How to remove apps designed to promote search.handlersection.com?

Also Known As: search.handlersection.com browser hijacker
Type: Mac Virus
Distribution: Moderate
Damage level: Medium

How to remove search.handlersection.com browser hijacker from Mac?

What is search.handlersection.com?

Search.handlersection.com is an address of a fake search engine. It displays results generated by Yahoo, although, it provides them after redirecting users to one of the addresses promoted by Safe Finder. Search.handlersection.com also redirects users to search.anysearchmanager.com, address of another shady search engine. As a rule, addresses of fake search engines like search.handlersection.com are promoted by potentially unwanted applications (PUAs) classified as browser hijackers. It is common that such apps are designed not only to promote fake search engines by modifying browser's settings but also to collect various data.

search.handlersection.com browser hijacker on a Mac computer

Typically, browser hijackers promote fake search engines by changing settings such as address of a default search engine, homepage and new tab. In this case a certain browser hijacker changes them to search.handlersection.com. Simply said, apps of this type are designed to force users to visit a certain address when they open a browser, new tab and enter search queries into browser's URL bar. To undo changes that were made by browser hijackers users have to uninstall them. It is because apps of this type prevent users from modifying, undoing settings that were made by them as long as they are installed. As mentioned in the introduction, search.handlersection.com either displays results generated by Yahoo (redirects users to search.yahoo.com via one of the Safe Finder sites), or it redirects users to another fake search engine that may be designed to display misleading results. Either way, neither search.handlersection.com or any other search engine of this kind can be trusted. Furthermore, apps that promote fake search engines often are designed to gather browsing data, for example, IP addresses, geolocations, addresses of visited websites, entered search queries, and so on. Some browser hijackers are capable of accessing sensitive details as well. The main issue with that is that their developers could sell collected data to third parties (potentially cyber criminals) or misuse it to generate revenue in other ways. Therefore, users who have their browsers hijacked by such PUAs may experience problems related to browsing safety, online privacy, or even become victims of identity theft. For these reasons it is recommended not to trust apps of this type and uninstall PUAs that are already installed as soon as possible.

Threat Summary:
Name search.handlersection.com browser hijacker
Threat Type Browser hijacker, Mac malware, Mac virus
Serving IP Address 104.124.58.147
Symptoms Your Mac became slower than normal, you see unwanted pop-up ads, you get redirected to shady websites.
Additional Information Search.handlersection.com redirects to search.yahoo.com via Safe Finder site and to search.anysearchmanager.com
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.

A couple more examples of fake search engines are searches.cloud, searchsnow.com and prudensearch.com. As a rule, such search engines either display results generated by some other, legitimate search engine or generate results that include links to shady pages. Therefore, it is recommended to use only legitimate search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing. As a rule, users do not install apps that are designed to promote fake search engines intentionally. It usually happens in one of the ways that are described below.

How did search.handlersection.com install on my computer?

In most cases browser hijackers and other PUAs get downloaded and/or installed through deceptive advertisements that users intentionally or accidentally click, or during download and/or installation processes of other programs. In the second case it happens when developers distribute PUAs by using a deceptive marketing method called "bundling". To be more precise, they include unwanted apps in download and/or installation setups of other programs as additional offers and hope that users will not decline them. As a rule, offers to download and/or install included apps can be declined through setup's "Custom", "Advanced" and other similar settings. When users download and install programs without checking and changing the aforementioned settings, they allow for included apps to be downloaded and/or installed too. Unwanted downloads and installations via deceptive ads happen when those ads are designed to execute certain scripts.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

It is recommended to always check "Custom", "Advanced", "Manual" and other similar settings of any download or installation setup and see if they mention offers to download and/or install unwanted software. Such offers should be declined before completing download and/or installation processes. Also, software and files should be downloaded only from official pages and via direct links. It is not recommended to download (or install) software from untrustworthy, unofficial websites, through torrent clients, eMule (or other Peer-to-Peer networks), third party downloaders, installers, etc. Since intrusive ads that appear on shady pages tend to open questionable websites or cause unwanted downloads, installations, they should not be clicked as well. If there are any unwanted or suspicious apps (extensions, add-ons or plug-ins) already installed on a browser, then they should be uninstalled from it as soon as possible. The same should be applied to programs of this kind that are 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.

Search.handlersection.com redirects to search.anysearchmanager.com (GIF):

search.handlersection.com opens search.anysearchmanager.com

Search.handlersection.com assigned in Chrome as a homepage:

search.handlersection.com assigned as a homepage

Search.handlersection.com assigned in Chrome as a default search engine:

search.handlersection.com assigned as a default search engine

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 adware and browser hijackers from a Mac computer:

search.handlersection.com redirect removal:

Remove search.handlersection.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 search.handlersection.com 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.

search.handlersection.com browser hijacker homepage and default Internet search engine removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove search.handlersection.com 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 search.handlersection.com 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 search.handlersection.com 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
search.handlersection.com 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 search.handlersection.com browser hijacker on your mobile device.
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