If you are experiencing suspicious ads, persistent redirects, and unwanted pop-ups while browsing the internet on your Mac, chances are that it is infected with AssistiveDisplaySearch. This potentially unwanted program (PUP) is designed to infect Mac operating systems and claims to be a useful tool for optimizing your browsing experience.
However, it is actually a form of adware that generates fake ads, which can lead you to poorly secured or hazardous websites. This article will tell you more about what AssistiveDisplaySearch is, how it is distributed, how it works, and most importantly, how to remove it from your Mac.
What Is AssistiveDisplaySearch on Mac?
AssistiveDisplaySearch is a type of adware that infiltrates the settings of macOS and installed browsers, causing unwanted browser extensions and app installs. Once it infects your Mac, it initiates changes to your browser settings, including your homepage, new tab page, and search engine. The adware then generates suspicious and persistent ads that redirect you to promoted websites. It aims to generate ad traffic for its clients, and if you click an ad generated by the adware, the authors will get paid. Its primary goal is to attract users to the promoted websites; however, some of these are dangerous and might lead to malicious software installations or data theft.
How Is AssistiveDisplaySearch Distributed?
The most common way for AssistiveDisplaySearch to infiltrate your Mac is through app bundling. Freeware or shareware from untrusted sources comes bundled with this adware, and you may not even notice the bundled app during the installation process. Clicking on malicious ads and visiting infected websites can also trigger the download and self-installation of AssistiveDisplaySearch. Scam emails that contain links to websites where this malware is hosted or malicious attachments are also used for distributing the adware. If you receive an email from someone you know with suspicious content, avoid clicking on any links or attachments.
How Does AssistiveDisplaySearch Work?
AssistiveDisplaySearch is an adware program for macOS that is not a virus; however, it does pose a security threat. The adware generates bogus ads, redirects you to poorly secured or even shady websites, and prompts unsuspecting users to install rogue applications or give up personal information. The adware can also track user data, including usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, and other sensitive information from your Mac.
How to Get Rid of AssistiveDisplaySearch on Mac
Follow these steps to remove AssistiveDisplaySearch from your Mac:
Before you start the removal process, enable these preparatory steps:
- Back up your files: Backup your data to be on the safe side.
- Optimize your Mac: Get rid of Junk files and unnecessary files using a Mac cleaner.
- Charge your Mac: Ensure that your Mac is fully charged in case the removal process takes a while to complete.
Now that you have completed the Prep work, follow these steps to remove AssistiveDisplaySearch:
- Stop all AssistiveDisplaySearch Processes: Find all the processes related to AssistiveDisplaySearch and end them via Activity Monitor on your Mac.
- Uninstall AssistiveDisplaySearch Adware: Right-click on the app associated with AssistiveDisplaySearch, then choose Move to Trash. To complete the removal, empty your Trash.
- Delete AssistiveDisplaySearch Login Items: Highlight the entry you want to stop from running automatically on the Login Items tab, then click on the (-) icon to delete it.
- Delete Leftover Files: Paste the following paths one by one in the Finder menu:
/Library/LaunchDaemons. Delete any malicious items related to AssistiveDisplaySearch.
- Remove AssistiveDisplaySearch Extension from Safari: Open Safari and click Safari from the top menu. Click Preferences>Extensions, then uninstall the AssistiveDisplaySearch extension. Delete all your suspected malicious extensions.
- Revert Changes to Your Homepage in Safari: Click Safari > Preferences, then click General to check if your homepage has been modified. Delete the URL and type in the desired homepage you want to use.
- Reset Safari Settings: Click the Safari menu and click Reset Safari. Select the elements you want to reset, then click Reset to complete the action.
AssistiveDisplaySearch is an adware program that can harm your Mac and compromise online security. Following safe internet habits and installing a trustworthy antivirus can protect your Mac from malware. However, if you suspect that your Mac has been infected with AssistiveDisplaySearch, take the necessary steps immediately to avoid any data theft or damage to your system.