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How to remove WebAdviseSearch adware

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

What is WebAdviseSearch?

WebAdviseSearch is an adware-type application, which has features of a browser hijacker: it serves ads and changes certain browser settings to promote the address of a fake search engine. It is likely that it will also collect browsing data and other details.

Users often download and install WebAdviseSearch and similar apps inadvertently and, for this reason, they are classified as potentially unwanted applications (PUAs). This app is distributed via a fake installer, which is supposedly an installer for Adobe Flash Player.

WebAdviseSearch adware

Examples of ads that apps such as WebAdviseSearch serve include coupons, banners, surveys, and pop-ups. Commonly, these open dubious websites and sometimes cause unwanted downloads and installations by running certain scripts. As mentioned, WebAdviseSearch is designed to serve ads and promote a fake search engine address.

Generally, these apps modify browser settings such as the homepage, default search engine and new tab. They change these settings to the address of a fake search engine. When used to search, fake search engines provide results generated by other (usually legitimate) search engines or generate results that can include links to dubious web pages.

Note that fake search engines can only be removed from browser settings when the browser hijacker is no longer installed. WebAdviseSearch and similar apps also track and record data. They usually target browsing-related information such as IP addresses, geolocations, entered search queries, addresses of visited pages, etc.

In some cases, they are capable of accessing private, sensitive details as well. The information is misused to generate revenue. For example, it could be sold to third parties (potentially, cyber criminals). Therefore, applications such as WebAdviseSearch should not never be trusted or 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. There are many more examples. Generally, they are useless to regular users, even if developers advertise them as legitimate, useful apps. They are designed only to generate revenue for the developers in ways that can cause serious problems.

How did WebAdviseSearch install on my computer?

Users often install WebAdviseSearch on browsers and operating systems through a fake Adobe Flash Player installer. Note that these installers can be used to distribute malicious software including ransomware, Trojan-type malware, etc.

Browser hijackers, adware-type apps, and other types of PUAs are commonly distributed by integrating them into the download and/or installation set-ups of other programs, so that a proportion of users inadvertently download and install them together with their chosen software.

This distribution method is known as "bundling". Offers to download and install additionally-included apps usually appear in "Advanced", "Custom" and other settings of the set-ups (where they can usually be declined). Many users fail to check and change these settings, thereby granting permission for PUAs to be downloaded and installed by default.

In addition, unwanted downloads and installations are sometimes caused by clicking deceptive advertisements capable of executing certain scripts.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications

You are advised to download files and programs from official websites and via direct download links. Other tools and sources such as third party downloaders and installers, unofficial pages, and Peer-to-Peer networks (e.g., eMule, torrent clients) should not be used to download or install software.

Check all "Custom", "Advanced" and other similar settings (or available checkboxes) for offers to download and/or install unwanted apps. Do not click ads on dubious websites, since they can be designed to open bogus web pages or cause unwanted downloads and installations.

Remove any unwanted, suspicious extensions, plug-ins and add-ons installed on the browser, and software of this kind from 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 WebAdviseSearch adware using Combo Cleaner:

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.

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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.

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