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How to remove the ModuleUpgrade adware from your operating system

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

What is ModuleUpgrade?

ModuleUpgrade is a rogue app that our researchers found during a routine inspection of new submissions to VirusTotal. Our analysis of ModuleUpgrade revealed that it operates as advertising-supported software (adware) and belongs to the AdLoad malware family.

ModuleUpgrade adware

ModuleUpgrade adware overview

Adware is designed to run intrusive advertisement campaigns. In other words, this software displays adverts on visited websites and/or different interfaces. The ads promote various scams, unreliable/harmful sites and software, and even malware. Furthermore, some intrusive advertisements can perform stealthy downloads/installations when clicked.

It is pertinent to mention that any legitimate products/services encountered via these adverts are highly unlikely to be promoted by their developers/creators. Scammers often abuse affiliate programs of genuine content in order to obtain illegitimate commissions for the promotion.

Advertising-supported software may need certain conditions to deliver intrusive ad campaigns, e.g., compatible browser/system specs or user geolocation, visits to specific websites, etc. Even if ModuleUpgrade does not display advertisements - its presence endangers device and user safety.

Furthermore, this rogue application might have browser-hijacking abilities since they are common for AdLoad adware. However, ModuleUpgrade did not display any during testing.

What is more, this app likely collects sensitive user data. Adware typically gathers browsing and search engine histories, usernames/passwords, personally identifiable details, credit card numbers, and so forth. This vulnerable information can be monetized via sale to third-parties or otherwise abused for profit.

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

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by ModuleUpgrade
Threat Type Adware, Mac malware, Mac virus
Detection Names Avast (MacOS:AdAgent-L [Adw]), Combo Cleaner (Gen:Variant.Adware.MAC.AdLoad.8), 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

We have inspected thousands of adware-type apps; GeneralOperationConnectedFieldPrimaryRotator, and AlphaExplorer are merely some examples. Advertising-supported software usually appears legitimate and harmless. It also promises "useful" and "advantageous" features, which are rarely operational.

How did ModuleUpgrade install on my computer?

"Bundling" - i.e., packing regular software installers with unwanted/malicious supplements - is used to distribute adware. Download from dubious channels (e.g., freeware and third-party sites, P2P sharing networks, etc.) and rushed installations (e.g., used "Easy/Quick" settings) increase the risk of allowing bundled content into the system.

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

Advertising-supported software is also promoted on its "official" download pages and scam sites. Most users enter these webpages via redirects caused by misspelled URLs, websites using rogue advertising networks, spam browser notifications, intrusive adverts, or installed adware (with the ability to force-open sites).

How to avoid installation of adware?

We advise researching software and downloading it from official/verified sources. Additionally, installation processes must be approached with caution, e.g., by reading terms, inspecting possible options, using the "Custom/Advanced" settings, and opting-out of supplementary apps, extensions, etc.

We also recommend being careful while browsing since fraudulent and malicious content usually appears legitimate. For example, intrusive advertisements may look ordinary/harmless yet redirect to highly questionable websites (e.g., gambling, pornography, adult-dating, etc.).

In case of encounters with ads and/or 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 ModuleUpgrade, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate this adware.

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

Pop-up displayed once ModuleUpgrade installation is complete

ModuleUpgrade adware's installation folder:

ModuleUpgrade 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 ModuleUpgrade adware using Combo Cleaner:

ModuleUpgrade adware removal:

Remove ModuleUpgrade-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 classified as a threat to user privacy - since this software typically gathers private data. Additionally, adware-delivered ads promote deceptive and malicious content that can cause serious issues like system infections, financial losses, and others.

What does adware do?

Adware stands for advertising-supported software. Its primary functions can include displaying advertisements on various interfaces, causing redirects, and collecting private information.

How do adware developers generate revenue?

Adware generates revenue mainly through affiliate programs by endorsing content. The developers might earn commission from ad clicks, website visits, file downloads, product purchases, service subscriptions, or similar.

Will Combo Cleaner remove ModuleUpgrade adware?

Yes, Combo Cleaner will scan your computer and eliminate all the adware-type apps present. Keep in mind that manual removal (performed without the aid of security programs) might be ineffective. In some instances, even after the adware has been manually removed - various components (files) remain hidden within the system. These remnants can continue to run and cause problems. 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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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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