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Macsafesearch.net Redirect (Mac)

Also Known As: Mac Safe Search browser hijacker
Type: Mac Virus
Damage level: Medium

What is macsafesearch.net?

macsafesearch.net is a fake Internet search engine that, according to the developers, enhances the browsing experience by generating improved results. Judging on appearance alone, macsafesearch.net may seem similar to Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other legitimate search engines.

Therefore, many users believe that this website is also legitimate, however, developers promote macsafesearch.net using a browser-hijacking application called Mac Safe Search. Be aware that macsafesearch.net and Mac Safe Search collect information relating to users' Internet browsing activity.

macsafesearch.net browser hijacker on a Mac computer

Mac Safe Search targets Safari, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox. Immediately after infiltration, it assigns macsafesearch.net as the default search engine, new tab URL, and homepage settings. Although these changes may not seem significant, users are unable to revert them.

Research shows that Mac Safe Search continually reassigns browser options when attempts are made to change them. In this way, it prevents users from returning browsers to their previous states. Ultimately, users are forced to visit macsafesearch.net when they open a new browser tab or search via the URL bar. This significantly diminishes the web browsing experience.

Once a query is entered, macsafesearch.net redirects users to Yahoo - a legitimate search engine. Therefore, users end up searching the Internet via Yahoo. Note that macsafesearch.net gives no real value for regular users. Mac Safe Search and macsafesearch.net are designed to record IP addresses, search queries, URLs visited, and other similar information.

The data might contain personal details that developers share with third parties (potentially, cyber criminals). These people commonly misuse private data to generate revenue. This behavior can lead to serious privacy issues or even identity theft. We strongly recommend that you uninstall the Mac Safe Search browser hijacker and never return to macsafesearch.net

Threat Summary:
Name Mac Safe Search browser hijacker
Threat Type Mac malware, Mac virus
Symptoms Your Mac became slower than normal, you see unwanted pop-up ads, you get redirected to shady websites.
Distribution methods Deceptive pop-up ads, free software installers (bundling), fake flash player installers, torrent file downloads.
Damage Internet browsing tracking (potential privacy issues), displaying of unwanted ads, redirects to shady 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.

macsafesearch.net shares many similarities with dozens of other fake search engines, such as search.pitchofcase.com, go-search.me, and home.searchpulse.net All claim to enhance the browsing experience by generating improved results and, in some cases, providing other "useful features" (e.g., weather forecasts, quick access to popular websites, etc.), however, these claims are merely attempts to give the impression of legitimacy.

These sites are designed only to generate revenue for the developers. Rather than providing the functions promised, fake search engines cause unwanted redirects and gather sensitive data. Furthermore, some generate misleading search results and intrusive advertisements that lead to dubious (potentially, malicious) websites. Therefore, using fake search engines risks various computer infections.

How did macsafesearch.net install on my computer?

As mentioned above, macsafesearch.net is promoted via Mac Safe Search. This browser hijacker has an official download website, however, in most cases, Mac Safe Search infiltrates systems without permission, since developers proliferate it using "bundling" and intrusive advertising methods.

"Bundling" is stealth installation of third party applications with regular software/apps. Developers hide "bundled" apps within various sections (for example, "Advanced/Custom" options) of the download or installation processes, whilst intrusive advertisements redirect to malicious websites and even run scripts that stealthily download and install malware/PUPs.

In summary, skipping download/installation steps and clicking various advertisements exposes systems to risk of various infections and compromises users' privacy.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

The main reasons for computer infections are poor knowledge and careless behavior. The key to safety is caution. Therefore, pay close attention when downloading/installing software and browsing the Internet. Carefully analyze each step of the download/installation processes and opt-out of all additionally-included programs.

You are also advised to avoid using third party download/installation tools, since criminals monetize them using the "bundling" method (promoting PUPs). Download your apps from official sources only, using direct download links. Note that intrusive advertisements may seem legitimate, but often lead to gambling, adult dating, pornography, and other dubious sites.

Most intrusive ads are delivered by adware-type PUPs. If you continually encounter suspicious redirects, uninstall all suspicious applications and browser plug-ins. Having a legitimate anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and running at all times is also paramount.

