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How to remove FormatBoost adware and the ads it delivers?

Also Known As: Ads by FormatBoost
Type: Mac Virus
Damage level: Medium

What is FormatBoost?

FormatBoost is a piece of untrustworthy software that operates by running intrusive advertisement campaigns and promoting fake search engines by making changes to browser settings. Due to this, FormatBoost is classified as adware and is deemed to have browser hijacker qualities.

Since most users download/install this app inadvertently, it is also categorized as a PUA (Potentially Unwanted Application). These apps typically collect browsing-related information as well. FormatBoost has been observed being distributed via fake Adobe Flash Player updates.

It is noteworthy that illegitimate software updaters/installers are sometimes used to proliferate trojans, ransomware, and other malware.

Pop-up displayed when FormatBoost adware is present

Adware delivers pop-ups, surveys, banners, coupons, and other intrusive ads. The delivered adverts diminish the browsing experience by overlaying webpage content and limiting the browsing speed. However, these advertisements are more than just a nuisance.

Once clicked on, intrusive ads redirect to various unreliable/malicious websites and some can stealthily download/install software (e.g., PUAs). Hence, adware poses a threat to device and user safety. Browser hijackers assign fake web searcher addresses as browsers' default search engine, homepage, and new tab/window URLs.

Therefore, with such a piece of software installed: new browser tabs/windows opened and web searches done via the URL bar - redirect to the promoted address. Fake search engines are seldom able to generate search results, so they redirect to (or cause redirection chains ending with) Yahoo, Bing, Google, and other legitimate ones.

Additionally, browser hijackers can undo any changes users attempt to make to their browsers and/or restrict/deny access to the browser's setting outright. This makes recovering a hijacked browser impossible - without removing the software affecting it. Furthermore, most PUAs (adware and browser hijackers included) have data tracking abilities.

They record browsing activity (visited URLs, viewed pages, searched queries, etc.) and gather sensitive information extracted from it (IP addresses, geolocations, and even personally identifiable 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 software on devices - can result in system infections, severe privacy issues, financial losses, and identity theft. To ensure device integrity and user privacy, all dubious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins must be eliminated without delay.

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by FormatBoost
Threat Type Adware, Mac malware, Mac virus
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 seven days free trial available. Combo Cleaner is owned and operated by Rcs Lt, the parent company of PCRisk.com read more.

OperativeUnit, TechnologyMain, SkilledPanelSearch, and ManagerAnalog are some examples of adware. It appears ordinary and innocuous, and offers a broad range of "useful" functionalities. However, the promised functions seldom work as advertised, and in most cases - they are utterly nonoperational.

This is true of nearly all PUAs. The sole purpose of unwanted apps is to generate profit for the developers. Therefore, instead of delivering on any promises, PUAs can run intrusive advert campaigns, cause redirects, hijack browsers, and collect private data.

How did FormatBoost 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 called "bundling".

Rushed download/installation processes (e.g., skipped steps, used pre-set options, etc.) increase the risk of unintentionally allowing bundled content into the device, thereby endangering the system with potential infections. Intrusive advertisements also proliferate PUAs.

Upon being clicked, the ads can execute scripts to download/install these applications without user permission. Select PUAs have "official" download webpages as well.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

It is important to research products before download/installation and/or purchase. Additionally, only official and verified download channels must be used. Since untrustworthy sources, e.g., unofficial and free file-hosting websites, P2P sharing networks (Torrent clients, eMule, Gnutella, etc.), and other third-party downloaders - often offer bundled content.

Download and installation processes must be approached with care. Therefore, it is recommended to read terms, study all possible options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings, and opt-out from supplementary apps, tools, features, and other additions.

Intrusive adverts appear legitimate and harmless; however, they redirect to various questionable sites (e.g., adult-dating, pornography, gambling, etc.). In case of encounters with ads and/or redirects of this type, the system must be checked and all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins detected - immediately removed from it.

If your computer is already infected with FormatBoost, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate this adware.

Text presented in the pop-up displayed when FormatBoost adware is present:

"FormatBoostd" will damage your computer.

 

This file was downloaded on an unknown date.

 

OK

Show in Finder

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

First installation step:

Delusive installer used to promote FormatBoost adware (step 1)

Second installation step:

Delusive installer used to promote FormatBoost adware (step 2)

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

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

IMPORTANT NOTE! In some cases malicious applications like FormatBoost 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 seven days free trial available. Combo Cleaner is owned and operated by Rcs Lt, the parent company of PCRisk.com read more.

Quick menu:

Video showing how to remove FormatBoost adware using Combo Cleaner:

FormatBoost adware removal:

Remove FormatBoost-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 formatboost 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 FormatBoost removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove ads by formatboost 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 formatboost 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 formatboost 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 FormatBoost QR code
Scan this QR code to have an easy access removal guide of Ads by FormatBoost on your mobile device.
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