AdvancedNetSearch mac virus Removal Guide
What is AdvancedNetSearch mac virus?
AdvancedNetSearch can infect mac machines to hijack the browser and cause ad spam
AdvancedNetSearch can cause erratic browser behavior
AdvancedNetSearch is a malicious program that has both adware and hijacking capabilities. It belongs to the Adload malware family which specifically infects mac machines. It can cause annoying pop-ups and banners to start appearing on the screen, even when the browser is closed. Users may be redirected to dangerous sites that try to lure out personal information, and trick them into downloading PUPs (potentially unwanted programs), and malware.
The browser's main settings, like the homepage, new tab address, and search engine, may also change. However, this adware is much more aggressive than adware developed to infect Windows machines. It can monitor and collect browsing-related data, system information, etc. It can also install malware and PUPs automatically without any user knowledge.
|TYPE||Adware, browser hijacker, mac virus|
|SYMPTOMS||Different homepage and new tab addresses; redirects to some other search engine and shady websites; machine performs worse than before|
|DISTRIBUTION||Fake software updates, deceptive ads, “cracked” software installations|
|DANGERS||Altered search results can lead to dangerous websites; pop-up ads might be promoting scams; the virus can install other PUPs or even malware in the background|
|ELIMINATION||Eliminating this Mac virus manually can be quite complicated if you do not have prior experience. The easiest and most effective way would be to open a professional security tool and scan your system to delete every related file|
|FURTHER STEPS||ReimageIntego maintenance tool should be used to fix the remaining damage|
AdvancedNetSearch in detail
We previously wrote about many other Adload viruses, like UniversalSupport, InitialSprint, and DesignPaper. All of them look almost the same. They have an icon of a magnifying glass inside a green, teal, or grey background. Usually, the main file can be found in the “Applications” folder.
However, it might look like it at first but AdvancedNetSearch is not easy to remove at all. It uses various techniques to avoid elimination. For example, it scatters multiple files across the machine and even disguises them as normal system files to not cause any suspicion.
It is unknown how exactly AdvancedNetSearch is distributed, however, there are some general tactics that threat actors use. Such viruses are usually installed by users unknowingly because they are often disguised as something else. Crooks like to use social engineering techniques to make it look like a software update. For example, even though Flash Player was discontinued in 2020 and replaced by HTML5, users still fall for prompts that say they need to update their Flash Player to access media content.
Another common way mac adware is spread is through “cracked” software distribution sites and torrent pages. Because these platforms are unregulated, they can use various tactics to make more money. So they can include PUPs and malware in the installers or even disguise the malicious programs as “handy” tools. Because people usually rush through the installation process, they do not notice them.
The obvious thing to do would be to implement some security habits, to prevent this from happening again. And that would be not trusting external sources with updates. Always go to the official sources to find out if you really need an update. Do not fall for random pop-ups and redirects. You should also use only official app stores and developer sites to download software. It might get costly but you may save in the long run by keeping your system running smoothly.
One of the most important things is to keep your operating system and software updated. Hackers can use software vulnerabilities to deliver their malicious programs. Developers regularly release security patches that should be installed to prevent this from happening.
Remove the AdvancedNetSearch mac virus
Manual removal may be a race against time. With launch agents, daemons, and cronjobs, it can sometimes take several attempts to beat all of these before one of them manages to re-write deleted components back. You should not do this yourself unless you know what you are doing and what kind of files you need to delete.
Some of the files can have a .plist extension, a standard settings' file, also known as a “properties file,” used by macOS applications. It contains properties and configuration settings for various programs. The app also uses different persistence techniques and drops many files across the system, complicating browser extension and application removal.
To keep your mind at peace, we recommend using professional anti-malware tools SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes, which can detect unwanted programs and eradicate them. You also do not know if the virus installed any additional malicious programs, so this is the safest way to ensure the system is clean.
If you still want to try and delete it manually, proceed with these steps:
- Open Applications folder
- Select Utilities
- Double-click Activity Monitor
- Here, look for suspicious processes related to adware and use Force Quit command to shut them down
- Go back to the Applications folder
- Find AdvancedNetSearch in the list and move it to Trash
If you are unable to shut down the related processes or can't move the app to Trash, you should look for malicious profiles and login items:
- Go to Preferences and select Accounts
- Click Login items and delete everything suspicious
- Next, pick System Preferences > Users & Groups
- Find Profiles and remove unwanted profiles from the list
There are likely to be more .plist files hiding in the following locations – delete them all:
- Select Go > Go to Folder.
- Enter /Library/Application Support and click Go or press Enter.
- In the Application Support folder, look for any suspicious entries and then delete them.
