How to uninstall the ApolloSearch adware from your operating system?

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

How to remove ApolloSearch adware from Mac?

What is ApolloSearch?

ApolloSearch is an adware-type application that has browser hijacker qualities. Following installation, it runs intrusive advertisement campaigns and makes alterations to browser settings - in order to promote fake search engines. Additionally, most adwares and browser hijackers have data tracking abilities, which are employed to spy on users' browsing activity. Hence, it is highly likely that ApolloSearch has such functionalities as well. Due to the dubious methods used to distribute this app, it is categorized as a PUA (Potentially Unwanted Application). ApolloSearch has been noted being proliferated via fake Adobe Flash updates. It is noteworthy that illegitimate software updaters spread not only PUAs but also trojans, ransomware, and other malware.

ApolloSearch adware detections on VirusTotal

Adware enables the placement of third party graphical content (e.g., pop-ups, banners, coupons, and other ads) - typically on any visited website. The delivered advertisements are more than just a nuisance; they pose a threat to device/user safety. Once clicked on, intrusive adverts redirect to various untrustworthy, misleading, compromised, deceptive/scam, and malicious sites. Some of these ads can be triggered (by being clicked on) to execute scripts designed to download/install software (e.g., PUAs) without user permission.

Browser hijackers reassign browsers' homepage, default search engine, and new tab/window URLs. With such a piece of software installed: every new browser tab/window opened and search query typed into the URL bar - redirect to the promoted address. Fake search engines are rarely able to generate search results, so they redirect to (or cause redirection chains ending with) Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other legitimate ones. Browser hijackers can also reset any changes users attempt to make to their browsers and/or restrict/deny access to the browser settings outright. Therefore, recovering a hijacked browser is impossible without eliminating the software affecting it.

Most PUAs (adware and browser hijackers included) can track data. They monitor browsing activity (URLs visited, pages viewed, search queries typed, etc.) and collect sensitive information extracted from it (IP addresses, geolocations, and even personally identifiable details). The gathered data is then shared with and/or sold to third parties (potentially, cyber criminals). In summary, presence of unwanted software on devices can lead to system infections, severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft. To ensure device integrity and user privacy, all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins must be removed immediately upon detection.

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by ApolloSearch
Threat Type Adware, Mac malware, Mac virus
Detection Names Avast (MacOS:Adload-AD [Trj]), BitDefender (Gen:Variant.Adware.MAC.AdLoad.7), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of OSX/TrojanDownloader.Adloa), Kaspersky (Not-a-virus:HEUR:AdWare.OSX.Cimpli.l), 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.

ExploreActivityVideoBoxAppSystemMonitor, and AnalyzerDivision are some examples of other apps within the adware category. They appear legitimate and harmless. Users are enticed into download/installation with promises of "useful" functions. However, the features are seldom operational. In fact, this is true of nearly all unwanted applications. Functionality and user safety are irrelevant since the only purpose of PUAs is to generate revenue for the developers. Instead of delivering on any promises, this software can run intrusive advertisement campaigns, hijack browsers, cause redirects, and collect private data.

How did ApolloSearch install on my computer?

PUAs are spread via download/installation setups of other programs. This false marketing technique of packing regular software with unwanted or malicious additions - is termed "bundling". Rushed download/installation processes (e.g., ignored terms, skipped steps and sections, etc.) increase the risk of inadvertently allowing bundled content into the system. Intrusive advertisements proliferate PUAs as well. Upon being clicked, the adverts can execute scripts to download/install these applications stealthily. Select PUAs have "official" promotional/download webpages.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

It is important to research software prior to download/installation and/or purchase. All downloads must be done from official sources. Untrustworthy download channels, 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 recommended to read terms, study all possible options, use the "Custom" or "Advanced" settings and opt-out from additional apps, tools, features, and so on. Intrusive advertisements appear legitimate; however, they redirect to unreliable and questionable sites (e.g., gambling, adult-dating, pornography, etc.). In case of encounters with ads and/or redirects of this kind, the system must be inspected and all suspect applications and browser extensions/plug-ins detected - immediately removed from it. If your computer is already infected with ApolloSearch, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate this adware.

Screenshots of the deceptive installer (fake Flash Player updater) used to distribute ApolloSearch adware;

First installation step:

Delusive installer used to promote ApolloSearch adware (step 1)

Second installation step:

Delusive installer used to promote ApolloSearch adware (step 2)

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

  • ~/Library/Application Support/.[random_string]/Services/com.ApolloSearch.service.app
  • ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.ApolloSearch.service.plist
  • /Library/Application Support/.[random_string]/System/com.ApolloSearch.system
  • /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.ApolloSearch.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 ApolloSearch adware using Combo Cleaner:

ApolloSearch adware removal:

Remove ApolloSearch-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 apollosearch 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 ApolloSearch removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove ads by apollosearch 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 apollosearch 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 apollosearch 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.

Click to post a comment

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.

Our malware removal guides are free. However, if you want to support us you can send us a donation.

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 ApolloSearch 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 ApolloSearch on your mobile device.
We Recommend:

Get rid of Mac malware infections today:

▼ REMOVE IT NOW
Download Combo Cleaner for Mac

Platform: macOS

Editors' Rating for Combo Cleaner:
Editors ratingOutstanding!

[Back to Top]

To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Combo Cleaner. Limited three days free trial available.