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How to uninstall the app designed to promote searches.network

Also Known As: searches.network browser hijacker
Type: Mac Virus
Damage level: Medium

What is searches.network?

searches.network is a fake search engine which displays results generated by webcrawler.com, another bogus search engine. Research shows that searches.network is promoted through a potentially unwanted application (PUA), a browser hijacker that users often install through a deceptive Adobe Flash Player installer.

Typically, browser hijackers promote fake search engines by modifying certain browser settings. Note that they are categorized as PUAs, since users often download and install them unintentionally.

searches.network browser hijacker on a Mac computer

Browser hijackers promote fake search engines by assigning their address as the homepage, default search engine and new tab. The main purpose of this is to ensure that users are forced to visit a specific address (in this case, searches.network) when they open a browser, new tab or enter search queries into the URL bar.

As mentioned, searches.network redirects users to webcrawler.com, another dubious search engine. Commonly, these bogus search engines include links to dubious websites in their results and, therefore, they should not be trusted.

To remove searches.network from browser settings, users must first uninstall the browser hijacker, otherwise the app will reassign the settings after each attempt to modify or remove them. Browser hijackers often collect entered search queries, IP addresses, geolocations, and other browsing data.

They might also be capable of accessing sensitive information. The data is sold to third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) or misused to generate revenue in other ways. Therefore, installed PUAs can lead to problems such as identity theft, issues relating to browsing safety, online privacy, etc.

Threat Summary:
Name searches.network browser hijacker
Threat Type Browser hijacker, Mac malware, Mac virus.
Detection Names (flashInstaller.dmg) ALYac (Trojan.OSX.Shlayer), BitDefender (Trojan.GenericKD.34050467), ESET-NOD32 (OSX/Adware.Bundlore.DZ), Microsoft (Trojan:Script/Wacatac.C!ml), Full List (VirusTotal).
Serving IP Address 104.18.44.198
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 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.

searches.cloud, searchsnow.com and prudensearch.com are some of examples of other fake search engines. Typically, they provide results generated by other (often legitimate) search engines or generate those that might include links to dubious pages. In any case, use only legitimate search engines.

If a browser is hijacked by a browser hijacker (settings are modified), uninstall the PUA immediately.

How did searches.network install on my computer?

Research shows that searches.network appears in browser settings when users install a PUA through a deceptive Adobe Flash Player installer. Note that these installers often install malware (e.g., ransomware, Trojan-type malware). PUAs are commonly distributed though the download/installation set-ups of other programs.

This distribution method is called "bundling". Generally, PUAs are included as 'additional offers' in "Custom", "Advanced", "Manual" and other settings. Many users download and install software without checking and changing these settings. This allows PUAs to infiltrate with regular software.

In some cases, unwanted downloads and installations are caused by clicking untrusted, deceptive advertisements that execute certain scripts.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications

You are advised to download files and software only from official pages and through direct links. Peer-to-Peer networks (torrent clients, eMule), third party downloaders, installers, unofficial, dubious websites, etc., should not be trusted. Check all "Custom" and "Advanced" settings and decline offers to download or install PUAs before completing the process.

Do not click advertisements that are displayed on untrusted websites, since they can redirect to potentially malicious pages or cause download/installation of unwanted apps. Remove any unwanted, suspicious extensions, add-ons and plug-ins from the browser.

The same applies 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.

searches.network redirects to webcrawler.com (GIF):

searches.network redirects to webcrawler.com

Deceptive application installer promoting searches.network:

searches.network redirect installer first step searches.network redirect installer second step

IMPORTANT NOTE! Rogue setups/apps that promote the searches.network 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 searches.network (Step 1)

2) Select the "Chrome Settings" profile and delete it.

Remove rogue profiles designed to promote searches.network (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 searches.network browser hijacker using Combo Cleaner:

searches.network redirect removal:

Remove searches.network-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.

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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.

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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.

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