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How to stop browsers from opening qsearch.pw

Also Known As: qsearch.pw browser hijacker
Type: Mac Virus
Damage level: Medium

What is qsearch.pw?

There are many fake search engines such as qsearch.pw on the internet. The site supposedly enhances the browsing experience by delivering faster and more accurate results. It may seem similar to other, legitimate search engines created by Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc., however, you are advised not to trust qsearch.pw or other similar search engines.

Typically, developers promote fake search engines through rogue download/installation set-ups that change browser settings, which are called browser hijackers. To promote qsearch.pw, they use the setup of a fake Adobe Flash Player. Additionally, most fake search engines gather information relating to users' browsing habits.

qsearch.pw browser hijacker on a Mac computer

Qsearch.pw overview

Typically, browser hijackers change settings of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Safari browsers - they modify the address of the default search engine, homepage, and new tab - in this case, assigning them to qsearch.pw.

Therefore, users of hijacked browsers are forced to visit this site when they open a browser/new browser window, new tab, or enter a search query into the URL bar. These set-ups generally install 'helper objects' (third party apps such as browser extensions, plug-ins, or add-ons) to prevent users from changing the settings.

To revert or change them, the helper objects must be uninstalled. Note that qsearch.pw displays results generated by Yahoo (it opens search.yahoo.com) and generates no unique results (and is, thus, redundant). Furthermore, when search.yahoo.com is opened through qsearch.pw, the search results contain various dubious ads.

Note that browser hijackers and fake search engines such as qsearch.pw also gather information such as IP addresses, geolocations, URLs of visited pages, entered search queries, and so on. Some might also be designed to collect personal data.

Typically, people who develop fake search engines and information-tracking apps share the data with other parties (potentially, cyber criminals) who misuse it to generate revenue. To avoid privacy issues, problems with browsing safety, and even identity theft, uninstall all unwanted apps immediately.

If the browser causes redirects to qsearch.pw, unwanted software might already be installed on the browser or operating system.

Threat Summary:
Name qsearch.pw browser hijacker
Threat Type Mac malware, Mac virus
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), fake flash player installers, 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.

Fake search engine examples

Other fake search engines similar to qsearch.pw include smartsearch.pw, search.epolife.com, and searchbaron.com. Unfortunately, there are many more. Typically, these search engines are presented as 'useful and legitimate', however, they deliver no real value. Developers design them to gather various data that can be used to generate revenue.

How did qsearch.pw install on my computer?

Most search engines such as qsearch.pw are promoted through dubious download and installation set-ups. One of the set-ups used to promote qsearch.pw is that of a fake Adobe Flash Player. Many people allow these set-ups to change browser settings unintentionally.

Generally, information about these modifications is hidden in settings such as "Custom", "Advanced", etc. People often leave these setting unchanged, thereby inadvertently allowing rogue set-ups to make changes to the default browser.

How to avoid installation of browser hijackers?

To avoid unwanted downloads and installations, download software from official and trustworthy websites. Do not use third party downloaders, installers, Peer-to-Peer networks (torrent clients, eMule, and so on), or other similar software or unofficial web pages. Study each setup and check "Advanced", "Custom", and other similar settings.

If a setup includes unwanted, additional software or offers to change browser settings, deselect them before completing the download/installation process. Do not trust intrusive ads. When clicked, they can cause redirects to untrustworthy websites or unwanted downloads/installations.

To stop your browser from showing ads or opening dubious web pages, uninstall all unwanted extensions, plug-ins, and add-ons. Problems can also be caused by programs installed on the operating system, so check the list of programs installed on your computer.

If your computer is already infected with browser hijackers, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate them.

Appearance of qsearch.pw (GIF):

qsearch.pw appearance

Dubious web page that promotes a fake Flash Player designed to promote qsearch.pw:

Delusive installer used to promote qsearch.pw

IMPORTANT NOTE! Rogue setups/apps that promote the qsearch.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"

qsearch.pw preferences step 1

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

qsearch.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 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 qsearch.pw browser hijacker using Combo Cleaner:

qsearch.pw redirect removal:

Remove qsearch.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 browser hijacker-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 browser hijacker 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 browser hijackers - "installmac.AppRemoval.plist", "myppes.download.plist", "mykotlerino.ltvbit.plist", "kuklorest.update.plist", etc. Browser hijacker commonly installs several files with the exact same string.

Mac removing related files and folders - step 2Check for browser hijacker 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 browser hijacker 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 browser hijackers - "installmac.AppRemoval.plist", "myppes.download.plist", "mykotlerino.ltvbit.plist", "kuklorest.update.plist", etc. Browser hijacker commonly installs several files with the exact same string.

Mac removing related files and folders - step 4Check for browser hijacker 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 browser hijackers, continue to remove rogue extensions from your Internet browsers.

Remove browser hijackers from Internet browsers

Safari iconRemove Safari browser hijackers:

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.

Change your homepage:

Change Safari homepage

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:

Change Safari default search engine

In the "Preferences" window, select the "Search" tab. Here you will find a drop-down menu labeled "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.

Google Chrome logoRemove Google Chrome browser hijackers:

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

Change your homepage

Change Google Chrome homepage

Click the Chrome menu icon Google Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome) and select "Settings". In the "On startup" section, disable the malicious extension (if present), look for a browser hijacker URL below the "Open a specific or set of pages" option. If present, click on the three vertical dots icon and select "Remove".

Change your default search engine:

Change Google Chrome default search engine

To change your default search engine in Google Chrome: Click the Chrome menu icon Google Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "Settings", in the "Search engine" section, click "Manage search engines...", in the opened list look for a browser hijacker URL, when located click the three vertical dots near this URL and select "Delete".

  • 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

Change your homepage

Change Mozilla Firefox homepage

To reset your homepage, click the Firefox menu firefox menu icon (at the top right corner of the main window), then select "Settings", in the opened window disable malicious extension (if present), remove the browser hijacker URL and enter your preferred domain, which will open each time you start Mozilla Firefox.

Change your default search engine:

Change Mozilla Firefox default search engine - step 1

In the URL address bar, type "about:config" and press Enter. Click "Accept the Risk and Continue".

Change Mozilla Firefox default search engine - step 2

In the search filter at the top, type: "extensionControlled". Set both results to "false" by either double-clicking each entry or clicking the Mozilla Firefox switch about:config entry button button.

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

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the purpose of forcing users to visit qsearch.pw website?

Redirects to websites like qsearch.pw are caused because cyber criminals (i.e., developers of fake search engines and browser hijackers) generate revenue through them.

Is visiting qsearch.pw a threat to my privacy?

Most likely, yes. Sites like qsearch.pw usually collect information about their visitors. The gathered data can then be sold to third-parties (potentially, cyber criminals).

How did a browser hijacker infiltrate my computer?

Browser hijackers are mainly distributed through fake updates, misleading promotional webpages, freeware and third-party download sites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks (e.g., Torrent clients, Gnutella, eMule, etc.), online scams, spam browser notifications, and intrusive advertisements.

Will Combo Cleaner help me remove browser hijackers?

Yes, Combo Cleaner can scan devices and eliminate installed browser-hijacking apps. It is pertinent to mention that manual removal (unaided by security programs) might be ineffective. In cases when multiple browser hijackers are present, after one is removed - the others may re-install it. Furthermore, removal-related settings might be unmodifiable with browser-hijacking software installed. Hence, browser hijackers must be eliminated thoroughly and all at once.

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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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