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Removal instructions for GeneralProjectSearch adware and the ads it displays

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

What is GeneralProjectSearch?

GeneralProjectSearch is a rogue application that our researchers found while inspecting deceptive websites promoting fake Adobe Flash Player updates. After testing this piece of software, we determined that it is an adware-type app belonging to the AdLoad malware family.

GeneralProjectSearch adware proliferated by a fake Adobe Flash Player updater/installer

GeneralProjectSearch adware overview

It is noteworthy that adware might not operate as designed (i.e., display advertisements) on all systems. Advertising-supported may not run intrusive advertisement campaigns if the browser/device specs or user geolocation are incompatible, visits to particular websites are not made, or similar. Regardless of whether GeneralProjectSearch (or other adware) displays ads or not, its presence endangers device and user safety.

Adware-delivered adverts promote online scams, untrustworthy/harmful sites and software, and even malware. Some intrusive advertisements are capable of infiltrating software into systems upon being clicked.

Note that any genuine products encountered via these ads are unlikely to be endorsed by their actual developers. Instead, this promotion is primarily undertaken by scammers who abuse affiliate programs to obtain illegitimate commissions.

AdLoad adware tends to have browser hijacker qualities - hence, GeneralProjectSearch may have them as well, although we did not observe any during our analysis.

This application likely has data tracking abilities. Advertising-supported software usually collects browsing data (e.g., visited sites, viewed pages, searched queries, etc.), personally identifiable data, usernames/passwords, credit card details, and so on. The gathered information can be monetized by being shared with and/or sold to third-parties.

In summary, the presence of apps like GeneralProjectSearch on devices - can result in system infections, serious privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by GeneralProjectSearch
Threat Type Adware, Mac malware, Mac virus
Detection Names Avast (MacOS:Adload-AD [Trj]), Combo Cleaner (Adware.MAC.AdloadTR.530), 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 seven days free trial available. Combo Cleaner is owned and operated by Rcs Lt, the parent company of PCRisk.com read more.

Adware examples

BrowserDisplayColossusAspectNetConnection, and WireNavigate are merely some examples of the adware we have analyzed recently.

This software typically appears ordinary and harmless. Users are enticed into download/installation with promises of "useful" and "advantageous" functionalities. However, despite how good the promised functions may sound - they are rarely operational.

How did GeneralProjectSearch install on my computer?

GeneralProjectSearch was installed onto our test machine by a fake Flash Player updater, which we discovered while checking out scam sites. Adware may also have "official" promotional/download pages.

Users seldom access such websites intentionally. Most enter them through redirects caused by sites using rogue advertising networks, spam browser notifications, mistyped URLs, intrusive ads, or adware (with browser force-opening capabilities).

Bundling - packing regular program installers with unwanted/malicious supplements - is also used to proliferate advertising-supported software. Download from untrustworthy sources (e.g., P2P sharing networks, unofficial and free file-hosting websites, etc.) and rushed installations (e.g., used "Quick/Easy" settings, etc.) - increase the risk of allowing bundled content into the device.

Furthermore, once clicked on, some intrusive advertisements can execute scripts to stealthily download/install undesirable software (including adware).

How to avoid installation of adware?

We strongly recommend researching software and downloading it from official and verified channels. Additionally, installation processes must be approached with caution, e.g., reading terms, inspecting available options, using the "Custom/Advanced" settings, and opting-out of all supplements.

We advise being vigilant when browsing - since illegitimate and malicious content typically looks innocuous. For example, intrusive adverts appear legitimate yet redirect to highly questionable sites (e.g., pornography, gambling, adult-dating, etc.).

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

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

  • ~/Library/Application Support/com.GeneralProjectSearch/GeneralProjectSearch
  • ~/Library/Application Support/com.GeneralProjectSearchDaemon/GeneralProjectSearch
  • ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.GeneralProjectSearch.plist
  • ~/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.GeneralProjectSearchDaemon.plist

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

2) Locate all suspicious profiles and delete them.

Remove malicious profiles added by GeneralProjectSearch (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 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 GeneralProjectSearch adware using Combo Cleaner:

GeneralProjectSearch adware removal:

Remove GeneralProjectSearch-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 generalprojectsearch 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 GeneralProjectSearch removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove ads by generalprojectsearch 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 generalprojectsearch 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 generalprojectsearch 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.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What harm can adware cause?

Adware may decrease browsing quality and system performance. It is also considered a privacy threat, as this software usually collects vulnerable information. Adware-delivered ads can be deceptive/malicious and cause serious problems (e.g., system infections, financial losses, etc.).

What does adware do?

Adware is designed to run intrusive advertisement campaigns. In other words, it enables the placement of various adverts on visited websites and/or different interfaces. Some types can also force-open sites and gather private data.

How do adware developers generate revenue?

Revenue is generated primarily via affiliate programs by promoting websites, products, services, and so on. Adware developers might earn commission from ad clicks, site visits, file downloads, product purchases, service subscriptions, or similar.

Will Combo Cleaner remove GeneralProjectSearch adware?

Yes, Combo Cleaner will scan your device and eliminate installed adware-type apps. It must be mentioned that manual removal (unaided by security programs) might not be a perfect solution. In some instances, even after the software itself is (manually) removed - its remnants (files) are left behind. Furthermore, the remaining components may continue running and causing issues. Therefore, it is paramount 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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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.