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Removing ProfessionalHelper adware from the operating system

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

What is ProfessionalHelper?

ProfessionalHelper is a rogue app that our research team discovered while inspecting new submissions to VirusTotal. Our analysis revealed that this application operates as adware. Additionally, we learned that ProfessionalHelper belongs to the AdLoad malware family.

ProfessionalHelper adware

ProfessionalHelper adware overview

Adware may not display advertisements if certain conditions are not met, e.g., browser/device or user geolocation are incompatible, visits to particular sites do not occur, etc. However, regardless of whether ProfessionalHelper (or other adware) delivers ads - its presence on a system endangers device integrity and user privacy.

Adware-displayed adverts typically endorse unreliable/harmful websites and software, online scams, and even malware. Furthermore, some intrusive advertisements can stealthily download/install software upon being clicked.

Any legitimate content encountered through these ads is unlikely to be promoted by the actual developers. Instead, scammers abuse affiliate programs and employ adware to acquire illegitimate commissions.

ProfessionalHelper may have browser hijacker traits as they are common for AdLoad adware; however, we have not observed any during testing.

What is more, advertising-supported software usually has data tracking abilities, and this may apply to ProfessionalHelper. Adware can target browsing and search engine histories, personally identifiable details, usernames/passwords, credit card numbers, etc. The collected data can be shared with and/or sold to third-parties.

In summary, the presence of software like ProfessionalHelper on devices may lead to system infections, severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by ProfessionalHelper
Threat Type Adware, Mac malware, Mac virus
Detection Names Avast (MacOS:Adload-AG [Adw]), Combo Cleaner (Gen:Variant.Adware.MAC.AdLoad.13), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of OSX/Adware.Synataeb.G), 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 seven days free trial available. Combo Cleaner is owned and operated by Rcs Lt, the parent company of PCRisk.com read more.

Adware examples

We have analyzed thousands of adware-type applications; PartnerPixelCommonBrowser, and ColossusAspect are just a couple of examples. Advertising-supported software appears legitimate and offers "advantageous" features. However, these functionalities seldom work as promised, and in most cases - they are utterly nonoperational.

How did ProfessionalHelper install on my computer?

Adware can be bundled (packed together) with ordinary programs. Download from untrustworthy sources (e.g., unofficial and freeware websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, etc.) and rushed installations - increase the risk of allowing bundled content into the device. Fake Adobe Flash Player installers/updaters are also used in distribution.

Intrusive advertisements are used to proliferate advertising-supported software as well. Once clicked on, some of these adverts can make downloads/installations without user permission.

Adware can have "official" promotional/download sites. Most users enter them inadvertently via redirects caused by webpages using rogue advertising networks, intrusive ads, spam browser notifications, mistyped URLs, or installed adware (with browser force-opening capabilities).

How to avoid installation of adware?

We highly recommend researching products and downloading only from official/verified channels. Additionally, installation processes must be approached with caution, e.g., reading terms, studying possible options, using the "Custom/Advanced" settings, and opting-out of all supplements.

It is just as important to be vigilant when browsing - since fraudulent and malicious content tends to look harmless. For example, intrusive ads appear innocuous, yet they redirect to dubious websites (e.g., gambling, pornography, adult-dating, etc.).

If you experience such advertisements and/or redirects, inspect the device and immediately remove all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins. If your computer is already infected with ProfessionalHelper, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate this adware.

Pop-up window displayed once ProfessionalHelper adware's installation is over:

Pop-up displayed once ProfessionalHelper installation is complete

ProfessionalHelper adware's installation folder:

ProfessionalHelper adware install 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 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 ProfessionalHelper adware using Combo Cleaner:

ProfessionalHelper adware removal:

Remove ProfessionalHelper-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 adware-related files and folders

Mac Go To Folder step

Click the Finder icon, from the menu bar. Choose Go, and click Go to Folder...

