How to uninstall SearchUp adware from your operating system?

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

How to remove SearchUp adware from Mac?

What is SearchUp?

SearchUp is an rogue application, belonging to the Pirrit adware family. Following successful infiltration, it runs intrusive advertisement campaigns. In other words, this app delivers various misleading and possibly dangerous ads. SearchUp has data tracking abilities that are used to collect system/personal information. Additionally, many examples of such software have browser hijacker traits and it is not unlikely that SearchUp does as well. Due to the dubious techniques used to distribute this adware, it is also classified as a PUA (Potentially Unwanted Application).

SearchUp adware detections on VirusTotal

Adware enables the placement of pop-ups, banners, coupons, surveys and other intrusive advertisements - typically, on any visited website. The delivered ads severely cripple the browsing experience, as they overlay webpage content and slow down the browsing speed. Furthermore, these adverts pose a threat to device/user safety. Since upon being clicked, intrusive advertisements redirect to various unreliable/malicious sites and some can even stealthily download/install software (e.g. PUAs). SearchUp might cause redirects to various questionable websites, as some adware-types operate in this manner. They can force-open harmful sites and/or modify browser settings in order to promote fake search engines. Applications that cause redirects to fake web searchers are categorized as browser hijackers. With such a piece of software installed: every new tab/window opened and search query typed into the URL bar - redirect to the address of the promoted search engine. In addition, illegitimate search engines are rarely able to provide search results, so they tend to redirect to Google, Bing, Yahoo and other genuine ones. As mentioned in the introduction, SearchUp can track data. It monitors and collects information relating to the infiltrated system, users' browsing activity and their personally identifiable details. PUA developers monetize such information by sharing it with and/or selling it to third parties (potentially, cyber criminals). In summary, presence of unwanted software on devices can result in system infections, serious privacy issues, financial losses and even identity theft. To ensure device integrity and user safety, all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins must be removed immediately upon detection.

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by SearchUp
Threat Type Adware, Mac malware, Mac virus
Detection Names Avast (MacOS:Pirrit-CB [Adw]), BitDefender (Adware.MAC.Pirrit.KN), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of OSX/Adware.Pirrit.BM), Kaspersky (Not-a-virus:HEUR:AdWare.OSX.Pirrit.ac), Full List (VirusTotal)
Rogue Process Name SearchUp1, SearchUp2, SearchUp3, SearchUp4, SearchUp5, etc.
Additional Information This application belongs to Pirrit 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.

InitialSkillGeneralChannelSearchGuideRecord and CleanParameter are some examples of other adware-type apps. They appear legitimate and harmless. Users are lured into download/installation with offers of a variety of "useful" functionalities. However, these functions seldom work as advertised and in most cases - they do not work at all. In fact, this is true of practically all PUAs. The only goal of unwanted software is to generate revenue for the developers; hence, functionality and user safety are irrelevant. PUAs are designed to run intrusive advert campaigns, force-open untrustworthy and malicious websites, hijack browsers, collect sensitive and private information.

How did SearchUp install on my computer?

PUAs are distributed via download/installation setups of other products. This false marketing method of packing regular software with unwanted or malicious additions - is called "bundling". Rushed download/installation processes (e.g. ignored terms, skipped steps and sections, used pre-set options, etc.) increase the risk of unintentionally allowing bundled content into the system. PUAs can also have "official" download webpages. Once clicked on, intrusive adverts can execute scripts to download/install these applications without user consent.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

It is recommended to research products prior to download/installation and/or purchase. Only official and verified download channels should be used. Since untrustworthy sources, e.g. unofficial and free file-hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks and other third party downloaders - commonly offer deceptive and/or bundled content. When downloading/installing, it is advised to read terms, study all possible options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings and opt-out from supplementary apps, tools, functions and other additions. Intrusive advertisements appear ordinary, however they redirect to dubious and unreliable sites (e.g. adult-dating, gambling, pornography, etc.). In case of encounters with such ads and/or redirects, the system must be checked and all suspect applications and browser extensions/plug-ins detected - immediately removed from it. If your computer is already infected with SearchUp, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate this adware.

SearchUp adware asking to be permitted full disk access:

SearchUp adware asking permission for full disk access

SearchUp adware drops its files into these folders:

  • ~/Library/LaunchAgents
  • /Library/LaunchDaemons
  • /Library/LaunchAgents

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

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

Remove rogue profiles designed to promote SearchUp (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.

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:

SearchUp adware removal:

Remove SearchUp-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 searchup 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 SearchUp removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove ads by searchup 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 searchup 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 searchup 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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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 SearchUp 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 SearchUp on your mobile device.
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