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How to remove the MainCharacterSearch unwanted application?

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

What is MainCharacterSearch adware?

MainCharacterSearch displays advertisements and changes a browser's homepage, the default search engine, and new tab. It has the qualities of advertisement-supported software and a browser hijacker. It is known that MainCharacterSearch is distributed via a fake installer. Therefore, it is very unlikely that someone would install this app intentionally.

MainCharacterSearch adware

MainCharacterSearch adware in detail

Typically, applications like MainCharacterSearch deliver ads through pop-up windows. Also, they can display unwanted banners, surveys, coupons, and so on. Their ads can be used to promote websites designed to trick visitors into downloading and installing questionable applications, providing personal information, or even infecting their computers with malware.

A couple of examples of pages that adware can be used to promote are "Your System Is Infected With 3 Viruses", "We Have Detected A Potential Risk Of Unsecured Connection", and "Congratulations! Netflix User!". It is important to mention that those ads can be designed to run certain scripts and cause unwanted downloads and installations.

As mentioned in the introduction, MainCharacterSearch changes the web browser's settings. More precisely, it changes the address of the default search engine, homepage, and new tab to an address of a fake search engine and keeps its settings unchangeable as long as it is installed on the system.

Fake search engines can generate their own results or show results generated by other questionable (or legitimate) search engines. The most important thing about fake search engines is that they can be used to promote untrustworthy websites and display shady advertisements. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to use Google, Yahoo, or other legitimate search engines.

One more problem with adware-type applications like MainCharacterSearch is that they can be designed to collect browsing-related information (like IP addresses, visited websites, entered search queries) or even personal details (like credit card details, passwords). Data collected by adware may be misused for malicious purposes.

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by MainCharacterSearch
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.AD), 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 seven days free trial available. Combo Cleaner is owned and operated by Rcs Lt, the parent company of PCRisk.com read more.

Apps like MainCharacterSearch in general

Typically, users download and install adware-type apps, browser hijackers unknowingly. For this reason, MainCharacterSearch and other apps of this kind are called potentially unwanted applications (PUAs). As a rule, they generate ads and (or) hijack browsers. More adware examples are AphroditeLookup, NetLookupSearch, and ProductiveUnit.

How did MainCharacterSearch install on my computer?

This app is distributed through a fake Adobe Flash Player installer. As a rule, fake installers are promoted on deceptive websites (for example, on websites that use scare tactics to trick users into installing unwanted software). It is important to know that fake installers can be malicious/designed to infect computers with malware.

Also, potentially unwanted applications can be distributed through enabled-by-default download or installation options. It is common that PUAs are included in downloaders and installers as optional offers. Users download and install PUAs when they do not change "Custom", "Manual", "Advanced", or other options, or checkboxes ticked. This distribution method is called bundling.

In some cases, users download or install potentially unwanted applications through advertisements. More precisely, they cause it by clicking advertisements designed to execute certain scripts. It is worth mentioning that such advertisements appear mostly on deceptive, untrustworthy websites.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

Third-party downloaders, installers, unofficial websites, Peer-to-Peer networks (like torrent clients, eMule), and other sources should not be trusted - they can be used to distribute unwanted, even malicious applications. Applications and files should be downloaded from official websites and via direct download links.

Downloaders and installers with settings like "Custom", "Advanced" or ticked checkboxes should be examined. It is common that they have unwanted offers. In such cases, unwanted offers should be declined before finishing downloads and installations. Advertisements on questionable pages should not be clicked as well. Those ads can cause unexpected downloads, installations.

Unwanted, suspicious extensions, plug-ins or add-ons installed on a browser should be removed. The same applies to programs of this kind installed on a computer. If your computer is already infected with MainCharacterSearch, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate this adware.

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

  • ~/Library/Application Support/com.MainCharacterSearch/MainCharacterSearch
  • ~/Library/Application Support/com.MainCharacterSearchDaemon/MainCharacterSearch
  • ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.MainCharacterSearch.plist
  • ~/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.MainCharacterSearchDaemon.plist

IMPORTANT NOTE! Rogue setups/apps that promote the MainCharacterSearch 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 MainCharacterSearch (step 1)

2) Locate all suspicious profiles and delete them.

Remove malicious profiles added by MainCharacterSearch (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 adware/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 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 MainCharacterSearch adware using Combo Cleaner:

MainCharacterSearch adware removal:

Remove MainCharacterSearch-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 maincharactersearch 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 MainCharacterSearch removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove ads by maincharactersearch 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 maincharactersearch 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 maincharactersearch 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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Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

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

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