How to remove the PublicFraction adware from a browser and computer?

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

How to remove PublicFraction from Mac?

What is PublicFraction?

PublicFraction is designed to serve advertisements, promote a couple of fake search engines by modifying certain browser settings and collect sensitive information. This app functions as adware, browser hijacker and data collector. It is known that there is at least one fake installer for Adobe Flash Player that is used to distribute the PublicFraction app. As a rule, users download and install apps that are distributed this way unknowingly. Therefore, PublicFraction is categorized as potentially unwanted application (PUA).

PublicFraction adware

In most cases apps like PublicFraction serve banners, coupons, surveys, pop-ups and/or ads of other types. It is worthwhile to mention that when clicked, those ads tend to open various questionable pages. Sometimes they cause unwanted downloads and/or installations by running certain scripts. Furthermore, PublicFraction is designed to modify browser's settings. If installed on Google Chrome, it changes the address of a default search engine, homepage and/or new tab to search.basicgeneration.com. If installed on Safari - it changes those settings to 6v5f3l.com. Both of these addresses are designed to provide search results generated by Yahoo (redirect users to search.yahoo.com). They are fake search engines that do not generate any unique results. Typically, address of a fake search engine can be removed from browser's settings only when the app that modified them is no longer installed. One more important detail about the PublicFraction app is that it can read sensitive information from browsers, such as credit card details, passwords, telephone numbers (and some other data). Such information can be misused to steal personal accounts, identities, make fraudulent purchases, transactions, and/or for other malicious purposes.

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by PublicFraction
Threat Type Adware, Mac malware, Mac virus
Detection Names Avast (MacOS:Adload-AG [Adw]), AVG (MacOS:Adload-AG [Adw]), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of OSX/Adware.Synataeb.F), 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.
▼ 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.

PublicFraction is virtually identical to many other apps of this type, for example, PracticalConfig, ConsumerSurvey, InputBalance. Typically, apps that are classified as adware are designed to serve various advertisements. Although, they can be designed to gather various information and hijack browsers as well, like the PublicFraction does. Either way, such apps should never be installed, most of them are useless and can be the culprit of various issues.

How did PublicFraction install on my computer?

As mentioned in the first paragraph, PublicFraction is distributed by disguising its installer as the installer for Adobe Flash Player. It is worthwhile to mention that fake installers can be used to trick users into installing malware (e.g., ransomware, Trojans) as well. Also, quite often potentially unwanted applications are distributed by including them in download and/or installation setups of other programs as additional offers. This distribution method for PUAs is known as "bundling". In most cases offers to download and/or install integrated apps can be declined before completing download and/or installation process. It can be done via "Advanced", "Custom" (or other settings) or by unticking certain checkboxes that are available in setups. When users download and/or install programs that have PUAs included in their setups without making changes using the aforementioned settings, they download and/or install those PUAs as well. Sometimes users unknowingly cause unwanted downloads and/or installations by clicking deceptive advertisements that are designed to execute certain scripts.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

It is advised not to use Peer-to-Peer networks (such as eMule, torrent clients, etc.), unofficial websites, third party downloaders, installers, etc., neither to download or install ay software, files. They should be downloaded from official pages and via direct links. Also, it is recommended to check download or installation setups that have settings like "Advanced", "Manual, "Custom" (or include certain checkboxes) for offers to download and/or install unwanted apps before completing download and/or installation processes. Additionally, it is advised not to trust (click) advertisements that are displayed on unreliable pages - quite often such ads are designed to open pages that are not trustworthy. Also, sometimes they can be designed to cause unwanted downloads, installations. If there are any unwanted, suspicious or unknown extensions, add-ons or plug-ins installed on a browser, then they should be removed. The same applies to software of this kind that is installed on the operating system. If your computer is already infected with PublicFraction, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate this adware.

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

publicfraction adware search.basicgeneration.com redirects to yahoo.com

6v5f3l.com redirects to search.yahoo.com (GIF): 

publicfraction adware 6v5f3l.com redirects to search.yahoo.com

Fake installer used to trick users into installing PublicFraction:

fake installer used to distribute publicfraction adware

Pop-up displayed once PublicFraction installation is done:

publicfraction adware pop-up displayed once installation is over

PublicFraction installed on Safari:

publicfraction adware installed on safari

PublicFraction's Contents folder:

publicfraction 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 PublicFraction adware using Combo Cleaner:

PublicFraction adware removal:

Remove PublicFraction-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 publicfraction 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 PublicFraction removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove ads by publicfraction 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 publicfraction 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 publicfraction 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.

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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 PublicFraction 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 PublicFraction on your mobile device.
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