FacebookTwitterLinkedIn

Removing the CharacterGeneration adware from your operating system

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

What is CharacterGeneration?

Our researchers discovered the CharacterGeneration application while checking out new submissions to VirusTotal. After inspecting this app, we learned that it operates as advertising-supported software (adware) and is part of the AdLoad malware group.

CharacterGeneration adware

CharacterGeneration adware overview

Adware is designed to enable the placement of third-party graphical content (e.g., pop-ups, banners, coupons, surveys, and other ads) on various interfaces.

These advertisements endorse online scams, unreliable/harmful websites and software, and even malware. Once clicked on, some intrusive adverts can execute scripts to perform downloads/installations without user permission.

It is pertinent to mention that any legitimate content encountered via these ads is unlikely to be promoted by its actual developers. Instead, this endorsement is undertaken by scammers abusing the products' affiliate programs in order to acquire illegitimate commissions.

Advertising-supported software may need certain conditions to deliver intrusive advertisement campaigns (e.g., compatible browser/system specs, visits to specific sites, etc.). However, even if CharacterGeneration does not display ads, its presence on a system is not harmless - it endangers device integrity and user safety.

Furthermore, AdLoad adware tends to have browser-hijacking functionalities, and this might apply to CharacterGeneration - although we did not observe such behavior during analysis.

What is more, CharacterGeneration likely collects private information. Targeted data may include browsing and search engine histories, usernames/passwords, personally identifiable details, credit card numbers, etc. The collected information can be monetized via sale to third-parties or otherwise abused for profit.

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

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by CharacterGeneration
Threat Type Adware, Mac malware, Mac virus
Detection Names Avast (MacOS:AdAgent-L [Adw]), Combo Cleaner (Application.Generic.3206758), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of OSX/Adware.Synataeb.C), 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

ThinDevTemplateFrame, and InitialConnection are merely a couple examples of adware-type apps that we have inspected. These programs rarely look suspicious, they typically appear legitimate and innocuous. Users are enticed into download/installation with promises of "useful" functionalities. However, these functions seldom work as promised, and in most cases - they do not work at all.

How did CharacterGeneration install on my computer?

Adware is proliferated using the "bundling" marketing tactic - packing regular program installers with unwanted/malicious supplements. Download from untrustworthy sources (e.g., freeware and free file-hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, etc.) and rushed installations (e.g., skipped steps and sections) increase the risk of allowing bundled content into the system.

Additionally, fake Adobe Flash Player updaters/installers are used in distribution. Intrusive advertisements proliferate adware as well. When clicked on, some of the adverts can execute scripts to perform stealthy downloads/installations.

Advertising-supported software can also have "official" download pages and scam websites. Most users access such sites via redirects caused by mistyped URLs, webpages using rogue advertising networks, spam browser notifications, intrusive ads, or installed adware (with browser force-opening abilities).

How to avoid installation of adware?

We strongly recommend researching software and downloading only from official/verified channels. Furthermore, when installing, it is important to read terms, explore possible options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings, and opt-out of all supplementary apps, tools, extensions, etc.

We advise being cautious when browsing since illegitimate and malicious content usually appears ordinary and harmless. For example, intrusive adverts may look legitimate yet redirect to highly questionable websites (e.g., gambling, adult-dating, pornography, etc.).

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

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

Pop-up displayed once CharacterGeneration installation is complete

CharacterGeneration adware's installation folder:

CharacterGeneration 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 CharacterGeneration adware using Combo Cleaner:

CharacterGeneration adware removal:

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

What does adware do?

Adware operates by running intrusive advertisement campaigns, i.e., displaying ads on visited websites and/or other interfaces. What is more, some adware-types can cause redirects and gather private information.

How do adware developers generate revenue?

Adware generates profit primarily through affiliate programs by promoting various websites, apps, products, services, etc. The developers might earn commission from ad clicks, site visits, file downloads, product purchases, service subscriptions, or similar.

Will Combo Cleaner remove CharacterGeneration adware?

Yes, Combo Cleaner can scan computers and eliminate installed adware-type applications. It is noteworthy that manual removal (unaided by security software) might be ineffective. In some cases, even after the adware has been manually removed - various remnants (files) stay hidden within the system. Furthermore, these components can continue to run and cause problems. Hence, it is crucial to eliminate advertising-supported software thoroughly.

▼ Show Discussion

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.

Our malware removal guides are free. However, if you want to support us you can send us a donation.

About PCrisk

PCrisk logo

PCrisk is a cyber security portal, informing Internet users about the latest digital threats. Our content is provided by security experts and professional malware researchers. Read more about us.

Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

QR Code
Ads by CharacterGeneration QR code
Scan this QR code to have an easy access removal guide of Ads by CharacterGeneration on your mobile device.
We Recommend:

Get rid of Mac malware infections today:

▼ REMOVE IT NOW
Download Combo Cleaner for Mac

Platform: macOS

Editors' Rating for Combo Cleaner:
Editors ratingOutstanding!

[Back to Top]

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.