FacebookTwitterLinkedIn

How to remove the Fire Search browser hijacker?

Also Known As: firesear.ch redirect
Type: Mac Virus
Distribution: Moderate
Damage level: Medium

How to remove Fire Search browser hijacker from Mac?

What is Fire Search?

Fire Search is a piece or rogue software that is categorized as a browser hijacker. It operates by making changes to browser settings in order to promote the firesear.ch fake search engine. Additionally, Fire Search adds the "Managed by your organization" feature to Google Chrome browsers. It is also designed to modify the proxy settings, thereby causing redirects as well. Most browser hijackers have data tracking abilities, which are used to collect browsing-related information. Due to the dubious methods employed to distribute Fire Search, it is also classified as a PUA (Potentially Unwanted Application). This browser hijacker has been observed being distributed via fake Adobe Flash Player updates. It is noteworthy that illegitimate software updaters/installers proliferate not only PUAs but also trojans, ransomware, and other malware.

Fire Search browser hijacker on a Mac computer

Browser hijackers mainly target Safari, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and other popular browsers. This software assigns fake web searchers' addresses as browsers' homepage, default search engine, and new tab/window URLs. These seemingly minor alterations seriously affect the browsing quality. To elaborate, with Fire Search installed: new browser tabs/windows opened and web searches done via the URL bar - redirect to firesear.ch. Illegitimate search engines typically cannot provide search results, so they tend to redirect (or cause redirection chains leading) to Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other genuine ones. The firesear.ch web searcher is not an exception to this; it redirects to webcrawler.com. This search engine is legitimate; however, when promoted by Fire Search, the search results it delivers are injected with unrelated websites and various advertisements. It is not unlikely that these results also contain untrustworthy and malicious sites/content.

Browser hijackers take certain actions to ensure persistence. They can reset any changes users attempt to make to their browsers. Alternatively, this software can restrict/deny access to the browser settings outright. Therefore, recovering an affected browser is impossible without eliminating the browser hijacker.

Furthermore, most browser hijackers can track data. Information of interest includes: URLs visited, webpages viewed, search queries typed, IP addresses, geolocations, and even personally identifiable details. The gathered data is then monetized by being shared with and/or sold to third-parties (potentially, cyber criminals). In summary, presence of data-tracking software on devices can lead to severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft. To ensure device integrity and user safety, it is strongly recommended to remove all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins immediately upon detection.

Threat Summary:
Name firesear.ch redirect
Threat Type Browser hijacker, Mac malware, Mac virus
Serving IP Address (firesear.ch) 172.67.220.100
Detection Names (deceptive installer promoting Fire Search browser hijacker) Arcabit (Adware.MAC.Agent.BB), BitDefender (Adware.MAC.Agent.BB), Emsisoft (Adware.MAC.Agent.BB (B)), GData (Adware.MAC.Agent.BA), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
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.
▼ 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.

SearchleeBrilliant Check, and Search Lime are a few examples of browser hijackers. They appear legitimate and offer "handy" functionalities. However, despite how good the promised functions may sound - they are rarely operational. This applies to nearly all PUAs. The sole purpose of unwanted software is to generate profit for the developers. Therefore, instead of delivering on any promises, PUAs can hijack browsers, force-open unreliable and malicious sites, run intrusive advertisement campaigns (adware), and collect private information.

How did Fire Search install on my computer?

PUAs are distributed via download/installation setups of other products. This deceptive marketing technique of packing regular software with unwanted or malicious additions - is called "bundling". Rushed download/installation processes (e.g., skipped steps and sections, used pre-set options, etc.) increase the risk of inadvertently allowing bundled content into the system. Intrusive advertisements spread PUAs as well. Once clicked on, the adverts can execute scripts to stealthily download/install these applications. Select PUAs have "official" promotional/download pages.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

It is recommended to research software before download/installation and/or purchase. Furthermore, all downloads must be done from official and verified sources. Untrustworthy download channels, e.g., unofficial and free file-hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, and other third-party downloaders - commonly offer harmful and/or bundled content. When downloading/installing, it is important to read terms, explore all available options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings and opt-put from supplementary apps, tools, functions, and other additions. Intrusive ads appear ordinary and innocuous; however, they redirect to various unreliable and questionable sites (e.g., gambling, pornography, adult-dating, etc.). In case of encounters with ads and/or redirects of this kind, the device must be checked and all dubious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins detected - removed from it without delay. If your computer is already infected with browser hijackers, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate them.

Delusive application installer (fake Flash Player updater) promoting Fire Search browser hijacker:

Delusive installer used to promote Fire Search browser hijacker

Another deceptive installer promoting Fire Search browser hijacker:

Fire Search browser hijacker-promoting installer setup

Firesear.ch set as the default search engine in Google Chrome settings:

Fire Search browser hijacker managing Google Chrome search engine

Fire Search browser hijacker adding the "Managed by your organization" feature on Google Chrome:

Fire Search browser hijacker adding the Managed by your organization feature

Appearance of firesear.ch redirecting to webcrawler.com (GIF):

Fire Search browser hijacker appearance (GIF)

IMPORTANT NOTE! Rogue setups/apps that promote Fire Search browser hijacker 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 Fire Search (Step 1)

2) Select the "Fire Search" profile and delete it.

Fire Search browser hijacker profile

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.

IMPORTANT NOTE! In some cases malicious applications like Fire Search alter system proxy settings, thereby causing unwanted redirects to a variety of questionable websites.

The redirects are likely to remain even after removing the application itself. Thus, you'll have to restore them manually.

Step 1: Click on the gear icon in the Dock to navigate to the system settings. If the icon is not present in the Dock, you can find it in the Launchpad.

Changing proxy settings - navigate to the system settings

Step 2: Navigate to the Network settings.

Changing proxy settings - navigate to the network settings

Step 3: Select the connected network and click "Advanced...".

Changing proxy settings - select the connected network and click Advanced...

Step 4: Click on the "Proxies" tab and untick all the protocols. You should also set the settings of each protocol to default - "*.local, 169.254/16".

Changing proxy settings - untick all the options and set their settings to default

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 Fire Search browser hijacker using Combo Cleaner:

Fire Search redirect removal:

Remove Fire Search 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 firesear.ch redirect 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.

firesear.ch redirect homepage and default Internet search engine removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove firesear.ch redirect 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 firesear.ch redirect 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 firesear.ch redirect 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.

Click to post a comment

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.

Our malware removal guides are free. However, if you want to support us you can send us a donation.

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
firesear.ch redirect 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 firesear.ch redirect on your mobile device.
We Recommend:

Get rid of Mac malware infections today:

▼ REMOVE IT NOW
Download Combo Cleaner for Mac

Platform: macOS

Editors' Rating for Combo Cleaner:
Editors ratingOutstanding!

[Back to Top]

To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Combo Cleaner. Limited three days free trial available.