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How to uninstall ProductiveUnit adware?

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

What is ProductiveUnit adware?

ProductiveUnit is designed to generate advertisements and hijack a browser by changing some of its settings. This application has qualities of adware and a browser hijacker. Users rarely install apps like ProductiveUnit knowingly, for this reason, they are called potentially unwanted applications (PUAs).

ProductiveUnit adware

ProductiveUnit adware in detail

Adware generates revenue for its developer when users click on the ads displayed by it. Typically, adware-type applications show pop-up ads, coupons, banners, surveys, and other ads. It is important to mention that ads displayed by apps like ProductiveUnit can be designed to open untrustworthy websites.

A couple of examples of websites that ads generated by ProductiveUnit may open are "Hackers Hijacked Your Calendar, Infected Your Battery" and "Receive iPhone 12". Usually, these websites are designed to trick visitors into installing some questionable software or providing personal information.

Also, ProductiveUnit may display advertisements designed to cause unwanted downloads or installations by running certain scripts. In one way or another, it is strongly recommended not to trust advertisements generated by ProductiveUnit or any similar adware-type application. Another problem with ProductiveUnit is that it functions as a browser hijacker.

ProductiveUnit is designed to promote a fake search engine by changing settings such as the address of a default search engine, homepage, and new tab. These changes cannot be undone while ProductiveUnit is installed on a browser. It is strongly recommended not to use fake search engines to browse the Internet.

Usually, fake search engines show results generated by Google, Yahoo, or questionable search engines. Also, they can show misleading results - they can be used to promote questionable websites (for example, download pages for potentially malicious applications) and show dubious advertisements.

Additionally, it is possible that ProductiveUnit is designed to collect personal information such as credit card details, passwords (or other sensitive data). Information collected by apps like ProductiveUnit could be misused to hijack personal accounts, make unauthorized purchases, transactions, steal identities, and so on.

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by ProductiveUnit
Threat Type Adware, Mac malware, Mac virus
Detection Names (ProductiveUnit.service) Avast (MacOS:Adload-AM [Trj]), AVG (MacOS:Adload-AM [Trj]), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of OSX/TrojanDownloader.Adload.AE), Kaspersky (Not-a-virus:HEUR:AdWare.OSX.Cimpli.m), 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.

ProductiveUnit in general

ProductiveUnit is a potentially unwanted application designed to show advertisements and promote a fake search engine. Typically, apps of this type are useless to their users - their main purpose is to generate revenue for their developers. More adware examples are AdminRemote, MainSearchBoard, and WebBoostSeach.

How did ProductiveUnit install on my computer?

ProductiveUnit is distributed via a fake installer that is designed to look like the installer for Adobe Flash Player. Usually, fake installers are promoted on deceptive websites. Another important detail about fake installers is that they can be malicious (they can be designed to install malicious software).

It is worth mentioning that PUAs often can be found in downloaders and installers for free programs as optional offers. Users download and install PUAs together with those programs when they do not change settings that can be used to deselect unwanted offers. Usually, downloaders and installers used to distribute PUAs have "Custom", "Advanced", or similar settings.

Also, PUAs can be distributed through advertisements. More precisely, by designing advertisements to run certain scripts. Users unintentionally download or install potentially unwanted applications by clicking those advertisements. Typically, ads of this kind appear on questionable websites.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

Unwanted downloads, installations can be avoided by checking downloaders, installers for bundled applications and deselecting unwanted offers. Typically, downloaders and installers used to promote PUAs have "Custom", "Advanced", "Manual", or other settings, or ticked checkboxes.

Another way to avoid unwanted downloads (and installations) is to download apps and files from official websites and via direct links. Other sources for downloading them (for example, Peer-to-Peer networks like torrent clients, eMule, third-party downloaders, unofficial pages), and third-party installers can be used to distribute PUAs.

Additionally, it is recommended not to trust advertisements that appear on questionable websites. Those ads can be designed to open other pages of this kind or cause unwanted downloads, installations. If there are unwanted extensions, plug-ins, or add-ons installed on a browser, or programs of this kind installed on the operating system, then they should be uninstalled. If your computer is already infected with ProductiveUnit, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate this adware.

Pop-up window displayed when ProductiveUnit adware is present on the system:

productiveunit adware pop-up appearing while productiveunit is installed

Text in this pop-up window:

"ProductiveUnit d" will damage your computer.

This file was downloaded on an unknown date.

OK
Show in Finder

Delusive application installer promoting ProductiveUnit adware (first installation step):

Delusive installer used to promote ProductiveUnit adware

Delusive application installer promoting ProductiveUnit adware (second installation step):

productiveunit adware installer step 2

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

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

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

ProductiveUnit adware removal:

Remove ProductiveUnit-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 productiveunit 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 ProductiveUnit removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

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