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How to remove the AlphaExplorer adware and the adverts it delivers

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

What is AlphaExplorer?

While checking out new submissions to VirusTotal, our researchers discovered the AlphaExplorer rogue app. This piece of software operates as adware. Additionally, it is worth mentioning that AlphaExplorer is part of the AdLoad malware family.

AlphaExplorer adware

AlphaExplorer adware overview

Adware stands for advertising-supported software. It is designed to run intrusive advertisement campaigns, i.e., display third-party graphical content (ads) on various interfaces.

The delivered advertisements endorse online scams, unreliable/harmful sites and software, and even malware. Furthermore, some intrusive adverts are capable of performing stealthy downloads/installations upon being clicked.

It is noteworthy that scammers may use adware-displayed ads to acquire illegitimate commissions for the promotion of genuine content.

It is pertinent to mention that advertising-supported software might need specific conditions to run intrusive ad campaigns (e.g., compatible browser/system specs, visits to particular websites, etc.). However, even if AlphaExplorer does not deliver adverts - its presence on a system endangers device and user safety.

AdLoad adware often has browser hijacker qualities, and this might be true of AlphaExplorer - although we did not observe such traits during analysis.

What is more, this rogue application likely collects private information. Data of interest may include: visited URLs, viewed pages, searched queries, account log-in credentials, personally identifiable details, credit card numbers, and so forth. The gathered information can be monetized via sale to third-parties or otherwise abused for profit.

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

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by AlphaExplorer
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

CharacterGenerationArchievesOriginalFocusAhead, and ThinDev are merely some examples of adware-type apps that we have analyzed. This software typically appears legitimate and offers "handy" functions. However, these functionalities rarely work as promised, and in most cases - they are utterly nonoperational.

How did AlphaExplorer install on my computer?

"Bundling" - packing regular installers with unwanted/malicious additions - is used to distribute adware. Download from dubious sources (e.g., unofficial and freeware websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, etc.) and rushed installations increase the risk of allowing bundled content into the device.

Additionally, intrusive advertisements proliferate adware. Once clicked on, some of the ads can execute scripts to perform downloads/installations without user consent. Fake Adobe Flash Player updaters/installers are also used in distribution.

Advertising-supported software is promoted on its "official" pages and scam websites as well. Most users access such sites via redirects caused by webpages using rogue advertising networks, mistyped URLs, intrusive adverts, spam browser notifications, or installed adware (with browser force-opening capabilities).

How to avoid installation of adware?

We strongly recommend researching software and downloading only from official/verified channels. Furthermore, it is crucial to approach installation with care. Hence, it is important to read terms, study possible options, use the "Custom" or "Advanced" settings, and opt-out of all additional apps, extensions, features, etc.

Another recommendation is to be cautious while browsing since fraudulent and malicious online material usually appears legitimate and harmless. For example, intrusive advertisements look harmless yet redirect to highly questionable websites (e.g., adult-dating, pornography, gambling, etc.).

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

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

Pop-up displayed once AlphaExplorer installation is complete

AlphaExplorer adware's installation folder:

AlphaExplorer 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 AlphaExplorer adware using Combo Cleaner:

AlphaExplorer adware removal:

Remove AlphaExplorer-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 is also considered a privacy threat, as this software usually has data-tracking abilities. Furthermore, adware-delivered ads can be dangerous and cause serious issues (e.g., system infections, financial losses, etc.).

What does adware do?

Adware operates by displaying ads on visited sites and/or other interfaces. Furthermore, some types can cause redirects and gather private data.

How do adware developers generate revenue?

Adware generates profit mainly through affiliate programs by endorsing various websites, applications, products, services, etc. The developers may earn commission from ad clicks, site visits, file downloads, product purchases, service subscriptions, or similar.

Will Combo Cleaner remove AlphaExplorer adware?

Yes, Combo Cleaner will scan your device and eliminate installed adware-type apps. It is noteworthy that manual removal (unaided by security software) might not be an ideal solution. Since even after the adware has been manually removed - various files can remain hidden within the system. These remnants may continue to run and cause issues. Hence, it is paramount to eliminate advertising-supported software 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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