How to remove ExecutiveOperation adware from a browser and computer?

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

How to remove ExecutiveOperation from Mac?

What is ExecutiveOperation?

ExecutiveOperation is the name of an application that functions not only as adware, but also as a browser hijacker and data collector. It serves advertisements, promotes two fake search engines by changing browser settings and gathers sensitive information. As a rule, users download and install apps like ExecutiveOperation unknowingly, for this reason they are categorized as potentially unwanted applications (PUAs). It is known that ExecutiveOperation is distributed via fake installer that is disguised as an installer for Adobe Flash Player.

ExecutiveOperation adware

Usually applications like ExecutiveOperation serve coupons, banners, surveys, pop-up ads and/or other types of advertisements. More often than not by clicking those ads users allow them to open questionable websites or execute certain scripts that cause download and/or installation of some unwanted application. As mentioned in the first paragraph, ExecutiveOperation functions as a browser hijacker: it promotes the z6airr.com address on Safari browsers and the search.basicgeneration.com address on Chrome browsers. Typically, browser hijackers promote fake search engines by making their address and the address of a default search engine, homepage and new tab. Z6airr.com provides results generated by Yahoo (it redirects users to search.yahoo.com), depending on user's geolocation, search.basicgeneration.com provides results generated either by Google or Yahoo (it redirects users either to google.com or seach.yahoo.com). In other words, neither of them generate any unique results and that is the main reason why they are called fake search engines. It is worthwhile to mention that z6airr.com and search.basicgeneration.com can be removed from browser settings only when ExecutiveOperation (or other PUA that is designed to promote them) is no longer installed. Furthermore, ExecutiveOperation can read sensitive information such as credit card details, passwords, telephone numbers and some other personal data. This information could be misused for various malicious purposes, for example: to make fraudulent purchases, transactions, steal identities, accounts. It means that its users could become victims of identity theft, lose access to various accounts, suffer monetary loss, have problems related to web browsing safety, online privacy, etc.

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by ExecutiveOperation
Threat Type Adware, Mac malware, Mac virus
Detection Names Avast (MacOS:AdAgent-L [Adw]), AVG (MacOS:AdAgent-L [Adw]), ESET-NOD32 (Multiple Detections), Kaspersky (Not-a-virus:HEUR:AdWare.OSX.Adload.h), 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.
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AccessibleSkill, LearningActivity and MarketService are the more examples of apps that function like ExecutiveOperation too. Typically, they are designed to generate revenue for their developers by serving ads, collecting information and promoting shady websites. They are not only useless to their users but also can cause them various problems. Therefore, apps like ExecutiveOperation should never be downloaded and installed.

How did ExecutiveOperation install on my computer?

As mentioned in the first paragraph, ExecutiveOperation is distributed through a fake installed for Adobe Flash Player. It is common that fake, third party installers are used to distribute not only PUAs but also malicious programs, like Trojans, ransomware-type programs, etc. Also, quite often users download and/or install PUAs together with other programs - when those apps are distributed by integrating them in download and/or installation setups of other programs as extra offers. As a rule, users can decline such offers unticking checkboxes or via "Custom", "Advanced" or other settings that are available in setups. Users who leave certain checkboxes unticked and/or settings unchanged when they download and/or install programs allow for included apps to be downloaded and/or installed too. This software distribution method is known as "bundling". Also, unwanted downloads and/or installation can be caused by clicking deceptive advertisements that are designed to execute certain scripts.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

Files and programs should not be downloaded (or installed) through questionable sources, tools like Peer-to-Peer networks (e.g., eMule, torrent clients), unofficial pages, third party downloaders, installers, and so on. It is recommended to download everything from official pages and via direct links. Also, download and installation setups that have settings like "Advanced", "Custom" should be checked for offers to download and/or install unwanted apps/. Advertisements that appear on shady sites should not be clicked - quite often those ads open untrustworthy pages, in some cases they cause download, installation of unwanted software. If there are any suspicious, unwanted extensions, plug-ins or add-ons installed on a browser, then they should be removed from it. The same should be done with programs of this kind that are installed on the operating system/computer. If your computer is already infected with ExecutiveOperation, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate this adware.

Pop-up window displayed once ExecutiveOperation installation is over:

executiveoperation adware pop-up displayed once installation is done

Fake Adobe Flash Player installer used to distribute ExecutiveOperation:

fake adobe flash player installer used to distribute ExecutiveOperation

Z6airr.com redirects to search.yahoo.com (GIF):

z6airr.com redirects to search.yahoo.com

Search.basicgeneration.com redirects to google.com (GIF):

search.basicgeneration.com redirects to google.com

Search.basicgeneration.com redirects to search.yahoo.com (GIF):

search.basicgeneration.com redirects to yahoo.com

ExecutiveOperation installed on Safari:

executiveoperation adware safar extension

ExecutiveOperation's Contents folder:

executiveoperation adware contents folder

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 ExecutiveOperation adware using Combo Cleaner:

ExecutiveOperation adware removal:

Remove ExecutiveOperation-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 executiveoperation 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 ExecutiveOperation removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove ads by executiveoperation 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 executiveoperation 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 executiveoperation 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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Removal Instructions in other languages
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 ExecutiveOperation 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 ExecutiveOperation on your mobile device.
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