What is UniversalKey adware

UniversalKey is a very generic adware infection that targets Mac computers. While UniversalKey may be advertised as a useful extension that will make the browsing experience better, it would actually do the opposite. The adware will bombard you with ads while you browse and expose you to questionable content. UniversalKey adware isn’t malicious so it will not directly harm your Mac. Nonetheless, you need to remove UniversalKey adware as soon as possible because its ads would expose you to dangerous content, including scams and malware.

 

UniversalKey adware

 

UniversalKey adware is essentially the same as DirectNetwork, ProcesserGrid, CommonCreative, BlissFresh, and many other adware infections because they’re from the same adware family. The main point of adware is to expose you to as much advertisement content as possible, which is why you will be spammed with ads of all kinds. That includes regular ads, pop-ups, and even redirects. Even if the adware will not directly harm your computer, its generated ads could expose you to very questionable content, such as tech-support scams, fake virus alerts, and bogus giveaways. We don’t recommend interacting with any ads while adware is installed on your Mac.

UniversalKey adware will change your browser’s settings as well because it has some browser hijacker characteristics. More specifically, it will change your homepage/new tabs, as well as set a questionable default search engine. The changes will affect all popular browsers, including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Safari. You will also not be able to undo the setting changes while the adware is still installed.

UniversalKey adware will track your browsing and collect certain information. To be more specific, it will track what you search for, what content you interact with, your IP address, etc. This information is also shared with or sold to third parties, who would use it for advertising purposes. The data collection is intrusive enough to warrant removal. There’s also no reason why you should put up with this data collection, especially because the adware does nothing but spam you with ads.

Adware installation methods

Infections like adware, browser hijackers, and potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) are often installed via the free software bundling method. This installation method allows programs to install without explicit permission. This is why it’s a popular installation method for unwanted programs like adware. The way it works is these infections are attached to free software as extra offers, and these offers are permitted to install alongside without requiring explicit permission from users. This makes the method quite controversial, and programs that use it are often detected as potential threats by anti-virus vendors.

While the offers are preselected to install alongside programs, they’re technically optional. If users do not want these unwanted offers, they need to manually deselect them. Many users are unable to do that simply because the offers are hidden during installation. If you want to prevent these unwanted installations, you need to learn to install free software correctly. What we mean by that is opting for Advanced (Custom) settings when given the option. The installation window may recommend using Default settings but following this advice will result in all added offers being installed without your explicit permission. However, Advanced settings will make added offers visible and give you the option to deselect everything. All you need to do is deselect the boxes of those offers. Some offers may seem useful at first sight but allowing them to install would be a mistake. You will only fill your computer with junk programs that can be quite annoying to get rid of. It’s much easier to uncheck a couple of boxes during installation than it is to get rid of them once they’re already installed.

It’s also very common to find adware and browser hijackers promoted as useful tools. It’s especially common on third-party download websites where loads of freeware are offered to users. It’s highly recommended to research programs before installing them in the future. In most cases, it’s enough to use a search engine like Google to look into a program.

Fake virus alerts and update notifications also push adware and browser hijacker infections. The fake alerts are usually displayed on high-risk websites. For example, sites that have pornographic or pirated content often have these fake alerts. You should never download anything from these alerts because you’ll end up with various infections.

UniversalKey adware removal

You can remove UniversalKey adware both manually and using anti-virus software. It’s not a dangerous infection so you can uninstall UniversalKey adware yourself. The process can be tedious because it involves multiple steps but it’s not difficult. You can find instructions below this report. If you’re looking for a quicker and easier solution, we recommend using anti-virus software. The program would take care of it without you needing to do anything. The additional ads will stop, and you will be able to change your browser’s settings like normal once the adware is gone.

Remove UniversalKey from your Applications folder.

  1. Open Finder → Applications.
    Finder (Applications) What is UniversalKey adware
  2. Find UniversalKey among your installed Applications, and drag it to the Trash.

Remove UniversalKey related files and folders

  1. Open Finder → Go → Go to Folder.
    Finder (Go to folder) What is UniversalKey adware
  2. Type /Library/LaunchAgents in the “Go to the folder” window, and press Go.
    Finder (LaunchAgents) What is UniversalKey adware
  3. Check the folder for any suspicious, recently-added files and drag them to the Trash.
  4. Finder → Go → Go to Folder.
  5. Type ~/Library/Application Support in the “Go to the folder” window, and press Go.
    Finder (Application Support) What is UniversalKey adware
  6. Check the folder for any suspicious, recently-added folders and drag them to the Trash.
  7. Finder → Go → Go to Folder.
  8. Type ~/Library/LaunchAgents in the “Go to the folder” window, and press Go.
    Finder LaunchAgents What is UniversalKey adware
  9. Check the folder for any suspicious, recently-added files and drag them to the Trash.
  10. Finder → Go → Go to Folder.
  11. Type /Library/LaunchDaemons in the “Go to the folder” window, and press Go.
    Finder (LaunchDaemons) What is UniversalKey adware
  12. Check the folder for any suspicious, recently-added files and drag them to the Trash.

Remove UniversalKey from Safari

  1. Open Safari → Safari → Preferences.
    Safari Preferences What is UniversalKey adware
  2. In Preferences, click on the Extensions tab.
  3. In Extensions, find UniversalKey and click Uninstall.
    Safari extension (remove) What is UniversalKey adware

Remove UniversalKey from Mozilla Firefox

  1. Open Mozilla Firefox → Menu (the bars at the top right corner) → Add-ons and themes.
    Firefox What is UniversalKey adware
  2. In the Extensions tab, find UniversalKey, click on the three dots, and click Remove.
    Firefox extensions tab What is UniversalKey adware

Remove UniversalKey from Google Chrome

  1. Open Google Chrome → Menu (the three dots at the top right corner) → More Tools → Extensions.
    Google-chrome-pref What is UniversalKey adware
  2. In Extensions, find UniversalKey and click Remove.
    Google-chrome-extensions What is UniversalKey adware

 

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