How to uninstall apps that promote prudensearch.com

Also Known As: PrudenSearch browser hijacker
Type: Mac Virus
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Medium

How to remove the prudensearch.com browser hijacker from Mac computers

What is prudensearch.com?

prudensearch.com is the address of a fake search engine supposedly designed to improve the browsing experience (generate accurate results, provide quick access to various popular pages, etc.). Generally, these search engines are promoted through potentially unwanted applications (PUAs) classified as browser hijackers. Note that prudensearch.com is promoted through a PUA called PrudenSearch. Typically, apps of this type promote fake search engines by changing certain browser settings. They also gather various data. PrudenSearch is distributed through a deceptive Adobe Flash Player installer, which is also used to distribute other PUAs named Media Player, Easy Mac Care and Shoptimizely.

prudensearch.com browser hijacker on a Mac computer

PrudenSearch promotes prudensearch.com by assigning it as the address of the default search engine. Note that most browser hijackers also change the address of the homepage and new tab. Additionally, prudensearch.com is classified as a fake search engine, since it displays results generated by Bing, however, it actually redirects users to bing.com through trovi.com (another dubious address). Commonly, apps such as PrudenSearch do not allow users to undo the changes that were made by them as long as they are installed. Therefore, prudensearch.com can be removed from browser settings only when PrudenSearch is uninstalled. These PUAs often gather details such as users' IP addresses, geolocations, addresses of visited pages, entered search queries, and other browsing data. It is possible that the data will be misused to generate revenue by selling it to third parties (potentially, cyber criminals), or in other ways. Therefore, these apps can lead to problems such as identity theft, issues relating to browsing safety, and online privacy. Never download or install any PUAs, and avoid fake search engines. As mentioned, PrudenSearch is distributed together with Shoptimizely (adware) and Easy Mac Care and Media Player, other PUAs. These applications should not be trusted. If they are installed on the browser or computer, remove them immediately.

Threat Summary:
Name PrudenSearch browser hijacker
Threat Type Browser hijacker, Mac malware, Mac virus.
Detection Names (of a deceptive installer) Avast (MacOS:Agent-FJ [Adw]), BitDefender (Adware.MAC.Bundlore.EGJ), Emsisoft (Adware.MAC.Bundlore.EGJ (B)), Kaspersky (Not-a-virus:HEUR:AdWare.OSX.Bnodlero.ah), Full List (VirusTotal).
Serving IP Address 104.26.7.110
Additional Payload Media Player, Easy Mac Care, Shoptimizely
Symptoms Your Mac became 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 browsing 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 three days free trial available.

prudensearch.com is virtually identical to searchmine.net. More examples of fake search engines similar to prudensearch.com are search.getstranto.club, my-search.site and go.coloringmaster.net. Typically, they do not generate independent results, and simply display those generated by other search engines (such as Bing, Yahoo, Google). Fake search engines also display misleading results and promote dubious websites. As mentioned, PrudenSearch (and other PUAs) are distributed through a deceptive installer. Commonly, such installers are used to distribute PUAs and also malware (e.g., ransomware, Trojans). Therefore, never use them to install any applications.

How did prudensearch.com install on my computer?

This fake search engine appears in browser settings when users install PrudenSearch through a deceptive Adobe Flash Player installer. PUAs can also be installed through the set-ups of other programs and deceptive ads. Unwanted downloads and installations through set-ups of other programs happens when people fail to check and change settings such as "Custom" and "Advanced" - this allows additionally-included apps to be downloaded and installed with the required software. This distribution method of potentially unwanted software is known as "bundling". Rogue downloads and installations also happen when people click intrusive ads that execute certain scripts.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications

You are strongly advised to download all software from official websites and through direct links. Avoid third party downloaders (and installers), Peer-to-Peer networks (e.g., eMule, torrent clients), unofficial sites and other channels of this kind. Check "Advanced", "Custom", and other settings and decline offers to download or install additional software before completing the process. Do not click advertisements that appear on dubious websites, since they can open other untrusted pages or even cause download/installation of unwanted apps by executing certain scripts. Remove any unwanted, suspicious plug-ins, extensions and add-ons already installed on the browser, and programs of this kind installed on the operating system. If your computer is already infected with browser hijackers, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate them.

prudensearch.com redirects to bing.com via trovi.com (GIF):

prudensearch.com redirects to bing.com throuh trovi.com

Deceptive application installer promoting prudensearch.com, Media Player, Shoptimizely and Easy Mac Care:

prudensearch.com deceptive installer

prudensearch.com assigned as the default search engine in Chrome:

prudensearch.com assigined as default search engine in chrome settings

This browser hijacker modifies the Google Chrome web browser itself, thereby making it unfixable. For this reason, in order to use it you have to re-install a fresh copy once all the malicious files are removed.

Browser hijacker corrupting Google Chrome web browser (Mac)

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

Remove rogue profiles designed to promote prudensearch.com (Step 1)

2) Select the "Chrome Settings" and "Safari Settings" profiles and delete them.

Remove rogue profiles designed to promote prudensearch.com

Remove rogue profiles designed to promote prudensearch.com

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.

Update 19 October 2020 - Criminals have recently updated the Pruden Search browser hijacker by adding a feature that allows it to add the "Managed by your organization" entry to Google Chrome.

Screenshot of Google Chrome browser with "Managed by your organization" entry:

Pruden Search managing Google Chrome browser

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 three days free trial available.

Quick menu:

Video showing how to remove prudensearch.com browser hijacker using Combo Cleaner:

prudensearch.com redirect removal:

Remove prudensearch.com-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 prudensearch 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.

PrudenSearch browser hijacker homepage and default Internet search engine removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove prudensearch 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 prudensearch 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 prudensearch 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 malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

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

QR Code
PrudenSearch 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 PrudenSearch browser hijacker on your mobile device.
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