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How to remove the NetSearchPanel adware from your operating system

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

What is NetSearchPanel?

While inspecting new submissions to VirusTotal, our research team found a rogue application named NetSearchPanel. Following our analysis of this application, we determined that it operates as adware. It is pertinent to mention that NetSearchPanel is part of the AdLoad malware family.

NetSearchPanel adware distributing fake Adobe Flash Player updater/installer

NetSearchPanel adware overview

Adware stands for advertising-supported software. It runs intrusive advertisement campaigns, i.e., this software enables the placement of ads on various interfaces. The advertisements endorse scams, unreliable/fake/harmful software, and even malware. Some intrusive adverts can perform stealthy downloads/installations upon being clicked.

Note that any legitimate products encountered through these ads are most likely promoted by scammers abusing affiliate programs in order to obtain commissions fraudulently.

Adware might not deliver ads if certain conditions are unsuitable, e.g., incompatible browser/system, particular websites are not visited, etc. However, regardless of whether NetSearchPanel displays adverts - its presence endangers device/user safety.

Furthermore, this app might have browser hijacker functionalities since they are common for AdLoad adware, although it did not exhibit any during testing.

What is more, NetSearchPanel likely gathers private data. Information of interest can include: browsing and search engine histories, personally identifiable details, usernames/passwords, credit card numbers, and so on. The collected data can be monetized through sale to third-parties.

To summarize, the presence of software like NetSearchPanel on devices may result in system infections, serious privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by NetSearchPanel
Threat Type Adware, Mac malware, Mac virus
Detection Names Avast (MacOS:Adload-AD [Trj]), Combo Cleaner (Gen:Variant.Adware.MAC.Adload.14), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of OSX/TrojanDownloader.Adloa), Kaspersky (Not-a-virus:HEUR:AdWare.OSX.Cimpli.k), 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 samples; InformationLeaderInitialMethod, and AnalogManager are merely a few of our newest finds. Advertising-supported software usually appears harmless and offers "handy" features. However, these functions seldom work as promised, and in most cases - they do not work at all.

How did NetSearchPanel install on my computer?

Apps like NetSearchPanel are often proliferated through fake Adobe Flash Player updaters/installers. Adware can also be bundled (packed together) with regular programs. Downloading from dubious channels (e.g., freeware and third-party sites, P2P sharing networks, etc.) and rushing through installation - increases the risk of allowing bundled content into the system.

Intrusive advertisements spread adware as well. When clicked on, some of the adverts can execute scripts to make downloads/installations without user permission.

Advertising-supported software can have "official" download webpages, and it is promoted on scam sites. Users typically enter these types of pages via redirects caused by websites using rogue advertising networks, spam browser notifications, misspelled URLs, intrusive ads, or installed adware (with browser force-opening abilities).

How to avoid installation of adware?

We strongly advise researching software and downloading only from official/trustworthy sources. When installing, it is essential to read terms, study possible options, use the "Custom" or "Advanced" settings, and opt-out of all additional apps, extensions, tools, etc.

Another recommendation is to exercise caution when browsing since illegitimate and malicious content usually looks innocuous. For example, intrusive advertisements appear ordinary yet redirect to highly questionable websites (e.g., adult-dating, gambling, pornography, etc.).

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

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

  • ~/Library/Application Support/com.NetSearchPanel/NetSearchPanel
  • ~/Library/Application Support/com.NetSearchPanelDaemon/NetSearchPanel
  • ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.NetSearchPanel.plist
  • ~/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.NetSearchPanelDaemon.plist

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

2) Locate all suspicious profiles and delete them.

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

NetSearchPanel adware removal:

Remove NetSearchPanel-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 - therefore, this software is considered to be a privacy threat. Furthermore, adware-displayed ads promote harmful content that can cause severe issues (e.g., system infections, financial losses, etc.).

What does adware do?

Adware displays advertisements on visited websites and/or other interfaces. Some types can also force-open sites and gather private data.

How do adware developers generate revenue?

Most of the profit comes from affiliate programs in the form of commissions for the promotion of various websites, applications, products, services, and so forth.

Will Combo Cleaner remove NetSearchPanel adware?

Yes, Combo Cleaner will scan your device and eliminate detected adware-type apps. It must be mentioned that manual removal (i.e., unaided by security software) might not be a perfect solution. In some instances, even after the adware has been (manually) removed - leftover files can remain. What is more, these remnants may continue to run and cause issues. Therefore, 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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Removal Instructions in other languages
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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