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Removing SilkTopic adware and the advertisements it displays

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

What is SilkTopic?

Our research team discovered the SilkTopic rogue app while investigating new submissions to VirusTotal. After inspecting this piece of software, we determined that it is adware belonging to the AdLoad malware family.

SilkTopic adware

SilkTopic adware overview

Adware stands for advertising-supported software. It displays advertisements on various interfaces. These ads promote online scams, untrustworthy/dangerous websites and software, and even malware. Additionally, some intrusive adverts are capable of performing stealthy downloads/installations - once clicked on.

It is pertinent to mention that while genuine products can be encountered via these ads, they are unlikely to be promoted by their actual developers. Instead, this endorsement is undertaken by scammers abusing the products' affiliate programs to obtain illegitimate commissions.

It is noteworthy that adware might not display adverts if certain conditions are unsuitable (e.g., incompatible browser/system, specific websites are not visited, etc.). However, regardless of whether SilkTopic delivers advertisements - its presence endangers device/user safety.

Furthermore, AdLoad adware often has browser hijacker functionalities, and this might apply to SilkTopic. However, this app did not exhibit any during testing.

What is more, SilkTopic likely has data tracking abilities. Targeted information may include browsing and search engine histories, usernames/passwords, personally identifiable details, financial/banking data, etc. The gathered information can then be monetized via sale to third-parties (potentially, cyber criminals).

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

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by SilkTopic
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.h), 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; CommandAccessChipSynergyFunctionBlast, and TotalResults are merely some examples.

This software usually appears ordinary and innocuous. Users are enticed into download/installation with promises of various "useful" and "advantageous" functionalities. However, these functions seldom work as promised, and in most cases - they do not work at all.

How did SilkTopic install on my computer?

Adware is spread using the bundling marketing technique - pre-packing ordinary programs with unwanted/malicious additions. Download from untrustworthy sources (e.g., unofficial and freeware websites, P2P sharing networks, etc.) and rushed installations increase the risk of allowing bundled content into the device.

Additionally, intrusive advertisements proliferate adware. When clicked on, some of the ads can execute scripts to make downloads/installations without user permission. Fake Adobe Flash Player updaters/installers are used in distribution as well.

Advertising-supported software can have "official" promotional webpages, and it is pushed through scam sites. Most users enter these pages via redirects caused by mistyped URLs, websites using rogue advertising networks, intrusive ads, spam browser notifications, or installed adware (with browser force-opening abilities).

How to avoid installation of adware?

We highly recommend researching software and downloading only from official/verified sources. Additionally, installation must be treated with caution, e.g., by reading terms, studying available options, using the "Custom/Advanced" settings, and opting-out of all additional apps, extensions, features, etc.

We advise being vigilant when browsing since fraudulent and malicious material usually appears legitimate. For example, intrusive adverts look harmless yet redirect to questionable websites (e.g., gambling, pornography, adult-dating, etc.).

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

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

Pop-up displayed once SilkTopic installation is complete

SilkTopic adware's installation folder:

SilkTopic 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 SilkTopic adware using Combo Cleaner:

SilkTopic adware removal:

Remove SilkTopic-related potentially unwanted applications from your "Applications" folder:

Manual removal of malicious Mac applications

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 can diminish the browsing experience and system performance. This software usually has data tracking abilities, which make it a privacy threat. Furthermore, adware-delivered ads promote deceptive/malicious content that can cause severe problems (e.g., system infections, financial losses, etc.).

What does adware do?

Adware is designed to display advertisements on visited websites and/or other interfaces. Some types can also force-open webpages and collect private data.

How do adware developers generate revenue?

Adware developers generate revenue primarily through affiliate programs by endorsing various websites, apps, products, services, and other content.

Will Combo Cleaner remove SilkTopic adware?

Yes, Combo Cleaner can scan devices and eliminate detected adware-type applications. It must be mentioned that manual removal (unaided by security programs) might not be an ideal solution. In some cases, even after the advertising-supported software has been (manually) removed - various remnants (files) stay hidden within the system. Furthermore, the remaining components can continue running and causing issues. Therefore, 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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