How to remove ExploreActivity adware?

Also Known As: Ads by ExploreActivity
Type: Mac Virus
Distribution: Moderate
Damage level: Medium

How to remove ExploreActivity from Mac?

What is ExploreActivity?

ExploreActivity is the name of an app that is called a potentially unwanted application (PUA) because of the method used for its distribution: this app is distributed using a fake installer for Adobe Flash Player. As a rule, users do not download and install apps like ExploreActivity knowingly. The main purposes of ExploreActivity are to generate ads and promote a fake search engine (it functions both as adware and a browser hijacker). Moreover, it is very likely that this app is designed to collect information about its users.

ExploreActivity adware

ExploreActivity is a type of software that displays unwanted advertisements such as pop-up ads, coupons, banners, surveys or other ads. It is common that those ads are used to promote questionable pages (e.g., download pages for various PUAs). Sometimes they are used to distribute unwanted software: if clicked, those ads download or even install some PUA. Furthermore, this potentially unwanted app changes the browser's settings to promote a fake search engine. Usually, browser hijackers promote fake search engines by modifying settings such as the address of a homepage, new tab, and default search engine. The main purpose of browser hijackers is to force users to visit certain addresses when they open a hijacked browser, new tab, or enter search queries into its URL bar. Typically, apps of this type force users to use a search engine that does not generate its own results/it shows results generated by Yahoo, Google, or another search engine, or it generates misleading results, shows ads. Either way, fake search engines cannot be trusted. Typically, to remove its address from the browser's settings, it is necessary to remove the browser hijacker first.

As mentioned in the introduction, it is possible that ExploreActivity collects some information. It is common for apps like ExploreActivity to target Internet Protocol addresses, addresses of visited web pages, entered search queries, geolocations, or other browsing data. Nevertheless, some adware, browser hijackers are capable of accessing sensitive information, for example, credit card details, passwords saved on a browser, and other personal data. There is always a chance that collected information could be misused for marketing purposes or monetized in other ways, for example, it could be sold to third parties (potentially cybercriminals). Either way, adware-type apps and browser hijackers are not the types of apps that are trustworthy. Therefore, ExploreActivity or any other PUAs should not be installed on browsers or computers.

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by ExploreActivity
Threat Type Adware, Mac malware, Mac virus
Detection Names Avast (MacOS:Agent-MT [Trj]), BitDefender (Adware.MAC.Generic.20044), 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.

There are many apps like ExploreActivity. Some examples are OriginalModule, UpdaterSync, and ProcessBrand. Typically, they are completely useless to their users. Such apps generate revenue for their developers by displaying ads, forcing users to visit specific addresses, and gathering various data. Also, such apps can slow down computers, make other apps to crash, slow down Internet speed, and cause other problems. If there is an app like ExploreActivity installed on a browser or the operating system, then it should be removed from it immediately.

How did ExploreActivity install on my computer?

It is known that the ExploreActivity app is distributed through a fake Adobe Flash Player installer. It is important to know that fake installers can be used to distribute malware, for example, ransomware, Trojans, and other types of malware. Also, PUAs often are distributed by including them in downloaders, installers other software as extra offers. In other words, PUAs often come bundled together with other programs. Users download, install unwanted apps when they do not opt them out. Usually, it can be done by using checkboxes or settings such as "Manual", "Custom", "Advanced" that those downloaders, installers have. Sometimes users download, install unwanted apps by clicking deceptive advertisements: by clicking ads that are capable of running certain scripts.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

Files, applications should be downloaded from official sites and via direct links only. Other sources for downloading files, programs such as unofficial pages, third party downloaders, Peer-to-Peer networks like torrent clients, eMule, and so on, should not be used. Third party installers should not be used too. Also, it is advisable not to finish downloads, installations without making sure that downloaders, installers do not have any unwanted offers in them. One more way to avoid unwanted downloads, installations is not to click on ads that appear on questionable pages. Most of those ads are used to either to promote shady pages or distribute (download or install) unwanted apps. Additionally, it is advisable not to have any unknown, unwanted or suspicious extensions, plug-ins or add-ons installed on a browser, or apps of this kind installed on the operating system. If your computer is already infected with ExploreActivity, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate this adware.

Fake Adobe Flash Player installer used to distribute ExploreActivity (first installation step):

exploreactivity adware installer step 1

Fake Adobe Flash Player installer used to distribute ExploreActivity (second installation step):

exploreactivity adware installer step 2

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

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

IMPORTANT NOTE! In some cases malicious applications like OriginalModule 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 ExploreActivity adware using Combo Cleaner:

ExploreActivity adware removal:

Remove ExploreActivity-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 exploreactivity 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 ExploreActivity removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove ads by exploreactivity 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 exploreactivity 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 exploreactivity 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 ExploreActivity 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 ExploreActivity on your mobile device.
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