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How to uninstall Helper_update adware?

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

What is Helper_update?

Helper_update is advertising-supported software, an application that displays advertisements. Typically, apps of this type are promoted and distributed using deceptive methods, for example, through deceptive websites, fake installers.

Therefore, most users download and install them unknowingly, unintentionally. Apps that users install inadvertently are called potentially unwanted applications (PUAs).

It is known that Helper_update is distributed using a fake Adobe Flash Player installer. It is important to mention that this app may have characteristics of a browser hijacker - it may be designed to change web browser's settings to promote a fake search engine. Also, it may be designed to collect personal information.

Helper_update adware

Usually, applications like Helper_update generate revenue for their developers by serving pop-up ads, banners, surveys, coupons, and other advertisements on pages that users visit. What is worse, those ads are used to promote untrustworthy websites (e.g., scam websites, download pages for PUAs).

Also, those ads can be used to distribute unwanted software - if clicked, they could run certain scripts designed to download or even install unwanted apps. Therefore, it is highly advisable not to click on ads that apps like Helper_update generate.

As mentioned in the first paragraph, Helper_update is likely to function as a browser hijacker - it could be designed to change the browser's settings, such as the address of a default search engine, homepage, and new tab to an address of a fake search engine.

As a rule, fake search engines show results generated by other search engines like Yahoo, Google, etc. However, not all fake search engines do not generate their own results.

There are fake search engines designed to generate misleading results (promote shady pages) and display advertisements. Either way, it is recommended to use legitimate search engines to browse the web and avoid using questionable ones.

It is worth mentioning that browser hijackers do not allow to modify the affected settings. Therefore, users can stop a browser from opening a specific address (remove unwanted address promoted by installed PUA) only when that app is no longer installed on a browser or the operating system.

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by Helper_update
Threat Type Adware, Mac malware, Mac virus
Detection Names (helper_update) Full List (VirusTotal)
Detection Names (login_helper) Fortinet (Adware/Bundlore!OSX), Full List (VirusTotal)
Detection Names (module_init) Full List (VirusTotal)
Detection Names (patext) Avast (MacOS:Pirrit-BM [Adw]), BitDefender (Adware.MAC.Generic.21882), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of OSX/Adware.Pirrit.BM), Kaspersky (Not-a-virus:HEUR:AdWare.OSX.Pirrit.aa), Full List (VirusTotal)
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.

One more detail about apps like Helper_update is that they can be designed to gather various information, such as IP addresses, geolocations, entered search queries, URLs of visited pages, etc. It is important to mention that many adware-type apps can read sensitive information as well (for example, credit card details, passwords).

The bigger problem is that collected data may be sold to third parties (potentially cybercriminals), used to steal personal accounts, identities, make fraudulent purchases, transactions, and for other purposes. Therefore, it is strongly recommended not to trust (download and install) apps like Helper_update.

More examples of adware that targets macOS users are ElementarySignalSearch, MapperState, and SmartWebSearch.

How did Helper_update install on my computer?

Helper_update is distributed using a fake installer that looks like the installers for Adobe Flash Player. In most cases, fake installers are promoted on deceptive pages.

It is important to remember that third-party, unofficial installers can be designed to install ransomware, trojans, and other malware. Another popular way to trick users into downloading or installing potentially unwanted apps is to bundle them with other programs.

It is common that apps of this kind are included downloaders or installers for other programs as extra offers. Users can decline unwanted offers via "Advanced", "Custom", "Manual", or other settings, or by unticking certain checkboxes.

If users finish downloads and installations without changing those settings, they agree to download and install bundled applications together with wanted programs. One more deceptive method to distribute PUAs is to design advertisements to run certain scripts. If clicked, those ads start unexpected downloads, installations.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

It is recommended not to use third-party downloaders and installers, unofficial web pages, Peer-to-Peer networks (such as  torrent clients, eMule ,etc.) neither to download or install any files or programs. Files downloaded via the aforementioned sources, channels can be malicious or designed to install PUAs.

Therefore, they should be downloaded from official websites and through direct links. Also, it is important to check downloaders and installers for "Custom", "Advanced," and other similar settings before finishing downloads or installations.

It is common that downloaders, installers with the aforementioned settings include unwanted offers. One more way to avoid unwanted downloads, installations is not to click advertisements that various shady pages have on them.

Those ads can be designed to open various untrustworthy websites or cause unwanted downloads or installations. Unwanted, unknown or suspicious extensions, add-ons, or plug-ins installed on a browser should be uninstalled.

The same should be done with programs of this kind installed on the operating system. If your computer is already infected with Helper_update, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate this adware.

Installer used to distribute Helper_update adware (first installation step):

helper update adware installer 1

Installer used to distribute Helper_update adware (second installation step):

helper update adware installer 2

Installer used to distribute Helper_update adware (third installation step):

helper update adware installer 3

List of Helper_update's files that need to be removed:

  • ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.patext.plist
  • ~/.zsh/misc/helper_update
  • ~/.zsh/misc/login_helper
  • ~/.zsh/misc/module_init
  • /Users/[username]/Library/patext/patext

IMPORTANT NOTE! Helper_update adds itself to the list of applications that automatically run upon each user log in. Therefore, before commencing, perform these steps:

  • Go to System Preferences -> Users & Groups.
  • Click your account (also know as Current User).
  • Click Login Items.
  • Look for "Helper_update" entry. Select it, and click the "-" button to remove it.

Remove Helper_update PUA from the Login Items

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 adware and browser hijackers from a Mac computer:

Helper_update adware removal:

Remove Helper_update-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 helper_update 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 Helper_update removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

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