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How to uninstall software causing redirects to searchmy.co?

Also Known As: Search My browser hijacker
Type: Mac Virus
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Medium

How to remove searchmy.co browser hijacker from Mac?

What is searchmy.co?

Searchmy.co is the address of a fake search engine. Illegitimate search engines are usually unable to generate search results and collect users' data. Fake web searchers are promoted by PUAs (Potentially Unwanted Applications) classified as browser hijackers. The software promoting searchmy.co has been observed adding the "Managed by your organization" feature to Google Chrome browsers. Browser hijackers cause redirects to their search engines by making modifications to browser settings. Additionally, most browser hijackers have data tracking abilities that are used to record browsing activity and collect sensitive information extracted from it.

searchmy.co browser hijacker on a Mac computer

Safari, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and other browsers with large user bases are typical browser hijacker targets. They operate by assigning illegitimate web searcher addresses as browsers' homepage, default search engine, and new tab/window URLs. These seemingly minor changes seriously affect the browsing quality. To elaborate, with a browser hijacker promoting searchmy.co installed: every single search query typed into the URL bar and new browser tab/window opened - redirect to searchmy.co search engine.

Fake search engines seldom can provide search results, so they tend to redirect to (or cause redirection chains ending with) Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other legitimate ones. Searchmy.co is likewise unable to generate search results. It has been noted redirecting to the genuine webcrawler.com search engine. Alternatively, searchmy.co has been observed redirecting (via flip-search.com) to opti-page.com. The opti-page.com web searcher is fake, and while it can generate search results - they are inaccurate and promote untrustworthy/malicious websites and content.

Furthermore, browser hijackers can undo any changes users try to make to their browsers and/or restrict/deny access to the browser settings outright. Therefore, it is impossible to recover an affected browser is impossible without removing the software hijacking it. What is more, browser hijackers can track data. Information of interest includes: visited URLs, viewed webpages, searched queries, IP addresses, geolocations, and even personally identifiable details. Browser hijacker developers monetize the collected data by sharing it with and/or selling it to third-parties (potentially, cyber criminals). In summary, presence of data-tracking software on browsers/systems - can lead to severe privacy issues, financial losses, and identity theft. To ensure device integrity and user privacy, all suspect applications and browser extensions/plug-ins must be eliminated immediately upon detection.

Threat Summary:
Name Search My browser hijacker
Threat Type Browser hijacker, Mac malware, Mac virus
Detection Names (installer) AegisLab (Riskware.OSX.Generic.1!c), BitDefender (Adware.MAC.Agent.BB), Emsisoft (Adware.MAC.Agent.BB (B)), MAX (Malware (ai Score=87)), Full List (VirusTotal)
Serving IP Address 104.21.33.153
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.

Searcher4u.comsearchfox.mesearchletter.comsearch.assistivedata.com - are some examples of fake search engines, and Search LimeFire SearchBrilliant Check - of browser hijackers. This software appears legitimate and typically offers various "handy" functionalities. However, the advertised features are rarely operational. In fact, this applies to practically all PUAs. The only goal of unwanted apps is to generate revenue for the developers; hence, functionality and user safety are irrelevant. PUAs are designed to hijack browsers, cause redirects, run intrusive advertisement campaigns (adware), and collect private data.

How did searchmy.co install on my computer?

PUAs are distributed via download/installation setups of other products. This deceptive marketing method of packing regular software with unwanted or malicious additions - is termed "bundling". Rushed download/installation processes (e.g., ignored terms, skipped steps, used pre-set options, etc.) increase the risk of inadvertently allowing bundled content into the device. Intrusive advertisements proliferate these applications as well. Once clicked on, the ads can execute scripts to make stealthy downloads/installations. Some PUAs also have "official" promotional/download webpages.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

It is important to research products to verify their legitimacy before download/installation and/or purchase. Additionally, all downloads must be done from official and trustworthy sources. Untrustworthy download channels, e.g., unofficial and free file-hosting sites, P2P sharing networks (Torrent clients, Gnutella, eMule, etc.), and other third-party downloaders - commonly offer harmful and/or bundled content. When downloading/installing, it is recommended to read terms, study available options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings and opt-out from additional apps, tools, features, etc. Intrusive adverts appear legitimate; however, they redirect to highly questionable websites (e.g., gambling, pornography, adult-dating, and many others). In case of encounters with ads and/or redirects of this type, the system must be checked and all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins detected - immediately removed from it. If your computer is already infected with browser hijackers, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate them.

Screenshot of the delusive installer distributing a browser hijacker promoting the searchmy.co fake search engine:

Delusive installer used to promote searchmy.co browser hijacker

Screenshot of "Managed by your organization" feature added to Google Chrome browser by a browser hijacker promoting searchmy.co:

searchmy.co promoting browser hijacker added Managed by your organization feature to Chrome

Screenshot of searchmy.co set as the default search engine on a Google Chrome browser:

searchmy.co set as default in Chrome

Appearance of searchmy.co redirecting to the legitimate webcrawler.com search engine (GIF):

searchmy.co redirecting to webcrawler.com (GIF)

Appearance of searchmy.co redirecting (via flip-search.com) to the opti-page.com fake search engine (GIF):

searchmy.co redirecting (via flip-search.com) to opti-page.com (GIF)

IMPORTANT NOTE! In some cases malicious applications like searchmy.co 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

IMPORTANT NOTE! Rogue setups/apps that promote searchmy.co may 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 searchmy.co (Step 1)

2) Select the "searchmy.co" profile and delete it.

Remove rogue profiles designed to promote searchmy.co (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 three days free trial available.

Quick menu:

Video showing how to remove searchmy.co browser hijacker using Combo Cleaner:

searchmy.co redirect removal:

Remove searchmy.co 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 my 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 My browser hijacker homepage and default Internet search engine removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove search my 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 my 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 my 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.

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 My 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 My browser hijacker on your mobile device.
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