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Removing the LinkRoot adware and the advertisements it displays

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

What is LinkRoot?

LinkRoot is the name of a rogue application that our researchers discovered while investigating new submissions to VirusTotal. After inspecting this piece of software, we learned that it operates as adware. Additionally, LinkRoot belongs to the AdLoad malware family.

LinkRoot adware

LinkRoot adware overview

Adware is designed to enable the placement of third-party graphical content (advertisements) on visited websites and/or other interfaces. These ads endorse unreliable/harmful sites and software, online scams, and malware. Furthermore, some intrusive adverts are capable of performing stealthy downloads/installations upon being clicked.

It is pertinent to mention that any legitimate products encountered via these advertisements are most likely promoted by scammers who abuse their affiliate programs to obtain commissions fraudulently.

Adware might not run intrusive advert campaigns if certain conditions are unsuitable, e.g., incompatible browser/system or geolocation, specific sites are not visited, etc. However, even if LinkRoot does not deliver ads - its presence on a system endangers device/user safety nonetheless.

What is more, LinkRoot might have browser-hijacking functionalities, as they are common for AdLoad adware. However, we did not observe such abilities during testing.

This rogue application likely collects private information. Advertising-supported software typically targets browsing and search engine histories, usernames/passwords, personally identifiable details, credit card numbers, and so on. The gathered data can be monetized via sale to third-parties (potentially, cyber criminals).

To summarize, the presence of software like LinkRoot on devices can lead to system infections, serious privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by LinkRoot
Threat Type Adware, Mac malware, Mac virus
Detection Names Avast (MacOS:Agent-TX [Trj]), Combo Cleaner (Gen:Variant.Adware.MAC.Adload.23), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of OSX/Adware.Synataeb.G), Kaspersky (Not-a-virus:HEUR:AdWare.OSX.Searchproxy), 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

ClutchTrendExplorerIndexNativeLightning, and AbsoluteValue are merely some examples of the adware-type apps that we have analyzed recently.

This software seldom appears suspicious, it tends to look ordinary and innocuous. Adware usually offers various "handy" and "advantageous" functionalities. However, these features rarely work as promised, and in most cases - they are utterly nonoperational.

How did LinkRoot install on my computer?

Adware is proliferated using the bundling marketing method - packing regular program installation setups with unwanted/malicious supplements. Download from dubious sources (e.g., freeware and third-party sites, P2P sharing networks, etc.) and rushed installations (e.g., used "Easy/Quick" settings, etc.) increase the risk of allowing bundled content into the device.

Fake Adobe Flash Player updaters are used in adware distribution as well. This software is also spread by intrusive ads. When clicked on, some of these advertisements can execute scripts to make stealthy downloads/installations.

Advertising-supported software can have "official" promotional webpages, and it is pushed by online scams. These deceptive sites are usually accessed via redirects caused by mistyped URLs, pages using rogue advertising networks, intrusive adverts, spam browser notifications, or installed adware (with browser force-opening capabilities).

How to avoid installation of adware?

We strongly advise researching software and downloading it from official/verified sources. Furthermore, installation must be approached with care. Therefore, we recommend reading terms, inspecting available options, using the "Custom/Advanced" settings, and opting-out of all supplementary apps, extensions, features, etc.

We also advise being vigilant when browsing since illegitimate and malicious content typically appears harmless. For example, intrusive advertisements look legitimate yet redirect to highly questionable websites (e.g., gambling, adult-dating, pornography, etc.).

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

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

Pop-up displayed once LinkRoot installation is complete

LinkRoot adware's installation folder:

LinkRoot 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 LinkRoot adware using Combo Cleaner:

LinkRoot adware removal:

Remove LinkRoot-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. It typically has data tracking functionalities, which make it a privacy threat. Furthermore, adware-delivered adverts endorse harmful content that can cause serious problems (e.g., system infections, financial losses, etc.).

What does adware do?

Adware stands for advertising-supported software. It is designed to display advertisements on various interfaces. Some types can also cause redirects and gather sensitive data.

How do adware developers generate revenue?

Adware developers generate revenue primarily via affiliate programs by promoting websites, applications, products, services, and other content. The profit can come in the form of commissions earned from ad clicks, site visits, file downloads, product purchases, service subscriptions, or similar.

Will Combo Cleaner remove LinkRoot adware?

Yes, Combo Cleaner can scan devices and eliminate detected adware-type applications. It is pertinent to mention that manual removal (performed without the aid of security programs) might be ineffective. Since even after the advertising-supported software has been manually removed - various file leftovers may remain hidden in the system. Furthermore, the remaining components can continue running and causing issues. Therefore, adware must be eliminated 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.