CleanSearch Mac Removal Guide
What is CleanSearch Mac?
CleanSearch infiltrates mac machines and starts generating ads
CleanSearch is a PUP that has adware and hijacking abilities
There is a common misconception that Macs do not get viruses, but malicious software developers have found ways to be undetectable by Apple's security systems a while ago. One of the most active are adware infections that belong to the Adload malware family. CleanSearch is one of the newer versions of this strain and is more dangerous than adware created to target Windows operating systems.
Because these PUAs (potentially unwanted applications) are spread using social engineering techniques, most times it is the user who gets tricked and installs it himself. The PUP starts performing various tasks in the background that could be deemed malicious. The first thing people notice is a changed browser, where the homepage and new tab address are different, as well as the search engine.
There are many user privacy and security concerns related to this because the search results get injected with dangerous links and ads, users' browsing activity is tracked. Besides these issues, the most worrying one is that the mac virus can perform installations of other PUPs and malware in the background without the users' knowledge.
|TYPE||Adware, browser hijacker, mac virus|
|SYMPTOMS||Changed homepage and new tab address, a different search engine; redirects to shady websites|
|DISTRIBUTION||Fake software updates, deceptive ads, software installations from peer-to-peer file-sharing platforms|
|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 complicated if you do not have experience. The most effective way to remove it is with a professional security tool that can scan your system to delete every related file|
|FURTHER STEPS||ReimageIntego should be used to completely wipe out any data left and fix the remaining damage|
People like to think that they care about their online privacy and safety, but in reality, just a few take steps to maintain it. Many ignore warnings from cybersecurity professionals and like to think that they are untouchable. If you have an internet connection, there is always a chance you will encounter viruses, scams, and other threats.
When people realize something is wrong, often it is already too late. CleanSearch has various scripts and processes that report data back to tracking servers. The mac virus can leak your IP address, user name, OS version, files' lists in many different folders, and so on.
Adload's distribution methods
As we mentioned before, virus developers have thought of ways to slip through Apple's security system XProtect. All they had to do was eliminate a single string from their code, so users should have to take matters into their own hands and take some precautionary steps. Here are a few ways people could have installed CleanSearch mac virus:
- Fake Flash Player updates: although Flash Player was discontinued in 2020 for its many vulnerabilities and replaced by HTML5, many users are still not aware of it and get fooled by fake update prompts. You should never believe a random page saying your software is out-of-date. Always go to the official source, open the program itself or visit the website and check if there are actually updates ready for you.
- Torrent sites: it should go without saying that pages distributing “cracked” software are unregulated and often filled with malware. It is not recommended to use these services as avoiding uninvited guests on these websites is almost impossible. There are plenty of applications to choose from on official app stores. They might not be the same, but at least you do not run the risk of damaging your operating system.
Anti-malware tools can help fight adware infections
A magnifying glass in a green or teal circle background is the most commonly used icon for these malicious programs, so if you experience adware or hijacker symptoms, you can go to your Applications folder and check if it is in there.
Remove CleanSearch mac virus
With launch agents, daemons, cronjobs, it can sometimes take several attempts to beat all of these before one of them manages to re-write deleted components back. We recommend against trying this yourself unless you know what you are doing and what kind of files exactly you need to delete. Some of them 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.
The best solution would be to deploy 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 CleanSearch 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.
The browser extension that takes over
CleanSearch adds an extension 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 helps the creators generate revenue.
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 CleanSearch Mac. 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
Protect your privacy – employ a VPN
There are several ways how to make your online time more private – you can access an incognito tab. However, there is no secret that even in this mode, you are tracked for advertising purposes. There is a way to add an extra layer of protection and create a completely anonymous web browsing practice with the help of Private Internet Access VPN. This software reroutes traffic through different servers, thus leaving your IP address and geolocation in disguise. Besides, it is based on a strict no-log policy, meaning that no data will be recorded, leaked, and available for both first and third parties. The combination of a secure web browser and Private Internet Access VPN will let you browse the Internet without a feeling of being spied or targeted by criminals.
No backups? No problem. Use a data recovery tool
If you wonder how data loss can occur, you should not look any further for answers – human errors, malware attacks, hardware failures, power cuts, natural disasters, or even simple negligence. In some cases, lost files are extremely important, and many straight out panic when such an unfortunate course of events happen. Due to this, you should always ensure that you prepare proper data backups on a regular basis.
If you were caught by surprise and did not have any backups to restore your files from, not everything is lost. Data Recovery Pro is one of the leading file recovery solutions you can find on the market – it is likely to restore even lost emails or data located on an external device.