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How to uninstall the SearchWebAid adware from your operating system?

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

How to remove SearchWebAid adware from Mac?

What is SearchWebAid?

SearchWebAid is an adware-type application with browser hijacker traits. It is designed to deliver intrusive advertisement campaigns and make modifications to browser settings - in order to promote (cause redirects to) fake search engines. In addition, most adwares and browser hijackers spy on users' browsing activity and collect sensitive/personal data. It is highly likely that SearchWebAid has such data tracking abilities as well. Since users typically download/install SearchWebAid unintentionally, it is categorized as a PUA (Potentially Unwanted Application). This app has been observed being distributed via fake Adobe Flash Player updates. It is noteworthy that illegitimate software updaters/installers are also used to proliferate trojans, ransomware, cryptominers, and other malware.

SearchWebAid adware distributed via fake Flash Player updater/installer

Adware delivers pop-ups, surveys, banners, coupons, and other intrusive ads. This third-party graphical content can be displayed on any visited website and/or different interfaces. The delivered advertisements diminish the browsing quality by limiting webpage visibility and browsing speed. Furthermore, intrusive adverts pose a threat to device and user safety. They promote various sale-based, rogue, untrustworthy, deceptive/scam, and malicious sites. Some of these ads can be triggered (by being clicked) to execute scripts - to stealthily download/install software (e.g., PUAs).

Browser hijackers operate by assigning fake web searcher addresses as browsers' default search engine, homepage, and new tab/window URLs. Hence, 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 usually cannot generate search results, so they tend to redirect to (or cause redirection chains ending with) Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other legitimate ones. Browser hijackers can restrict/deny access to the browser settings and/or undo any permitted changes made. Therefore, recovering a hijacked browser is impossible without removing the software affecting it.

What is more, most PUAs (adware and browser hijackers included) have data tracking abilities. Targeted information includes: URLs visited, pages viewed, search queries typed, IP addresses/ geolocations, personally identifiable details, etc. The collected data is then monetized by being shared with and/or sold to third-parties, likewise intent on misusing it for financial gain. To summarize, the presence of unwanted apps on devices - can result in system infections, severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft. It is strongly recommended to remove all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins - to protect device integrity and user privacy.

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by SearchWebAid
Threat Type Adware, Mac malware, Mac virus
Detection Names Avast (MacOS:Adload-AD [Trj]), BitDefender (Adware.MAC.Generic.22083), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of OSX/TrojanDownloader.Adload.AD), 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.

PublicToolboxLookupExtendedFieldSearchForWords, and WebSearchUpgrade are some examples of adware-type applications. They appear ordinary and harmless, tempting users into download/installation with offers of "handy" functionalities. However, the features seldom work as promised, and in most cases - they do not work at all. In fact, this applies to nearly all PUAs. The only goal 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 gather private information.

How did SearchWebAid install on my computer?

PUAs are distributed through downloaders/installers of other software. This false marketing method of packing ordinary programs with unwanted or malicious additions - is called "bundling". Rushed download/installation processes (e.g., skipped steps and sections, used pre-set options, etc.) increase the risk of unintentionally allowing bundled content into the device, thereby endangering the system with potential infections. Once clicked on, intrusive ads can execute scripts to download/install PUAs without user permission. Some of these applications also have "official" promotional/download sites.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

It is advised to research software products prior to download/installation and/or purchase. Additionally, all downloads must be performed from official and verified sources. Untrustworthy download channels, e.g., unofficial and free file-hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, and other third-party downloaders - commonly offer harmful and bundled content. When downloading/installing, it is recommended to read terms, explore possible options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings, and opt-out from additional apps, tools, features, and so forth. Intrusive adverts appear legitimate; however, they redirect to various unreliable and dubious webpages (e.g., gambling, pornography, adult-dating, etc.). In case of encounters with advertisements and/or redirects of this type, 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 SearchWebAid, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate this adware.

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

  • ~/Library/Application Support/com.SearchWebAid/SearchWebAid
  • ~/Library/Application Support/com.SearchWebAidDaemon/SearchWebAid
  • ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.SearchWebAid.plist
  • ~/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.SearchWebAidDaemon.plist

IMPORTANT NOTE! Rogue setups/apps that promote SearchWebAid adware are designed to create a new device profile. Therefore, before taking any further removal steps, perform these actions:
1) Click the "Preferences" icon in the menu bar and select "Profiles"

Remove rogue profiles designed to promote SearchWebAid (Step 1)

2) Select the "SearchWebAid" profile and delete it.

Remove rogue profiles designed to promote SearchWebAid (Step 2)

3) Perform a full system scan with Combo Cleaner anti-virus suite.

After performing these actions, you can proceed with further removal steps for this adware.

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 SearchWebAid adware using Combo Cleaner:

SearchWebAid adware removal:

Remove SearchWebAid-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 searchwebaid 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 SearchWebAid removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove ads by searchwebaid 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 searchwebaid 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 searchwebaid 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 SearchWebAid 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 SearchWebAid on your mobile device.
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