How to remove SkillApplication adware?

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

How to remove SkillApplication from Mac?

What is SkillApplication?

SkillApplication generates unwanted ads, changes browser settings and possibly collects browsing-related and/or other data. Therefore, this app is classified not only as adware but also as a browser hijacker. In most cases users download and install apps of this type unknowingly, therefore, SkillApplication is categorized as potentially unwanted application (PUA). It is worthwhile to mention that this app is distributed via fake Adobe Flash Player installer.

SkillApplication adware

Some examples of advertisements that apps like SkillApplication generate are banners, surveys, coupons, pop-up ads. It is common for those ads to be designed to promote shady websites or even cause unwanted downloads and/or installations by executing certain scripts. As mentioned in the introduction, SkillApplication functions as a browser hijacker: it changes browser settings such as the address of default search engine, homepage, and/or new tab to an address of a fake search engine. Typically, fake search engines either display results generated by some other search engine or they generate search results that could include links to untrustworthy pages. It is worthwhile to mention that users can remove unwanted address from browser settings only after uninstallation of the installed browser hijacker that promotes it.

Another issue with apps like SkillApplication is that they tend to be designed to gather browsing data like entered search queries, addresses of visited pages, geolocations, IP addresses. Quite often they are designed to collect sensitive information as well. Moreover, their developers could monetize collected data by selling to third parties (potentially cyber criminals) or misuse it to generate revenue in other ways. Therefore, when users have apps like SkillApplication installed on a browser and/or the operating system, they risk to become victims of identity theft, encounter issues related to online privacy, browsing safety, or other problems.

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by SkillApplication
Threat Type Adware, Mac malware, Mac virus
Detection Names Avast (MacOS:Agent-MT [Trj]), AVG (MacOS:Agent-MT [Trj]), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of OSX/TrojanDownloader.Adload.AE), Kaspersky (Not-a-virus:HEUR:AdWare.OSX.Cimpli.m), 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.

To sum up, it is common that even when adware-type apps (and browser hijackers) are advertised as legitimate, useful applications, they are useless to their users and can be the culprit of various issues. Usually their main purpose is to generate revenue for their developers. More adware examples are CompellingState, ActivityConfig and ActivePower.

How did SkillApplication install on my computer?

It is known that developers of the SkillApplication app use a fake Adobe Flash Player installer for its distribution. It is important to mention that fake installers can be used to distribute not only PUAs but also ransomware, Trojans, or malware of other type. Also, it is common for PUAs to be offered to be downloaded and/or installed together with other programs. This distribution method is known as "bundling". Users agree with unwanted offers when they download and/or install programs without changing "Advanced", "Custom", or other settings, or unticking certain checkboxes that are available in some download and/or installation setups. In some cases users unknowingly cause such downloads, or even installations by clicking ads that are designed to run certain scripts.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

It is advised to use only official pages and direct links as sources to download programs and files. Other sources, tools like torrent clients, eMule (and other Peer-to-Peer networks), third party downloaders, unofficial pages, etc., should not be used. Third party installers should not be used too. Also, it is recommended to check download and/or installation setups for "Advanced", "Custom" or other settings and see if they can be used to decline unwanted offers. Advertisements that appear on various shady websites should not be trusted (clicked) as well. Those ads could open untrustworthy sites, or even cause unwanted downloads, installations. Unwanted, suspicious applications (extensions, add-ons or plug-ins) that are installed on a browser should be removed. The same should be done with apps of this kind that are installed on the operating system. If your computer is already infected with SkillApplication, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate this adware.

Delusive application installer promoting SkillApplication adware (first installation step):

skillapplication adware installer step 1

Delusive application installer promoting SkillApplication adware (second installation step):

skillapplication adware installer step 2

Files related to the SkillApplication adware that need to be removed:

  • ~/Library/Application Support/.[random_string]/Services/com.SkillApplication.service.app
  • ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.SkillApplication.service.plist
  • /Library/Application Support/.[random_string]/System/com.SkillApplication.system
  • /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.SkillApplication.system.plist

IMPORTANT NOTE! In some cases malicious applications like OperativeMachine alter system proxy settings, thereby causing unwanted redirects to a variety of questionable websites.

The redirects are likely to remain even after removing the application itself. Thus, you'll have to restore them manually.

Step 1: Click on the gear icon in the Dock to navigate to the system settings. If the icon is not present in the Dock, you can find it in the Launchpad.

Changing proxy settings - navigate to the system settings

Step 2: Navigate to the Network settings.

Changing proxy settings - navigate to the network settings

Step 3: Select the connected network and click "Advanced...".

Changing proxy settings - select the connected network and click Advanced...

Step 4: Click on the "Proxies" tab and untick all the protocols. You should also set the settings of each protocol to default - "*.local, 169.254/16".

Changing proxy settings - untick all the options and set their settings to default

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 SkillApplication adware using Combo Cleaner:

SkillApplication adware removal:

Remove SkillApplication-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 skillapplication 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 SkillApplication removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove ads by skillapplication 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 skillapplication 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 skillapplication 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 SkillApplication 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 SkillApplication on your mobile device.
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