Mac removing related files and folders - step 1Check for adware generated files in the /Library/LaunchAgents/ folder:

Mac go to /Library/LaunchAgents - step 1

In the Go to Folder... bar, type: /Library/LaunchAgents/

Mac go to /Library/LaunchAgents - 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 exact same string.

Mac removing related files and folders - step 2Check for adware generated files in the ~/Library/Application Support/ folder:

Mac go to /Library/Application Support - step 1

In the Go to Folder... bar, type: ~/Library/Application Support/

Mac go to /Library/Application Support - 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.

Mac removing related files and folders - step 3Check for adware generated files in the ~/Library/LaunchAgents/ folder:

Mac go to ~/Library/LaunchAgents - step 1

In the Go to Folder... bar, type: ~/Library/LaunchAgents/

Mac go to ~/Library/LaunchAgents - 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 exact same string.

Mac removing related files and folders - step 4Check for adware generated files in the /Library/LaunchDaemons/ folder:

Mac go to /Library/LaunchDaemons - step 1

In the "Go to Folder..." bar, type: /Library/LaunchDaemons/

Mac go to /Library/LaunchDaemons - 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.

Mac removing malware related files and folders - step 5Scan your Mac with Combo Cleaner:

If you have followed all the steps correctly, your Mac should be clean of infections. To ensure 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 the 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 its virus definition database and click the "Start Combo Scan" button.

Mac remove malware with Combo Cleaner - step 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.

Mac remove malware with Combo Cleaner - step 2

After removing files and folders generated by the adware, continue to remove rogue extensions from your Internet browsers.

Remove malicious extensions from Internet browsers

Safari iconRemove malicious Safari extensions:

Removal of malicious extensions in Safari - step 1

Open the Safari browser, from the menu bar, select "Safari" and click "Preferences...".

Removal of malicious extensions in Safari - step 2

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 regular browser operation.

  • If you continue to have problems with browser redirects and unwanted advertisements - Reset Safari.

Google Chrome logoRemove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:

Removal of malicious extensions in Google Chrome - step 1

Click the Chrome menu icon Google Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "More Tools" and click "Extensions". Locate all recently-installed suspicious extensions, select these entries and click "Remove".

Removal of malicious extensions in Google Chrome - step 2

  • If you continue to have problems with browser redirects and unwanted advertisements - Reset Google Chrome.

Mozilla Firefox logoRemove malicious extensions from Mozilla Firefox:

Removal of malicious extensions in Mozilla Firefox - step 1

Click the Firefox menu firefox menu icon (at the top right corner of the main window) and select "Add-ons and themes". Click "Extensions", in the opened window locate all recently-installed suspicious extensions, click on the three dots and then click "Remove".

Removal of malicious extensions in Mozilla Firefox - step 2

  • If you continue to have problems with browser redirects and unwanted advertisements - Reset Mozilla Firefox.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What harm can adware cause?

Adware diminishes browsing experience and system performance. This software typically has data tracking abilities, which make it a threat to user privacy. What is more, adware-displayed adverts can be deceptive/malicious and cause severe issues.

What does adware do?

Adware stands for advertising-supported software. It is designed to run intrusive advertisement campaigns, i.e., enable the placement of various ads on visited websites and/or different interfaces. Adware may also force-open webpages and gather private data.

How do adware developers generate revenue?

Adware generates revenue primarily through affiliate programs by promoting websites, applications, services, etc. The developers may earn commission from ad clicks, site visits, file downloads, service subscriptions, or similar.

Will Combo Cleaner remove ProfessionalHelper adware?

Yes, Combo Cleaner is capable of scanning devices and eliminating installed adware-type apps. It is pertinent to mention that manual removal (unaided by security software) might not be effective. In some instances, even after the adware itself is (manually) removed - various remnants (files) are left behind in the system. Furthermore, these leftovers can continue running and causing issues. Hence, it is crucial to eliminate adware thoroughly.

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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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