Removal instructions for WebQuestSearch adware

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

How to remove WebQuestSearch from Mac?

What is WebQuestSearch?

WebQuestSearch is designed to serve advertisements and change certain browser settings (promote a fake search engine/its address). Also, it may be designed to gather information related to user's browsing habits and/or some other details. Simply said, WebQuestSearch functions as adware and a browser hijacker. It is common that users download and install adware-type apps, browser hijackers unknowingly, for this reason apps like WebQuestSearch are called potentially unwanted applications (PUAs). This particular PUA is distributed through a fake installer which is disguised as an installed for Adobe Flash Player.

WebQuestSearch adware

In most cases applications like WebQuestSearch serve coupons, banners, surveys, pop-ups, and/or other types of advertisements. Quite often their ads are designed to open/promote questionable web pages. In some cases they display ads that, if clicked, execute scripts designed to download and/or install unwanted software. Furthermore, WebQuestSearch changes browser settings such as address of a default search engine, homepage and new tab to an address of some fake search engine. In other words, it is designed to make sure that its users would visit/use a certain fake search engine when they enter search queries, open a browser and new tab. Quite often apps like WebQuestSearch are designed to collect details like IP addresses, geolocations, entered search queries, addresses of visited websites, and/or other browsing-related data as well. It is worthwhile to mention that in some cases they can be designed to record not only browsing data but also various personal, sensitive information as well. What is worse, their developers could misuse gathered data to generate revenue, for example, they may sell it to third parties (potentially cyber criminals). Therefore, apps like WebQuestSearch could be the reason behind problems related to browsing safety, online privacy, or other issues.

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by WebQuestSearch
Threat Type Adware, Mac malware, Mac virus
Detection Names Avast (MacOS:Adload-AD [Trj]), BitDefender (Adware.MAC.AdLoad.ZB), 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.

There are many apps like WebQuestSearch, some examples are StandartConsoleSearch, SearchNetCharacter and GoWebSearch. As a rule, most of them are designed to serve ads, promote some fake search engine and/or gather various data - to generate revenue for their developers. They are not only useless to their users but also can cause various problems. If WebQuestSearch or any other app of this type is installed on a browser and/or computer, then it should be removed/uninstalled as soon as possible.

How did WebQuestSearch install on my computer?

WebQuestSearch is distributed via fake installer which is disguised as the installer for Adobe Flash Player. In some cases third party, unofficial installers are used to distribute malicious software like ransomware, Trojan-type malware as well. Also, it is common that PUAs are distributed by including them in download and/or installation setups of other programs. This distribution method is called "bundling". In most cases these offers to download and/or install included PUAs can be declined in "Custom", "Advanced" and other similar settings of setups. When software is downloaded and/or installed without checking and changing any of those settings (and/or unticking certain checkboxes), then included PUAs get downloaded and/or installed too. Sometimes unwanted downloads and/or installations are caused by clicking deceptive ads that are designed to run certain scripts.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

It is not recommended to download (and/or install) software with third party downloaders (and/or installers), from unofficial websites, through Peer-to-Peer networks like torrent clients, eMule, third party downloaders, etc. The safest way to download files and programs is by using official websites and direct download links. Also, it is advised to check setups for offers to download and/or install unwanted (additionally included) apps and decline them before completing downloads and/or installations. Additionally, it is recommended not to click ads that are displayed on dubious websites - they can be designed to open other untrustworthy websites or cause unwanted downloads, installations. Any unwanted, unknown or suspicious extensions, plug-ins or add-ons that are installed on a browser should be removed. If there is some software of this kind installed on the operating system, then it should be uninstalled too. If your computer is already infected with WebQuestSearch, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate this adware.

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

  • ~/Library/Application Support/com.WebQuestSearch/WebQuestSearch
  • ~/Library/Application Support/com.WebQuestSearchDaemon/WebQuestSearch
  • ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.WebQuestSearch.plist
  • ~/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.WebQuestSearchDaemon.plist

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

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

Remove rogue profiles designed to promote WebQuestSearch (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:

WebQuestSearch adware removal:

Remove WebQuestSearch-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 webquestsearch 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 WebQuestSearch removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove ads by webquestsearch 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 webquestsearch 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 webquestsearch 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 WebQuestSearch 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 WebQuestSearch on your mobile device.
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