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Removal instructions for ProgramOpen adware and the ads it displays

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

What is ProgramOpen?

ProgramOpen is a rogue application that our research team discovered while investigating new submissions to VirusTotal. After analyzing this piece of software, we learned that ProgramOpen is adware. Additionally, this app is part of the AdLoad malware family.

ProgramOpen adware

ProgramOpen adware overview

Adware stands for advertising-supported software. It is designed to enable the placement of various advertisements on visited websites and/or other interfaces.

The adverts promote online scams, untrustworthy/harmful webpages and apps, and even malware. Some intrusive ads can execute scripts to make stealthy downloads/installations upon being clicked. It is pertinent to mention that any genuine content encountered via these advertisements is most likely promoted by scammers abusing its affiliate programs to acquire illegitimate commissions.

It has to be mentioned that advertising-supported software might need certain conditions to run intrusive ad campaigns (e.g., compatible browser/system specs or user geolocation, visits to particular sites, etc.). However, regardless of whether ProgramOpen displays adverts, its presence endangers device/user safety.

Furthermore, this application might have browser hijacker functionalities since they are standard for AdLoad adware, although we did not observe any during testing.

What is more, ProgramOpen likely has data tracking abilities. Targeted information may include: visited URLs, viewed pages, searched queries, usernames/passwords, personally identifiable details, finance-related data, etc. The collected information can be monetized via sale to third-parties (potentially, cyber criminals).

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

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by ProgramOpen
Threat Type Adware, Mac malware, Mac virus
Detection Names Avast (MacOS:Agent-TX [Trj]), Combo Cleaner (Adware.MAC.AdloadTR.1067), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of OSX/Adware.Synataeb.G), Kaspersky (Not-a-virus:HEUR:AdWare.OSX.Searchproxy.f), 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 apps; OnlineProgramSilkTopic, and CommandAccess are merely a couple of examples. Advertising-supported software typically looks harmless and offers "useful" functionalities. However, these features seldom work as promised, and in most cases - they do not work at all.

How did ProgramOpen install on my computer?

Adware can be bundled (packed together) with ordinary software/media. Download from untrustworthy sources (e.g., unofficial and freeware sites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, etc.) and rushed installations increase the risk of allowing bundled content into the system.

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

Advertising-supported software can also have "official" promotional pages, and it is endorsed by scam websites. Users typically access such webpages via redirects caused by sites using rogue advertising networks, spam browser notifications, intrusive adverts, mistyped URLs, or installed adware (with browser force-opening capabilities).

How to avoid installation of adware?

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

We advise being vigilant when browsing since fraudulent and malicious content usually looks innocuous. For example, intrusive advertisements appear legitimate yet redirect to questionable websites (e.g., gambling, pornography, adult-dating, etc.).

Should you experience adverts/redirects of this kind, check the system and immediately remove all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins. If your computer is already infected with ProgramOpen, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate this adware.

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

Pop-up displayed once ProgramOpen installation is complete

ProgramOpen adware's installation folder:

ProgramOpen 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 ProgramOpen adware using Combo Cleaner:

ProgramOpen adware removal:

Remove ProgramOpen-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 decrease browsing quality and system performance. It usually has data tracking abilities - hence, it is considered to be a privacy threat. Additionally, adware-displayed adverts promote deceptive/malicious content that can cause serious issues (e.g., system infections, financial losses, etc.).

What does adware do?

Adware is designed to run intrusive ad campaigns. In other words, advertising-supported software displays adverts on visited websites and/or other interfaces. Furthermore, some types can also force-open sites and collect private data.

How do adware developers generate revenue?

Adware developers generate revenue mainly through affiliate programs by promoting various websites, apps, tools, products, services, and other content.

Will Combo Cleaner remove ProgramOpen adware?

Yes, Combo Cleaner can scan computers and eliminate installed adware-type applications. Note that manual removal (without the aid of security programs) might not be ideal. In some cases, even after the adware has been (manually) removed - various leftovers (files) remain hidden within the system. Furthermore, the remnants can continue running and causing issues. Hence, advertising-supported software must be removed 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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