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How to remove the BrowserActivity unwanted app?

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

How to remove BrowserActivity from Mac?

What is BrowserActivity?

BrowserActivity's installer has an appearance of the installer for the Adobe Flash Player - this application is distributed using a fake installer. Typically, fake installers install unwanted software. In this case, a potentially unwanted application (PUA) that generates advertisements, changes the affected web browser's settings, and collects data. Apps that function like BrowserActivity are called adware and browser hijackers. It is worth mentioning that it is unlikely for apps like BrowserActivity to be downloaded and installed on purpose. That is why they are called potentially unwanted applications.

BrowserActivity adware

It is very common that advertisements generated by applications like BrowserActivity are used to advertise untrustworthy pages. In some cases, those ads are used to distribute unwanted applications - they can run scripts designed to download or even install apps. For these reasons, ads (e.g., banners, coupons, surveys, pop-up ads) that BrowserActivity displays should not be clicked. Another reason not to have BrowserActivity installed on a browser or the operating system is that it modifies the browser's settings - it hijacks a browser to promote a fake search engine (its address). Typically, apps like BrowserActivity hijack browsers by changing the address of a default search engine, homepage, and new tab to an address of a fake search engine. Fake search engines are not reliable - they can promote potentially malicious websites and include unwanted ads in their results. Although, many fake search engines show results generate by legitimate search engines (for example, Google, Yahoo, Bing). Usually, browser hijackers do not allow to make any changes to their settings. To remove the address of a fake search engine from settings, users need to uninstall a browser hijacker first.

As mentioned in the introduction paragraph, BrowserActivity collects data. Quite often, apps of this kind (PUAs) target browsing data (like IP addresses, addresses of visited pages, geolocations, entered search queries). However, many of them can read sensitive information (for example, credit card details, passwords). Therefore, their users might notice unauthorized purchases, transactions, lose access to personal accounts, encounter problems related to online privacy, browsing safety, become victims of identity theft, etc. For these reasons, it is highly advisable not to have any PUAs designed to gather various information installed on browsers or computers.

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by BrowserActivity
Threat Type Adware, Mac malware, Mac virus
Detection Names (.service) Avast (MacOS:Adload-AM [Trj]), AVG (MacOS:Adload-AM [Trj]), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of OSX/TrojanDownloader.Adload.AE), Ikarus (Trojan-Downloader.OSX.Adload), Full List (VirusTotal)
Detection Names (.system) Avast (MacOS:Adload-AM [Trj]), AVG (MacOS:Adload-AM [Trj]), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of OSX/TrojanDownloader.Adload.AE), Ikarus (Trojan-Downloader.OSX.Adload), 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.

In conclusion, BrowserActivity and similar apps are designed to promote fake search engines, serve advertisements and gather information. There are many apps like BrowserActivity. Some examples are GeneralObject, ExploreAnalog, and LeadingUpdater. Most of them are useless and get downloaded and installed by users unintentionally because they are distributed using deceptive methods. A couple of methods used to distribute PUAs are described below.

How did BrowserActivity install on my computer?

As mentioned in the first paragraph, BrowserActivity is distributed using a fake installer. More precisely, by using an installer that looks like the installer for Adobe Flash Player. It is important to know that fake installers can be malicious - they can be designed to install ransomware, trojans, or other malicious programs. It is also common for apps like BrowserActivity to be included in downloaders, installers for other programs as extra offers (to be bundled with other programs). Typically, users can decline unwanted offers in "Custom", "Advanced", "Manual", or other settings, or by unticking ticked checkboxes that those downloaders, installers have. When users finish downloads or installations without changing default settings that mention PUAs, they agree to download or install those PUAs as well. In some cases, users cause unexpected downloads, installations through deceptive advertisements. More precisely, by clicking ads that are capable of executing certain scripts.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

It is recommended not to finish downloads and installations without checking downloaders, installers for "Custom", "Advanced" or other settings, or ticked checkboxes. It is common that those settings can be used to decline unwanted offers/opt out bundled PUAs. Furthermore, it is recommended to download programs (and files) from official websites and using direct links. Files, programs downloaded via third-party downloaders, Peer-to-Peer networks (like torrent clients, eMule), unofficial pages, etc., or installed via third-party installers are not trustworthy. Additionally, it is recommended to avoid clicking advertisements on questionable sites (e.g., pages related to adult dating, pornography, gambling). Those ads are likely to be used to promote untrustworthy websites. In some cases, they can cause unwanted downloads, installations. Unknown or suspicious extensions, add-ons or plug-ins installed on a browser and programs of this kind installed on the operating system should be uninstalled. If your computer is already infected with BrowserActivity, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate this adware.

Text in a pop-up window displayed when BrowserActivity adware is present on the system:

"BrowserActivityd" will damage your computer.
 
This file was downloaded on an unknown date.
 
OK
Show in Finder

BrowserActivity's installer (first installation step):

Delusive installer used to promote BrowserActivity adware

BrowserActivity's installer (second installation step):

browseractivity adware installer step 2

BrowserActivity recognized as a threat on Virustotal:

browseractivity adware virustotal detections

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

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

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

BrowserActivity adware removal:

Remove BrowserActivity-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 browseractivity 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 BrowserActivity removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove ads by browseractivity 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 browseractivity 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 browseractivity 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 BrowserActivity 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 BrowserActivity on your mobile device.
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