How to uninstall apps that promote prudensearch.com?

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

How to remove prudensearch.com browser hijacker from Mac?

What is prudensearch.com?

Prudensearch.com is an address of a fake search engine which supposed to improve browsing experience (generate accurate results, provide a quick access to various popular pages, etc.). As a rule, such search engines are promoted through potentially unwanted applications (PUAs) classified as browser hijackers. Prudensearch.com is promoted through a PUA called PrudenSearch. Typically, apps of this type promote fake search engines by changing certain browser's settings. It is common that apps of this type not only change settings but also gather various data. PrudenSearch is distributed through some deceptive Adobe Flash Player installer which is used to distribute other PUAs named Media Player, Easy Mac Care and Shoptimizely too.

prudensearch.com browser hijacker on a Mac computer

PrudenSearch promotes prudensearch.com by assigning it as an address of a default search engine. It is worthwhile to mention that most browser hijackers change address of a homepage and new tab too. Prudensearch.com is a fake search engine because it displays results generate by Bing, although, it redirects users to bing.com through trovi.com, another shady address. It is common that apps like PrudenSearch do not allow users to undo the changes that were made by them as long as they are installed. It means that prudensearch.com can be removed from browser's settings only when PrudenSearch is uninstalled. Another problem with such PUAs is that they often are designed to gather details like user's IP addresses, geolocations, addresses of visited pages, entered search queries, and/or other browsing data. It is possible that collected data may be misused to generate revenue by selling it to third parties (potentially cyber criminals) or in some other way. Therefore, such apps have such apps may lead to problems like identity theft, issues related to browsing safety, online privacy. Apps of this type should never be downloaded and installed. Fake search engines should never be used as well. As mentioned in the introduction, PrudenSearch is distributed alongside with Shoptimizely (adware) and Easy Mac Care and Media Player - a couple of other PUAs. These applications should not be trusted as well. Therefore, it they are installed on a browser and/or computer, then they should be uninstalled from it right away.

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 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.
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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 like prudensearch.com are search.getstranto.club, my-search.site and go.coloringmaster.net. Typically, fake search engines do not generate independent results, they display results generated by some other search engine (like Bing, Yahoo, Google). Also, some fake search engines display misleading results/promote questionable websites. As mentioned in the introduction, PrudenSearch (and other PUAs) are distributed through a deceptive installer. It is common that such installers are used to distribute not only PUAs but also malware (e.g., ransomware, Trojans). Therefore, such installers should never be used to install any applications.

How did prudensearch.com install on my computer?

This fake search engine appears in browser's settings when users install PrudenSearch through a deceptive Adobe Flash Player installer. Although, PUAs can be installed through setups of other programs and deceptive ads as well. Unwanted downloads, installations through setups of other programs happen when users leave their settings like "Custom", "Advanced" of setups unchanged. By leaving those settings unchanged users allow for additionally included apps to be downloaded and/or installed together with some desired software. This distribution method of potentially unwanted software is known as "bundling". Downloads, installations through deceptive ads can happen only when users click ads that are designed to execute certain scripts.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

It is strongly recommended to download software only from official websites, through direct links and avoid using various third party downloaders (and installers), Peer-to-Peer networks (e.g., eMule, torrent clients), unofficial sites and other channels of this kind for that. Another way to avoid unwanted downloaders and/or installations is not to leave "Advanced", "Custom" and other settings of any download and installation setup unchecked. Those settings often mention offers to download and/or install additional software that can be declined before completing downloads and/or installations. Additionally, it can be avoided by not clicking advertisements that appear on questionable websites. It is because such ada tend to open other untrustworthy pages or even cause downloads or installations of unwanted apps by executing certain scripts. If some unwanted, suspicious plug-in, extension or add-on is already installed on a browser or program of this kind is installed on the operating system, then it should be removed/uninstalled right away. 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

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

prudensearch.com deceptive installer

Prudensearch.com assigned as default search engine in Chrome:

prudensearch.com assigined as default search engine in chrome settings

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.

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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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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