How to remove the WebAdviseSearch adware?

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

How to remove WebAdviseSearch from Mac?

What is WebAdviseSearch?

WebAdviseSearch is the name of adware-type application which has features of a browser hijacker: it not only serves ads but also changes certain browser settings to promote an address of a fake search engine. It is likely that it collects browsing data and/or other data as well. Very often users download and install apps like WebAdviseSearch unknowingly, for this reason they are called potentially unwanted applications (PUAs). It is known that this app is distributed via fake installer that supposedly is an installer for Adobe Flash Player.

WebAdviseSearch adware

Examples of types of ads that apps like WebAdviseSearch serve are coupons, banners, surveys, pop-up ads. It is common that those ads are designed to open unreliable websites. Sometimes they are designed to cause unwanted downloads and/or installations by running certain scripts. As mentioned in the introduction, WebAdviseSearch is designed not only to serve ads but also to promote a fake search engine (its address). As a rule, apps of this type do that by modifying browser settings such as address of a homepage, default search engine and new tab. They change these addresses to an address of a certain fake search engine. When used to search the web, fake search engines either provide results generated by some other (usually legitimate) search engine or generate results that may include links to unreliable pages. It is worthwhile to mention that the address of a fake search engine that is promoted by a browser hijacker can be removed from browser settings only when that browser hijacker is no longer installed. One more problem with most of the apps like WebAdviseSearch is that they are designed to operate data collectors. Usually they target browsing-related information like IP addresses, geolocations, entered search queries, addresses of visited pages, etc. However, in some cases they are capable of accessing sensitive details as well. The problem with it is that collected information could be misused to generate revenue, for instance, it could be sold to third parties (potentially cyber criminals). These are the main reasons why applications like WebAdviseSearch should not never be trusted/installed.

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by WebAdviseSearch
Threat Type Adware, Mac malware, Mac virus
Detection Names Avast (MacOS:Adload-AD [Trj]), BitDefender (Gen:Variant.Adware.MAC.Rload.5), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of OSX/TrojanDownloader.Adload.AE), Kaspersky (Not-a-virus:HEUR:AdWare.OSX.Cimpli.l), Full List (VirusTotal)
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.

PublicCharacterSearch, AimSearch and QuestSearch are the names of other apps that are very similar to WebAdviseSearch. Although, there are many more examples. As a rule, they are useless to their users even if developers advertise them as legitimate, useful apps. Most of them are designed only to generate revenue for their developers in ways that could cause users various problems.

How did WebAdviseSearch install on my computer?

It is known that users install WebAdviseSearch on browsers and operating systems through a fake Adobe Flash Player installer. It is worthwhile to mention that such installers can be used to distribute malicious software like ransomware, Trojan-type malware, etc. Also, it is common that PUAs are distributed by using a deceptive marketing method called "bundling". In such cases PUAs often get downloaded and/or installed together with other programs that have those apps included in their download and/or installation setups as additional offers. Usually those offers can be declined in "Advanced", "Custom", "Manual" or other settings of setups, however, not all users check and change those settings when they download and/or install programs. In some cases unwanted downloads and installations can be caused by clicking deceptive advertisements that are designed to run certain scripts.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

It is advised to always check download and/or installation setups for "Custom", "Advanced", "Manual" and other similar settings and see if they can be used to decline offers to download and/or install unwanted apps. It is recommended not to downloaded any files or programs from untrustworthy, unofficial websites, through torrent clients, eMule (or other Peer-to-Peer networks), third party downloaders, etc., or install them with third party installers. Software and files should be downloaded from trustworthy, official websites and via direct download links. Additionally, it is advised not to click ads that appear on unreliable, shady pages. Quite often those ads are designed to open other questionable websites or cause unwanted downloads, installations. And lastly, there should not be any unwanted or suspicious apps (extensions, add-ons or plug-ins) installed on a browser, or programs of this kind installed on the operating system. If your computer is already infected with WebAdviseSearch, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate this adware.

Files related to WebAdviseSearch adware that need to be removed:

  • ~/Library/Application Support/com.WebAdviseSearch/WebAdviseSearch
  • ~/Library/Application Support/com.WebAdviseSearchDaemon/WebAdviseSearch
  • ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.WebAdviseSearch.plist
  • ~/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.WebAdviseSearchDaemon.plist

IMPORTANT NOTE! Rogue setups/apps that promote the WebAdviseSearch website 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 pavadinimas (Step 1)

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

Remove rogue profiles designed to promote pavadinimas (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 browser hijacker/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:

WebAdviseSearch adware removal:

Remove WebAdviseSearch-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 webadvisesearch 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 WebAdviseSearch removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove ads by webadvisesearch 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 webadvisesearch 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 webadvisesearch 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 WebAdviseSearch 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 WebAdviseSearch on your mobile device.
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