FacebookTwitterLinkedIn

How to uninstall the SphinxLookup adware?

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

How to remove SphinxLookup adware from Mac?

What is SphinxLookup?

SphinxLookup is an adware-type app with browser hijacker qualities. It operates by running intrusive advertisement campaigns and promoting fake search engines through modifications to browser settings. Due to the dubious techniques used to distribute SphinxLookup, it is also classified as a PUA (Potentially Unwanted Application). It is worth noting that this app has been observed being proliferated via fake Adobe Flash Player updates. Furthermore, most PUAs have data tracking abilities, which are employed to spy on users' browsing activity. SphinxLookup adware likely has such functionalities as well.

SphinxLookup adware distributed via fake Flash Player updater/installer

Adware enables the placement of third-party graphical content on any visited website and/or different interfaces. This software can deliver pop-ups, banners, coupons, surveys, full-page, and other intrusive adverts. These ads seriously diminish the browsing experience by overlaying webpage content and slowing down the browsing speed. Intrusive advertisements are more than just a nuisance, they also pose a threat to device/user safety. Once clicked on, the ads redirect to untrustworthy/malicious websites, and some can download/install software (e.g., PUAs) without user consent.

Browser hijackers reassign browsers' homepage, new tab/window, default search engine URLs - to the addresses of fake web searchers. 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 provide search results, so they redirect (or cause redirection chains leading) to Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other legitimate ones. Browser hijackers can restrict/deny access to the browser settings and/or undo any permitted changes made. Therefore, restoring an affected browser is impossible without removing the software hijacking it.

Most PUAs (adware and browser hijackers included) can track data. Targeted information includes: URLs visited, webpages viewed, search queries typed, IP addresses/ geolocations, personally identifiable details, and so forth. The collected data is then monetized by being shared with and/or sold to third-parties (potentially, cyber criminals). In summary, the presence of unwanted software on devices can result in system infections, severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft. To protect device integrity and user privacy, all suspect applications and browser extensions/plug-ins must be eliminated immediately upon detection.

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by SphinxLookup
Threat Type Adware, Mac malware, Mac virus
Detection Names Avast (MacOS:Adload-AD [Trj]), Elastic (Malicious (high Confidence)), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of OSX/TrojanDownloader.Adload.AE), 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.

GeneralObjectExploreAnalog, and SearchWebMesh are a couple examples of apps within the adware classification. This software appears legitimate and harmless. Users are enticed into download/installation with offers of various "handy" features. However, the promised functions are seldom operational. In fact, this applies to practically all PUAs. The only aim of unwanted applications is to generate revenue for the developers; they have no real value for users. Instead of delivering on any promises, PUAs can run intrusive advertisement campaigns, hijack browsers, cause redirects, and collect private data.

How did SphinxLookup install on my computer?

PUAs can be downloaded/installed alongside other products. This deceptive marketing technique of packing regular software with unwanted or malicious additions - is called "bundling". Rushed download/installation processes (e.g., skipped steps and sections, etc.) increase the risk of unintentionally allowing bundled content into the system. Intrusive adverts are also used to spread PUAs. Once clicked on, the ads can execute scripts to download/install these applications stealthily. Some PUAs have "official" promotional/download webpages as well.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

It is recommended to research software products before download/installation and/or purchase. Additionally, all downloads must be done 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/or bundled content. When downloading/installing, it is advised to read terms, explore possible options, use the "Custom" or "Advanced" settings, and opt-out from additional apps, tools, features, and so on. Intrusive advertisements appear ordinary and innocuous; however, they redirect to highly 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 checked and all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins detected - immediately removed from it. If your computer is already infected with SphinxLookup, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate this adware.

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

  • ~/Library/Application Support/com.SphinxLookup/SphinxLookup
  • ~/Library/Application Support/com.SphinxLookupDaemon/SphinxLookup
  • ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.SphinxLookup.plist
  • ~/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.SphinxLookupDaemon.plist

IMPORTANT NOTE! Rogue setups/apps that promote SphinxLookup 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 SphinxLookup (Step 1)

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

Remove rogue profiles designed to promote SphinxLookup (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 SphinxLookup adware using Combo Cleaner:

SphinxLookup adware removal:

Remove SphinxLookup-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 sphinxlookup 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 SphinxLookup removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove ads by sphinxlookup 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 sphinxlookup 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 sphinxlookup 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.

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 SphinxLookup 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 SphinxLookup 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.