Cultsearch.pw Redirect (Mac)

Also Known As: cultsearch.pw browser hijacker
Type: Mac Virus
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Medium

How to remove cultsearch.pw browser hijacker from Mac?

What is cultsearch.pw?

cultsearch.pw is a fake search engine that is virtually identical to weknow.ac and smartsearch.pw. This site supposedly enhances the browsing experience by generating the most accurate search results. On initial inspection, cultsearch.pw may seem legitimate and useful, however, developers promote this site using browser-hijacking download/installation set-ups designed to modify options without permission. In addition, cultsearch.pw continually records information relating to browsing activity.

cultsearch.pw browser hijacker on a Mac computer

Rogue set-ups target popular browsers such as Safari, Mozilla Firefox, and Google Chrome. Following successful infiltration, they assign the new tab URL, homepage, and default search engine options to cultsearch.pw. These changes may seem insignificant, however, set-ups stealthily install a number of "helper objects" - third party applications or browser plug-ins. "Helper objects" reassign browser options when attempts are made to change them. Therefore, users are unable to return browsers to their previous states and are forced to visit cultsearch.pw when they open a new browser tab or search via the URL bar. This significantly diminishes the browsing experience. Another important downside is information tracking - cultsearch.pw and "helper objects" continually record information such as IP addresses, search queries, URLs visited, pages viewed, and other similar details relating to browsing activity. Collected information might contain personal details that developers share with third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) to generate revenue. These people generate revenue by misusing private information. Thus, information tracking can lead to serious privacy issues or even identity theft. We strongly recommend that you eliminate all potentially unwanted applications immediately and never return to cultsearch.pw.

Threat Summary:
Name cultsearch.pw 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.
Removal

To eliminate cultsearch.pw browser hijacker our malware researchers recommend scanning your computer with Combo Cleaner.
▼ Download Combo Cleaner
Free scanner checks if your computer is infected. To remove malware, you have to purchase the full version of Combo Cleaner.

The internet is full of fake search engines, all of which are virtually identical. They claim to enhance the browsing experience by providing "useful features" (e.g., improved search results, quick access to popular websites, weather forecasts, currency exchange rates, etc.), however, fake search engines have just one purpose: to generate revenue for the developers. Rather than giving any real value for regular users, these sites cause unwanted redirects and gather information, thereby posing a direct threat to your privacy and browsing safety. Some even feed users with misleading results and intrusive advertisements, most of which redirect to dubious (potentially, malicious) websites. Therefore, using fake search engines might lead to various system infections.

How did cultsearch.pw install on my computer?

As mentioned above, cultsearch.pw is promoted using rogue downloaders/installers. This deceptive marketing method is called "bundling". Developers know that users often rush download/installation procedures and skip steps. Therefore, all information regarding modification of browser settings is hidden within "Custom/Advanced" options (or other sections) of the download/installation processes. Furthermore, many users often rush these procedures and skip steps. In doing so, they inadvertently grant set-ups permission to modify settings, expose their systems to risk of various infections, and compromise their privacy.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

Unwanted applications are promoted using the "bundling" method and intrusive advertisements. Therefore, to prevent infiltration by these apps, be very cautious when browsing the internet and downloading/installing software. Carefully analyze each step of the download/installation processes using the "Custom" or "Advanced" settings. In doing so, opt-out of additionally-included programs and decline offers to download/install them. Avoid using third party downloaders/installers, since developers monetize them by promoting ("bundling") unwanted apps. Intrusive advertisements usually redirect to dubious websites or execute scripts designed to download/install rogue applications. Most of these apps seem legitimate, however, once clicked, redirect to dubious websites (pornography, gambling, adult dating, etc.). Most are delivered by adware-type applications. Thus, if you encounter suspicious redirects, immediately remove all suspicious applications and browser plug-ins. If your computer is already infected with browser hijackers, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate them.

IMPORTANT NOTE! Rogue setups/apps that promote the cultsearch.pw website are designed to create a new device profile. Therefore, before taking any further removal steps, perform these actions:
1) Click the "Preferences" icon in the menu bar and select "Profiles".

cultsearch.pw preferences step 1

2) Select the "AdminPrefs" profile and delete it.

cultsearch.pw preferences step 2

3) Perform a full system scan with Combo Cleaner anti-virus suite.

After performing these actions, you can proceed with further removal steps for this browser hijacker.

Instant automatic removal of cultsearch.pw browser hijacker: 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 cultsearch.pw browser hijacker. 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. Free scanner checks if your computer is infected. To remove malware, you have to purchase the full version of Combo Cleaner.

Quick menu:

Video showing how to remove browser redirects to cultsearch.pw using Combo Cleaner:

cultsearch.pw redirect removal:

Remove cultsearch.pw-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 cultsearch.pw 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.

cultsearch.pw browser hijacker homepage and default Internet search engine removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove cultsearch.pw 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 cultsearch.pw 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 cultsearch.pw 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.