Website promoting Mac Safe Search:

Dubious website used to promote macsafesearch.net

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 adware and browser hijackers from a Mac computer:

macsafesearch.net redirect removal:

Remove macsafesearch.net-related potentially unwanted applications from your "Applications" folder:

mac browser hijacker removal from applications folder

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 mac safe search browser hijacker related files and folders:

Finder go to folder command

Click the Finder icon, from the menu bar, choose Go, and click Go to Folder...

step1Check for adware-generated files in the /Library/LaunchAgents folder:

removing adware from launch agents folder step 1

In the Go to Folder... bar, type: /Library/LaunchAgents

removing adware from launch agents folder 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 same string.

step2Check for adware-generated files in the /Library/Application Support folder:

removing adware from application support folder step 1

In the Go to Folder... bar, type: /Library/Application Support

removing adware from application support folder 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.

step3Check for adware-generated files in the ~/Library/LaunchAgents folder:

removing adware from ~launch agents folder step 1


In the Go to Folder bar, type: ~/Library/LaunchAgents

removing adware from ~launch agents folder 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 same string.

step4Check for adware-generated files in the /Library/LaunchDaemons folder:

removing adware from launch daemons folder step 1
In the Go to Folder... bar, type: /Library/LaunchDaemons

removing adware from launch daemons folder 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.

step 5 Scan your Mac with Combo Cleaner:

If you have followed all the steps in the correct order you Mac should be clean of infections. To be sure 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 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 it's virus definition database and click "Start Combo Scan" button.

scan-with-combo-cleaner-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.

scan-with-combo-cleaner-2

After removing files and folders generated by the adware, continue to remove rogue extensions from your Internet browsers.

Mac Safe Search browser hijacker homepage and default Internet search engine removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove mac safe search browser hijacker related Safari extensions:

safari browser preferences

Open Safari browser. From the menu bar, select "Safari" and click "Preferences...".

safari extensions window

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 normal browser operation.

Change your homepage:

changing homepage in safari browser

In the "Preferences" window, select the "General" tab. To set your homepage, type the preferred website URL (for example: www.google.com) in the Homepage field. You can also click the “Set to Current Page” button if you wish to set your homepage to the website you are currently visiting.

Change your default search engine:

changing the default Internet search engine in Safari browser

In the "Preferences" window, select the "Search" tab. Here you will find a drop-down menu labelled "Search engine:" Simply select your preferred search engine from the drop-down list.

  • If you continue to have problems with browser redirects and unwanted advertisements - Reset Safari.

firefox browser iconRemove malicious plug-ins from Mozilla Firefox:

Remove mac safe search browser hijacker related Mozilla Firefox add-ons:

accessing mozilla firefox add-ons

Open your Mozilla Firefox browser. At the top right corner of the screen, click the "Open Menu" (three horizontal lines) button. From the opened menu, choose "Add-ons".

removing malicious add-ons from mozilla firefox

Choose the "Extensions" tab and look for any recently-installed suspicious add-ons. When located, click the "Remove" button next to it/them. Note that you can safely uninstall all extensions from your Mozilla Firefox browser - none are crucial for normal browser operation.

Change your homepage:

changing mozilla firefox homepage

To change your homepage, click the "Open Menu" (three horizontal lines) button and choose "Preferences" from the drop-down menu. To set your homepage, type the preferred website URL (for example: www.google.com) in the Homepage Page.

Change default search engine:

mozilla firefox about config

In the URL address bar, type "about:config" and click the "I'll be careful, I promise!" button.

changing mozilla firefox default Internet search engine

In the "Search:" field, type the name of the browser hijacker. Right click on each of the found preferences and click "Reset" from the drop-down menu.

  • If you continue to have problems with browser redirects and unwanted advertisements - Reset Mozilla Firefox.

chrome-browser-iconRemove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:

Remove mac safe search browser hijacker related Google Chrome add-ons:

removing malicious google chrome extensions step 1

Open Google Chrome and click the "Chrome menu" (three horizontal lines) button located in the top-right corner of the browser window. From the drop-down menu, choose "More Tools" and select "Extensions".

removing malicious Google Chrome extensions step 2

In the "Extensions" window, look for any recently-installed suspicious add-ons. When located, click the "Trash" button next to it/them. Note that you can safely uninstall all extensions from your Google Chrome browser - none are crucial for normal browser operation.

Change your homepage:

changing Google Chrome homepage

Click the "Chrome menu" (three horizontal lines) button and choose "Settings". In the "On Startup" section, click the "Set pages" link near to the "Open a specific page or set of pages" option. Remove the URL of the browser hijacker (for example trovi.com) and enter your preferred URL (for example, google.com).

Change default search engine:

changing the default Internet search engine in Google Chrome

Click the "Chrome menu" (three horizontal lines) button and choose "Settings". In the "Search" section, click the "Manage search engines..." button. In the opened window, remove the unwanted Internet search engine by clicking the "X" button next to it. Select your preferred Internet search engine from the list and click the "Make default" button next to it.

  • If you continue to have problems with browser redirects and unwanted advertisements - Reset Google Chrome.

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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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