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How to eliminate MainInitiator adware from the operating system

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

What kind of application is MainInitiator?

MainInitiator is a rogue app discovered by our research team during a routine inspection of new file submissions to the VirusTotal platform.

Our analysis revealed that this application is advertising-supported software (adware) belonging to the AdLoad malware family. MainInitiator runs intrusive ad campaigns and may have other harmful capabilities.

MainInitiator adware

MainInitiator adware overview

Adware is designed to display advertisements on visited websites and/or other interfaces. These ads primarily promote online scams, untrustworthy/harmful software, and potential malware. Some of the adverts can even be triggered (i.e., by being clicked) to execute scripts that perform stealthy downloads/installations.

Keep in mind that while legitimate products or services may be encountered through these advertisements – they are highly unlikely to be endorsed in this manner by any official parties. It is most probable that this promotion is undertaken by scammers who abuse the content's affiliate programs to obtain illegitimate commissions.

Advertising-supported software might need certain conditions to run intrusive advert campaigns, such as a compatible browser/system, visits to specific websites, etc. However, regardless of whether MainInitiator displays ads – it endangers device integrity and user safety.

Additionally, AdLoad apps tend to have browser hijacker functionalities, although we did not observe these qualities while examining MainInitiator.

Adware typically has data-tracking abilities, and this might be true of MainInitiator. Targeted information may include: URLs visited, webpages viewed, search queries typed, Internet cookies, log-in credentials, personally identifiable details, finance-related data, and so on. The collected information can then be shared with and/or sold to third-parties.

In summary, the presence of software like MainInitiator on devices may result in system infections, severe privacy issues, financial losses, and identity theft.

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by MainInitiator
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.H), Kaspersky (Not-a-virus:HEUR:AdWare.OSX.Adload.j), 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), 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

MegaUpgradeOptimizationListMapperWaveTermsOpenManagerOpenIntegration, and LoadInvolveOpen are just some examples of adware-type applications that we have analyzed recently.

While this software usually appears legitimate and offers various handy functionalities, it seldom operates as promised. It must be stressed that even if a piece of software works as indicated by its promotional material – that is not a guarantee of either legitimacy or safety.

How did MainInitiator install on my computer?

Adware can have "official" download webpages, and it is promoted on deceptive/scam sites. The majority of visitors access these pages via redirects caused by websites that use rogue advertising networks, mistyped URLs, spam browser notifications, intrusive ads, or installed adware (with browser force-opening abilities).

Advertising-supported software can also be bundled with ordinary programs. The risk of allowing bundled content into the system is increased by downloading from dubious sources (e.g., freeware and third-party websites, P2P sharing networks, etc.) and by treating installations with negligence (e.g., ignoring terms, using "Quick/Easy" settings, etc.).

Intrusive adverts proliferate adware as well. When clicked on, some of these advertisements can execute scripts to perform downloads/installations without user permission.

How to avoid installation of adware?

It is important to always research software before downloading or purchasing it. Furthermore, all downloads must be performed from official and trustworthy channels. When installing, we advise reading times, exploring available options, using the "Custom" or "Advanced" settings, and opting out of all supplements (e.g., apps, extensions, etc.).

Another recommendation is to be careful while browsing since fraudulent and malicious online content usually appears legitimate and harmless. For example, intrusive ads may look innocuous – yet redirect to unreliable and questionable sites (e.g., scam-promoting, pornography, adult dating, gambling, etc.).

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

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

Pop-up displayed once MainInitiator installation is complete

MainInitiator adware's installation folder:

MainInitiator adware install folder

Instant automatic Mac malware removal: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced IT 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 MainInitiator adware using Combo Cleaner:

MainInitiator adware removal:

Remove MainInitiator-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. This software delivers advertisements that promote deceptive/malicious content capable of causing severe issues (e.g., system infections, financial losses, etc.). Adware typically has data-tracking functionalities – therefore, it is considered to be a threat to user privacy.

What does adware do?

Adware stands for advertising-supported software. Primary functions can include displaying ads on various interfaces, generating redirects, and gathering private data.

How do adware developers generate revenue?

Adware developers generate revenue predominantly via affiliate programs by endorsing various websites, applications, browser extensions, products, services, and so forth.

Will Combo Cleaner remove MainInitiator adware?

Yes, Combo Cleaner can scan devices and eliminate installed adware-type applications. It is noteworthy that manual removal (unaided by security programs) might be ineffective. In some instances, various remnants (files) stay hidden within the system after the adware has been manually removed. What is more, the remaining components might continue to run and cause problems. 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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