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How to remove the FlexibleOrigin adware from your operating system?

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

What is FlexibleOrigin?

FlexibleOrigin is a rogue application categorized as adware. Additionally, it has browser hijacker qualities. This app operates by running intrusive advertisement campaigns and promoting fake search engines through modifications to browser settings. FlexibleOrigin likely had data tracking abilities as well.

Due to the questionable methods used to distribute adware and browser hijackers, they are also classified as PUAs (Potentially Unwanted Applications). FlexibleOrigin has been observed being proliferated via fake Adobe Flash Player updates.

FlexibleOrigin adware detections on VirusTotal

FlexibleOrigin adware in detail

Adware enables the placement of third-party graphical content on any visited webpage and/or different interfaces. This software can deliver various pop-ups, banners, surveys, coupons, and other intrusive ads. They severely diminish the browsing experience by overlaying webpage content and slowing down the browsing speed.

Furthermore, intrusive advertisements endanger device and user safety. They endorse a variety of sale-oriented, rogue, untrustworthy, deceptive/scam, and malicious sites. Some of these adverts can infiltrate software (e.g., PUAs) into devices - when they are clicked on.

Browser hijackers reassign browsers' default search engine, homepage, new tab/window URLs - to fake web searcher addresses. Hence, with such a piece of software installed: search queries typed into the URL bar and new browser tab/window opened - redirect to the promoted address. Illegitimate search engines are seldom able to provide search results, so they redirect to (or cause redirection chains ending with) Yahoo, Bing, Google, and other genuine ones.

Browser hijackers can undo any changes users try to make to their browsers. Alternatively, they can restrict or deny access to the browser settings. Therefore, recovering an affected browser is impossible without removing the software hijacking it.

What is more, most PUAs have data tracking abilities. Targeted information includes: URLs visited, webpages viewed, search queries typed, IP addresses/ geolocations, personally identifiable details, and so on. The collected data is then shared with and/or sold to third-parties (potentially, cyber criminals).

In summary, the presence of unwanted apps on systems can lead to system infections, severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft. To ensure device integrity and user privacy, all suspect applications and browser extensions/plug-ins must be removed immediately upon detection.

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by FlexibleOrigin
Threat Type Adware, Mac malware, Mac virus
Detection Names Avast (MacOS:Adload-AM [Trj]), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of OSX/TrojanDownloader.Adload), Fortinet (Adware/Cimpli!OSX), 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.

Adware in general

AssistiveModeSkilledRecordExpandedActivityMainCharacterSearch, and AphroditeLookup are some examples of adware-type apps. They appear harmless and offer various "useful" functionalities. However, the promised functions are usually nonoperational.

Nearly all PUAs lure users into download/installation with fake features. The only goal of unwanted software is to generate revenue for the developers; it has no real value to users. PUAs operate by delivering intrusive advertisement campaigns, hijacking browsers, force-opening dubious/malicious sites, and collecting private information.

How did FlexibleOrigin install on my computer?

PUAs are spread through download/installation setups of other programs. This false marketing method of packing regular software with unwanted or malicious additions - is called "bundling". Rushed download/installation processes (e.g., used "Easy/Express" settings, etc.) increase the risk of allowing bundled content into the device.

Intrusive advertisements are also used to proliferate PUAs. Once clicked on, the ads can execute scripts to download/install these applications without user consent. Some PUAs have "official" promotional sites from which they can be downloaded and/or purchased.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

It is advised to research software before download/installation. Additionally, all downloads must be performed from official and verified sources. Untrustworthy download channels, e.g., unofficial and free file-hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, and other third-party downloaders - often offer bundled and harmful content.

When downloading/installing, it is important to read terms, explore possible options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings, and opt-out from additional apps, tools, etc. Intrusive adverts appear legitimate; however, they redirect to various questionable sites (e.g., gambling, pornography, adult-dating, and so forth).

In case of encounters with such advertisements and/or redirects, the system must be inspected and all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins detected - immediately removed from it. If your computer is already infected with FlexibleOrigin, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate this adware.

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

Pop-up displayed when FlexibleOrigin adware is detected on the system

Text presented in this pop-up window:

"FlexibleOrigind" will damage your computer.

 

This file was downloaded on an unknown date.

 

OK
Show In Finder

Delusive installer (fake Flash Player updater) promoting FlexibleOrigin adware;

First installation step:

Delusive installer used to promote FlexibleOrigin adware (step 1)

Second installation step:

Delusive installer used to promote FlexibleOrigin adware (step 2)

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

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

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

FlexibleOrigin adware removal:

Remove FlexibleOrigin-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 flexibleorigin 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 FlexibleOrigin removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

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