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How to uninstall the DefaultUpgrade adware?

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

What is DefaultUpgrade?

DefaultUpgrade is a potentially unwanted application (PUA) that generates unwanted advertisements and promotes a fake search engine (forces its users to visit a specific address). This app has characteristics of advertising-supported software and a browser hijacker.

DefaultUpgrade is a PUA because users rarely download and install apps of this type intentionally. It is worth mentioning that adware-type apps (and browser hijackers) are often designed to gather browsing data and (or) other information. In one way or another, DefaultUpgrade and similar apps cannot be trusted.

DefaultUpgrade adware

It is common for advertisements (e.g., pop-up ads, banners, surveys, coupons) generated by apps like DefaultUpgrade and other adware to be used to promote questionable, potentially malicious pages (e.g., pages like "Your MAC Has Been Blocked Due To Suspicious Activity!" and "Apple Platform Security"), potentially unwanted applications, etc.

Also, those ads can be used to trick users into downloading or installing unwanted software by designing them to run certain scripts: if clicked, those ads may start downloading or even installing some PUAs. Therefore, it is highly advisable not to click ads generated by apps like DefaultUpgrade.

Furthermore, DefaultUpgrade promotes a fake search engine by hijacking a browser (changing its settings). Typically, browser hijackers change settings such as the address of a default search engine, homepage, and new tab - they change them to an address of some fake search engine.

It is important to mention that fake search engines can be designed to promote untrustworthy pages (include their addresses in search results). Typically, addresses promoted by browser hijackers can be removed from the settings of hijacked browsers when those apps are no longer installed.

In other words, it is common that apps of this type are designed to keep their settings unchangeable as long as they are installed. Moreover, it is likely that DefaultUpgrade is designed to collect browsing data (e.g., IP addresses, entered search queries, URLs of visited websites, geolocations), or even sensitive information (e.g., passwords, credit card details).

Information gathered by potentially unwanted applications like DefaultUpgrade is often used for marketing purposes, to steal accounts, identities, make unauthorized purchases, transactions, etc. Of course, it depends on what data these apps can access. Either way, it is strongly recommended not to trust apps like DefaultUpgrade and remove any installed adware-type apps or browser hijackers as soon as possible.

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by DefaultUpgrade
Threat Type Adware, Mac malware, Mac virus
Detection Names Avast (MacOS:AdAgent-L [Adw]), AVG (MacOS:AdAgent-L [Adw]), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of OSX/Adware.Synataeb.D), Kaspersky (Not-a-virus:HEUR:AdWare.OSX.Adload.j), 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.

To summarize, potentially unwanted applications like DefaultUpgrade are monetized by designing them to generate advertisements, collect information and (or) promote questionable, potentially malicious pages, fake search engines.

Most of them are completely useless to their users and can be the culprit of problems like identity theft, monetary loss, issues related to online privacy, web browsing safety, etc. More adware examples are LocalTech, FileDisplay, and Helper_update.

How did DefaultUpgrade install on my computer?

Various potentially unwanted applications can often be found in downloaders, installers for other programs as additional offers. This distribution method is known as "bundling".

Users agree to download or install PUAs together with other programs (through their downloaders or installers) when they finish downloads or installations without changing certain settings. Typically, downloaders and installers that are used to distribute PUAs have "Advanced", "Manual", "Custom" or other settings/options, or ticked checkboxes.

Users can use those settings to choose not to download or install potentially unwanted applications. In some cases, PUAs are distributed via deceptive advertisements by designing them to execute certain scripts. Users cause unwanted downloads, installations by clicking those ads.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

It is not recommended to download or install any applications through third-party downloaders, installers, Peer-to-Peer networks like eMule, torrent clients, questionable websites, and other sources of this kind. It is common for those sources to be used to distribute unwanted, potentially malicious apps, files.

Therefore, it is recommended to use trustworthy (official) pages and direct links to download apps, files. Downloaders and installers with settings like "Custom", "Advanced" or ticked checkboxes should be checked included potentially unwanted apps.

It is common for those downloaders, installers to include additional offers. Advertisements on questionable tend to be designed to promote other untrustworthy websites. Sometimes, those ads can cause unwanted downloads or even installations.

Therefore, those ads should not be trusted (clicked). Any suspicious, unwanted extensions, add-ons, or plug-ins installed on a browser should be removed. The same should be applied to programs of this kind installed on the operating system.

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

Pop-up window that appears after installation of the DefaultUpgrade application:

defaultupgrade adware pop-up displayed once installation is done

DefaultUpgrade's Contents folder:

defaultupgrade adware contents folder

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 adware and browser hijackers from a Mac computer:

DefaultUpgrade adware removal:

Remove DefaultUpgrade-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 defaultupgrade 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 DefaultUpgrade removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove ads by defaultupgrade 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 defaultupgrade 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 defaultupgrade 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 DefaultUpgrade QR code
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