- Now enter /Library/LaunchAgents and /Library/LaunchDaemons folders the same way and terminate all the related .plist files.
The manual elimination process might not always result in total virus removal. Therefore, we still strongly suggest you perform a scan with security software.
Remove the browser extension added by adware
An extension to your browser is also added by AdvancedNetSearch that starts performing all sorts of unwanted tasks. It possibly collects sensitive data and sends it to tracking servers. Some of the data that could be exposed is – IP address, user name, macOS version, browser versions, computer ID, items in the “Applications” folder, a list of agents, daemons, and system configuration profiles.
It would help if you removed the add-on as soon as possible after the dangerous files are eliminated from your system. You can delete cookies and cache automatically with the help of ReimageIntego. It will also fix any damaged files and system errors, so you should notice an improvement in the machine's performance.
If you prefer doing this yourself without additional help, here are the instructions. You will find guides for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox at the bottom of this article:
- Click Safari > Preferences…
- In the new window, pick Extensions.
- Select the unwanted extension and select Uninstall.
Cookies and website data:
- Click Safari > Clear History…
- From the drop-down menu under Clear, pick all history.
- Confirm with Clear History.
The simplest and quickest solution to this is completely resetting Safari:
- Click Safari > Preferences…
- Go to Advanced tab.
- Tick the Show Develop menu in the menu bar.
- From the menu bar, click Develop, and then select Empty Caches.
Getting rid of AdvancedNetSearch mac virus. Follow these steps
Remove from Mozilla Firefox (FF)
Remove dangerous extensions:
- Open Mozilla Firefox browser and click on the Menu (three horizontal lines at the top-right of the window).
- Select Add-ons.
- In here, select unwanted plugin and click Remove.
Reset the homepage:
- Click three horizontal lines at the top right corner to open the menu.
- Choose Options.
- Under Home options, enter your preferred site that will open every time you newly open the Mozilla Firefox.
Clear cookies and site data:
- Click Menu and pick Settings.
- Go to Privacy & Security section.
- Scroll down to locate Cookies and Site Data.
- Click on Clear Data…
- Select Cookies and Site Data, as well as Cached Web Content and press Clear.
Reset Mozilla Firefox
If clearing the browser as explained above did not help, reset Mozilla Firefox:
- Open Mozilla Firefox browser and click the Menu.
- Go to Help and then choose Troubleshooting Information.
- Under Give Firefox a tune up section, click on Refresh Firefox…
- Once the pop-up shows up, confirm the action by pressing on Refresh Firefox.
Remove from Google Chrome
Delete malicious extensions from Google Chrome:
- Open Google Chrome, click on the Menu (three vertical dots at the top-right corner) and select More tools > Extensions.
- In the newly opened window, you will see all the installed extensions. Uninstall all the suspicious plugins that might be related to the unwanted program by clicking Remove.
Clear cache and web data from Chrome:
- Click on Menu and pick Settings.
- Under Privacy and security, select Clear browsing data.
- Select Browsing history, Cookies and other site data, as well as Cached images and files.
- Click Clear data.
Change your homepage:
- Click menu and choose Settings.
- Look for a suspicious site in the On startup section.
- Click on Open a specific or set of pages and click on three dots to find the Remove option.
Reset Google Chrome:
If the previous methods did not help you, reset Google Chrome to eliminate all the unwanted components:
- Click on Menu and select Settings.
- In the Settings, scroll down and click Advanced.
- Scroll down and locate Reset and clean up section.
- Now click Restore settings to their original defaults.
- Confirm with Reset settings.
How to prevent from getting adware
Stream videos without limitations, no matter where you are
There are multiple parties that could find out almost anything about you by checking your online activity. While this is highly unlikely, advertisers and tech companies are constantly tracking you online. The first step to privacy should be a secure browser that focuses on tracker reduction to a minimum.
Even if you employ a secure browser, you will not be able to access websites that are restricted due to local government laws or other reasons. In other words, you may not be able to stream Disney+ or US-based Netflix in some countries. To bypass these restrictions, you can employ a powerful Private Internet Access VPN, which provides dedicated servers for torrenting and streaming, not slowing you down in the process.
Data backups are important – recover your lost files
Ransomware is one of the biggest threats to personal data. Once it is executed on a machine, it launches a sophisticated encryption algorithm that locks all your files, although it does not destroy them. The most common misconception is that anti-malware software can return files to their previous states. This is not true, however, and data remains locked after the malicious payload is deleted.
While regular data backups are the only secure method to recover your files after a ransomware attack, tools such as Data Recovery Pro can also be effective and restore at least some of your lost data.