How to remove search.assistivedata.com from the browser's settings?

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

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

What is search.assistivedata.com?

Search.assistivedata.com is the address of a fake search engine. It is called fake because it redirects users to google.com (provides search results generated by Google). Like most fake search engines, search.assistivedata.com is promoted through a browser hijacker (one of the apps that promote this address is called SearchModule). A browser hijacker is a type of app that promotes a specific address by changing the browser's settings. It is known that apps promoting the search.assistivedata.com address add the "Managed by your organization" feature to Google Chrome browsers.

search.assistivedata.com browser hijacker on a Mac computer

Typically, browser hijackers promote their search engines by changing settings such as the address of a default search engine, homepage, and new tab. In this case, SearchModule or another app promoting the same fake search engine change those addresses to search.assistivedata.com. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, search.assistivedata.com redirects users to google.com. It is worthwhile to mention that not all fake search engines show search results generated by legitimate search engines: in some cases, they generate misleading results, display ads. Users who have the search.assistivedata.com address in their browser's settings have to uninstall the app that promotes it (e.g., SearchModule) in order to remove it/change it to another address. It is because most browser hijackers do not allow users to undo their changes unless users uninstall them.

One more reason not to have any browser hijacker installed on a browser (or the operating system) is that it can be designed to collect information relating to Internet browsing activities, for example, IP addresses, geolocations, addresses of opened websites, entered search queries. Moreover, sometimes an app of this type can be designed to gather sensitive details too. Either way, browser hijackers are designed to function as data collectors so their developers could use the gathered information for marketing purposes or sell it to third parties (potentially cybercriminals).

Threat Summary:
Name search.assistivedata.com browser hijacker
Threat Type Browser hijacker, Mac malware, Mac virus
Detection Names (SearchModule) Avast (MacOS:Adload-AD [Trj]), AVG (MacOS:Adload-AD [Trj]), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of OSX/TrojanDownloader.Adload.AD), Kaspersky (Not-a-virus:HEUR:AdWare.OSX.Cimpli.l), Full List (VirusTotal)
Detection Names (search.assistivedata.com) Fortinet (Malware), Full List (VirusTotal)
Serving IP Address 13.249.87.62
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.

More examples of fake search engines are searchnewshighlights.com, search.validexplorer.com, and search.accessiblelist.com. It is very uncommon for fake search engines to be used on purpose. Most of the times users are forced to use them because they have some browser hijacker (or adware) installed on their browsers. It is noteworthy that such apps are called potentially unwanted applications (PUAs) because users download and install them accidentally (unknowingly).

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

It is common that users download or install various potentially unwanted applications together with programs: when PUAs are bundled together with those other programs. Usually, PUAs are included in downloaders, installers as additional offers that can be opted out (declined) using their "Advanced", "Custom", or other settings, or checkboxes. Users agree with unwanted offers when they finish downloads and installations without changing any settings (when they complete downloads or installations with default settings). Sometimes users cause unwanted downloads, installations by clicking deceptive advertisements that are designed to execute certain scripts. It is worthwhile to mention that such ads usually appear on dubious pages.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

It is advisable not to open downloads (files) from Peer-to-Peer networks (for example, torrent clients, eMule), third-party downloaders, unofficial pages, free file hosting sites, and so on, or use third-party installers. Files and apps should be downloaded from official pages and via direct links. It is also recommended not to finish download or installation processes without checking downloaders, installers for bundled apps (usually they can be found near checkboxes or in "Custom", "Advanced", or other settings). Furthermore, it is important to avoid clicking on advertisements if they appear while visiting dubious pages or they are displayed by adware. Those ads can open other shady websites or cause unwanted downloads or even installations. Any unknown, unwanted extensions, plug-ins or add-ons that are already installed on a web browser should be removed as soon as possible. Apps of this kind are installed on the operating system should be uninstalled too. 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.assistivedata.com redirects to google.com (GIF):

search.assistivedata.com google results

Delusive application installer promoting app that changes the browser's settings to search.assistivedata.com:

Delusive installer used to promote search.assistivedata.com 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 search.assistivedata.com browser hijacker using Combo Cleaner:

search.assistivedata.com redirect removal:

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

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove search.assistivedata.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.assistivedata.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.assistivedata.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.

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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.

QR Code
search.assistivedata.com browser hijacker QR code
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