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How to remove the LeadingChannelSearch adware?

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

What is LeadingChannelSearch adware?

LeadingChannelSearch is a potentially unwanted application (PUA) designed to display advertisements and force users to use a fake search engine by modifying a web browser's settings. This PUA functions as a browser hijacker and adware. It is known that LeadingChannelSearch is distributed using a fake installer.

LeadingChannelSearch adware

LeadingChannelSearch adware in detail

LeadingChannelSearch displays advertisements designed to open questionable websites (for example, scam websites, download pages for other PUAs). It could generate advertisements designed to download or install unwanted applications as well. Usually, apps like LeadingChannelSearch display pop-up ads, banners, coupons, surveys, etc.

Also, LeadingChannelSearch changes web browser's settings such as the address of a default search engine, homepage, and new tab. It changes them to an address of a fake search engine and prevents users from removing that address from the settings as mentioned above - it forces users to visit and use a fake search engine (once they open a browser, new tab, etc.).

It is important to mention that fake search engines can show misleading results or show results generated by other questionable search engines. Also, they can display advertisements alongside their search results. In one way or another, it is strongly recommended not to use fake search engines. It is safest to use Google, Yahoo and other legitimate search engines.

It is likely that LeadingChannelSearch collects information about its users as well, for example, their IP addresses, visited websites, entered search queries. Moreover, it could be capable of reading and collecting passwords, credit card details, email addresses, and other information. These are the main reasons not to have LeadingChannelSearch installed.

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by LeadingChannelSearch
Threat Type Adware, Mac malware, Mac virus
Detection Names Avast (MacOS:Adload-AD [Trj]), AVG (MacOS:Adload-AD [Trj]), 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.

LeadingChannelSearch adware in general

This app displays ads and promotes a fake search engine. There is a high possibility that it collects various data as well. As a rule, users download and install applications like LeadingChannelSearch unknowingly because most of them are distributed using deceptive methods. More adware examples are AccessibleEngineSearch, MultiplySearch and SwitcherGuard.

How did LeadingChannelSearch install on my computer?

To trick users into installing LeadingChannelSearch, its developers use a fake installer that looks like the installer for Adobe Flash Player. Usually, fake installers are promoted on deceptive websites. It is important to mention that fake installers can be designed to infect computers with ransomware, Trojans, and other malicious software.

It is also common for PUAs to be distributed via downloaders and installers for free programs. This distribution method is known as "bundling". Users download or install PUAs together with other programs when they do not change "Advanced", "Custom", "Manual" or other settings that their downloaders or installers have.

Sometimes users unintentionally download or install potentially unwanted applications by clicking advertisements while visiting untrustworthy, potentially malicious web pages. Some advertisements can cause unexpected downloads or installations by running certain scripts.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

Applications and files should be downloaded from legitimate, official pages. It is not safe to open files downloaded from unofficial pages, third-party downloaders, Peer-to-Peer networks like torrent clients, eMule. Those files can be designed to install unwanted software or infect computers. Third-party installers can be malicious too.

Furthermore, it is recommended not to finish downloads and installations without checking downloaders and installers for bundled applications. Usually, optional offers can be deselected via "Custom", "Advanced", "Manual" or other settings, or by unticking ticked checkboxes. It is worth mentioning that most PUAs are distributed with freeware.

Advertisements on untrustworthy websites (for example, on pages related to pornography, gambling, adult dating) should not be clicked. Pretty often, those ads are designed to open various untrustworthy, potentially malicious websites. Sometimes they can be designed to download or install potentially malicious apps.

Unwanted, suspicious applications (for example, extensions, plug-ins or add-ons) installed on a web browser and programs of this kind installed on a computer should be removed as soon as possible. If your computer is already infected with LeadingChannelSearch, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate this adware.

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

  • ~/Library/Application Support/com.LeadingChannelSearch/LeadingChannelSearch
  • ~/Library/Application Support/com.LeadingChannelSearchDaemon/LeadingChannelSearch
  • ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.LeadingChannelSearch.plist
  • ~/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.LeadingChannelSearchDaemon.plist

IMPORTANT NOTE! Rogue setups/apps that promote the LeadingChannelSearch 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 (Dock) and select "Profiles".

Remove malicious profiles added by LeadingChannelSearch (step 1)

2) Locate all suspicious profiles (for example "LeadingChannelSearch") and delete them.

Remove malicious profiles added by LeadingChannelSearch (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 browser hijacker.

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 LeadingChannelSearch adware using Combo Cleaner:

LeadingChannelSearch adware removal:

Remove LeadingChannelSearch-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 leadingchannelsearch 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 LeadingChannelSearch removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove ads by leadingchannelsearch 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 leadingchannelsearch 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 leadingchannelsearch 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.

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Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

QR Code
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