Terminate redirects to optimalsearch.me

Also Known As: optimalsearch.me browser hijacker
Type: Mac Virus
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Medium

How to remove optimalsearch.me browser hijacker from Mac?

What is optimalsearch.me?

Identical to searchitnow.info and searchmarquis.com, optimalsearch.me is a fake search engine that supposedly enhances the browsing experience by generating improved results. In fact, this site is promoted using rogue downloaders/installers designed to modify browser settings without users' permission. Additionally, optimalsearch.me gathers data relating to browsing habits.

optimalsearch.me browser hijacker on a Mac computer

Rogue set-ups typically target popular browsers, such as Safari, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and others. These set-ups hijack browsers and assign the new tab URL, homepage, and default search engine options to optimalsearch.me. In addition, rogue set-ups stealthily install a number of "helper objects" (third party applications and/or browser plug-ins). Therefore, although the aforementioned changes may seem insignificant, users are unable to revert them. "Helper objects" reassign options when attempts are made to change them. Therefore, returning browsers to their previous states becomes impossible and users are encouraged to visit optimalsearch.me when they open a new browser tab/window or search via the URL bar. This significantly diminishes the browsing experience. In addition, optimalsearch.me is useless. The purpose of this site is to redirect users to bing.com (Microsoft's search engine) when a search query is entered. To achieve this, optimalsearch.me causes a chain of redirects: optimalsearch.me -> goto-searchitnow.global.ssl.fastly[.]net -> searchroute-1560352588.us-west-2.elb.amazonaws[.]com -> bing.com. Users simply end up searching via the Bing search engine, and thus rendering optimalsearch.me redundant. Note that optimalsearch.me (and "helper objects") continually gather data relating to browsing activity. IP addresses, website URLs visited, pages viewed, search queries, and other collected information is later shared with third parties (potentially, cyber criminals). Criminals misuse included private details to generate revenue. This can lead to various issues, including identity theft. If you encounter redirects to optimalsearch.me, immediately remove all suspicious applications/browser plug-ins and never visit this site again.

Threat Summary:
Name optimalsearch.me browser hijacker
Threat Type Mac malware, Mac virus
Serving IP Addresses 99.84.254.77, 99.84.254.38, 99.84.254.27
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.
Removal

To eliminate optimalsearch.me 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 that share many similarities with thousands of others. All claim to enhance the browsing experience by generating improved results and providing other "useful features" (e.g., weather forecasts, currency exchange rates, file conversion, quick access to popular sites, etc.), however, these claims are merely attempts to give the impression of legitimacy. Fake search engines such as optimalsearch.me are designed only to generate revenue for the developers. Rather than giving any real value for regular users, they cause redirects and gather data.

How did optimalsearch.me install on my computer?

optimalsearch.me is promoted using rogue downloaders/installers. This deceptive marketing method is called "bundling". Developers know that many users often rush download/installation processes and skip steps. Therefore, they hide information regarding modification of browser settings behind "Custom/Advanced" settings or other sections of the download/installation processes. "Helper objects" are also concealed in this way. By rushing and skipping steps, many users inadvertently grant set-ups permission to modify settings, thereby exposing their systems to risk of various infections and compromising their privacy.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

The main reasons for computer infections are poor knowledge of these threats and careless behavior. Caution is the key to safety. Therefore, pay attention during the download/installation processes, and when browsing the internet. Never download software from unofficial sources. Download apps from official sources only, preferably using direct download links. Additionally, select "Custom/Advanced" settings and closely analyze each window of the download/installation dialogs. Opt-out of all additionally-included apps and certainly do not allow set-ups to perform any changes that are irrelevant. Potentially unwanted applications are often distributed using intrusive advertisements delivered by adware-type apps already present on the system. Intrusive advertisements usually seem legitimate, however, they can redirect to dubious websites (pornography, adult dating, survey, gambling, etc.). If you experience these ads/redirects, check the list of installed applications/browser plug-ins and eliminate all suspicious entries. 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 optimalsearch.me website redirecting users to bing.com through goto-searchitnow.global.ssl.fastly[.]net and searchroute-1560352588.us-west-2.elb.amazonaws[.]com (GIF):

optimalsearch.me rediirecting users to bing.com

Instant automatic removal of optimalsearch.me 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 optimalsearch.me 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 stop browser redirects to optimalsearch.me using Combo Cleaner:

optimalsearch.me redirect removal:

Remove optimalsearch.me-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 optimalsearch.me 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.

optimalsearch.me browser hijacker homepage and default Internet search engine removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove optimalsearch.me 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 optimalsearch.me 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 optimalsearch.me 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.

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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Removal Instructions in other languages
Malware activity

Global virus and spyware activity level today:

Medium threat activity
Medium

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

QR Code
optimalsearch.me browser hijacker QR code
A QR code (Quick Response Code) is a machine-readable code which stores URLs and other information. This code can be read using a camera on a smartphone or a tablet. Scan this QR code to have an easy access removal guide of optimalsearch.me browser hijacker on your mobile device.
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Platform: macOS

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