharacter adware from Mac?

What is SearchNetCharacter?

SearchNetCharacter is a piece of rogue software, classified as adware and it also possesses browser hijacker traits. Following successful installation, SearchNetCharacter runs intrusive advertisement campaigns, makes alterations to browsers settings and promotes fake search engines. Additionally, most adware-types and browser hijackers can spy on users' browsing activity. Due to the dubious tactics employed to proliferate SearchNetCharacter, it is deemed to be a PUA (Potentially Unwanted Application) as well. This app has been observed being distributed via fake Adobe Flash Player updates. Users should note that illegitimate software updaters/installers are used to distribute not only PUAs but also trojans, ransomware and other malware as well.

SearchNetCharacter adware distributed via fake Flash Player updater/installer

Adware delivers pop-ups, banners, coupons, surveys, full-page and other intrusive adverts. They seriously diminish the browsing experience, as they overlay page content and slow down the browsing speed. Aside from being a nuisance, these ads are also considered to be a threat to device/user safety. Upon being clicked, intrusive advertisements redirect to various untrustworthy/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 illegitimate search engines. Hence, with a browser hijacker installed: every new browser tab/window opened and search query typed into the URL bar - redirect to the promoted address. Furthermore, fake search engines are seldom capable of providing search results, so they tend to redirect to Google, Yahoo, Bing and other legitimate ones. Browser hijackers can also undo any changes users attempt to make to their browsers and/or restrict/deny access to the browser's settings outright. As mentioned in the introduction, most PUAs (adware and browser hijackers included) have data tracking abilities. They can monitor browsing activity (URLs visited, pages viewed, search queries typed, etc.) and gather personal information inferred from it (IP addresses, geolocations and other vulnerable details). The collected data is then shared with and/or sold to third parties (potentially, cyber criminals). In summary, presence of unwanted software on devices can result in system infections, financial losses, severe privacy issues and even identity theft. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to immediately remove all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins.

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by SearchNetCharacter
Threat Type Adware, Mac malware, Mac virus
Detection Names Avast (MacOS:Adload-AD [Trj]), Fortinet (Adware/Cimpli!OSX), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of OSX/TrojanDownloader.Adload.AD), Kaspersky (Not-a-virus:HEUR:AdWare.OSX.Cimpli.l), 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.

UltraSearchSystemMultiplySearch and ValidGeneration are a few examples of other adware-type applications. They appear legitimate and offer a broad range of "handy" features. However, the promised functions are rarely operational. This applies to nearly all PUAs. The sole purpose of unwanted apps is to generate revenue for the developers; hence, functionality and user safety are irrelevant. Instead of delivering on any promises, PUAs can run intrusive advertisement campaigns, modify browsers, cause redirects, collect browsing-related and personally identifiable information.

How did SearchNetCharacter install on my computer?

PUAs are distributed via download/installation setups of other products. "Bundling" is the term used to define this false marketing method of packing regular software with unwanted or malicious additions. Rushed download/installation processes (e.g. ignored terms, skipped steps, etc.) - increase the risk of unintentionally allowing bundled content into the system. Select PUAs have "official" promotional webpages, from which they can be downloaded. Intrusive adverts 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 advised to research software products, prior to download/installation and/or purchase. All downloads must be done from official and verified sources. Since untrustworthy channels, like: unofficial and free file-hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks and other third party downloaders. When downloading/installing, it is important to read terms, explore all possible options, use the "Custom" or "Advanced" settings and opt-out from supplementary apps, tools, features, and so on. Intrusive ads appear legitimate and harmless, however they redirect to various questionable pages (e.g. gambling, pornography, adult-dating, etc.). In case of encounters with such advertisements and/or redirects, the system must be checked and all suspect applications and browser extensions/plug-ins detected - removed without delay. If your computer is already infected with SearchNetCharacter, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate this adware.

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

  • ~/Library/Application Support/com.SearchNetCharacter/SearchNetCharacter
  • ~/Library/Application Support/com.SearchNetCharacterDaemon/SearchNetCharacter
  • ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.SearchNetCharacter.plist
  • ~/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.SearchNetCharacterDaemon.plist

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

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

Remove rogue profiles designed to promote SearchNetCharacter (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:

SearchNetCharacter adware removal:

Remove SearchNetCharacter-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 searchnetcharacter 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 SearchNetCharacter removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove ads by searchnetcharacter 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 searchnetcharacter 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 searchnetcharacter 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 SearchNetCharacter 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 SearchNetCharacter on your mobile device.
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