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How to remove OperativeUnit adware and the ads it delivers?

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

How to remove OperativeUnit adware from Mac?

What is OperativeUnit?

OperativeUnit is an adware-type app with browser hijacker qualities. Hence, it delivers intrusive advertisement campaigns and promotes fake search engines by modifying browsers. Additionally, most adwares and browser hijackers collect browsing-related information; and this application likely has such data tracking abilities. Due to the questionable tactics used to distribute OperativeUnit, it is classified as a PUA (Potentially Unwanted Application) as well. One of the dubious techniques used to spread OperativeUnit is proliferation via fake Adobe Flash Player updaters/installers.

OperativeUnit adware detections on VirusTotal

Adware delivers pop-ups, banners, coupons, surveys, and other intrusive advertisements. They are misleading, deceptive, and may even be malicious. The ads diminish the browsing quality by overlaying page content and slowing down the browsing speed. Furthermore, upon being clicked, intrusive adverts redirect to untrustworthy/malicious websites and some can execute scripts to stealthily download/install software (e.g., PUAs).

Browser hijackers assign the addresses of fake web searchers as browsers' homepage, default search engine, and new tab/window URLs. With a browser hijacker installed, every new browser tab/window opened and search query typed into the URL bar - redirect to the promoted search engine's address. Illegitimate web searchers are rarely able to provide search results, so they tend to redirect (or cause redirection chains leading) to Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other genuine search engines. Browser hijackers can also undo any changes users try to make to their browsers and/or restrict/deny access to the browser settings outright. Therefore, recovering an affected browser is impossible without removing the software hijacking it.

What is more, most PUAs (adware and browser hijackers included) can track data. They monitor browsing activity (URLs visited, pages viewed, search queries typed, etc.) and gather personal information inferred from it (IP addresses, geolocations, and other sensitive details). The collected data is then monetized by being shared with and/or sold to third-parties (potentially, cyber criminals). In summary, presence of unwanted apps on devices can result in system infections, financial losses, severe privacy issues, and identity theft. To protect device/user safety, it is highly recommended to eliminate all suspect applications and browser extensions/plug-ins - immediately upon detection.

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by OperativeUnit
Threat Type Adware, Mac malware, Mac virus
Detection Names Avast (MacOS:Agent-MT [Trj]), BitDefender (Adware.MAC.Generic.20162), 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.

AdvancedSprint, ValidMemory, RecordMapper, and ExtendedSprint are some examples of applications within the adware category. They appear ordinary and harmless. Users are enticed into download/installation with offers of various "handy" functionalities. However, the advertised features are seldom operational. In fact, this is true of nearly all PUAs. The only purpose of unwanted software is to generate revenue for the developers. Therefore, instead of delivering on any promises, PUAs can run intrusive advert campaigns, hijack browsers, cause redirects, and collect private data.

How did OperativeUnit install on my computer?

PUAs are distributed through download/installation setups of other products. This false marketing method of packing regular software with unwanted or malicious additions - is termed "bundling". Rushed download/installation processes (e.g., ignored terms, used pre-set options, etc.) increase the risk of inadvertently allowing bundled content into the device. Intrusive advertisements are employed to spread PUAs as well. Upon being clicked, the ads can execute scripts to download/install these applications without user permission. Select PUAs also have "official" download webpages.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

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

Pop-up window displayed when OperativeUnit adware is installed:

OperativeUnit adware presence indicating pop-up

Text presented in this pop-up:

"OperativeUnitd" will damage your computer.

 

This file was downloaded on an unknown date.

 

OK

Show in Finder

Delusive installer (fake Flash Player updater) promoting OperativeUnit adware;

First installation step:

Delusive installer used to promote OperativeUnit adware (step 1)

Second installation step:

Delusive installer used to promote OperativeUnit adware (step 2)

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

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

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

OperativeUnit adware removal:

Remove OperativeUnit-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 operativeunit 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 OperativeUnit removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove ads by operativeunit 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 operativeunit 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 operativeunit 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 OperativeUnit 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 OperativeUnit on your mobile device.
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