Severity scale:  
  (10/100)

Search-operator.com (Mac virus)

removal by Gabriel E. Hall - - | Type: Browser Hijackers

Search-operator.com – a browser hijacker which has been spreading together with Advanced Mac Cleaner

Search-operator.com hijack
Search-operator.com is a browser hijacker that might travel together with Advanced Mac Cleaner

Search-operator.com is a browser hijacker that has been targeting MacOS with an infamous Advanced Mac Cleaner or similar software.[1] It has been using Google's colors in its logo, so there is no surprise that people have been taking it as a legitimate app. Once it infects the system, it modifies the main search engine, homepage and new tab URL to http://search-operator.com/. If you try performing a search request by using the new engine, you will still be provided with query results by Google, so why not use just the original search engine? Also, all redirects are filled with ads displayed to trick users into visiting sponsored sites, including the suspicious ones. 

Name Search-operator.com
Program type Browser hijacker/Potentially unwanted program/PUP/Mac virus
Operating system affected MacOS is the main target if the virus
Distribution  Software bundling, rogue websites, fake reviews
travels in one bundle Advanced Mac Cleaner, Weknow.ac, Smart Search virus
Engine http://search-operator.com/
unnoticed activities initiated behind THE user's back Tracking, the collection of details provided while browsing the web, the collection of browsing habits
Annoying actions caused on the system  Redirects to third-party sites, numerous ads displayed in search results
Elimination You can complete the removal of this browser hijacker with Reimage

Search-operator.com virus is also a term that is used for this rogue app as it pushes unwanted actions straight on the infected web browser application. However, technically, it is not malware but some actions might cause you trouble. One of them is frequent redirecting to other third-party sources and affiliate websites.

Search-operator.com might accidentally take you to an infectious website where malware might be distributed and waiting for its turn to infect a user. Furthermore, browser hijackers are famous for collecting browsing details about various activities, for example, what type of pages are commonly visited, what kind of bookmarks were recently saved, etc.

Later on, Search-operator.com might also start providing a big number of advertisements on the targeted computer. The cost-per-click marketing strategy[2] is also known as a beneficial one which is supported by numerous browser hijacker and adware developers. It works every time a user steps on the pop-ups.

Besides, changes that are applied to web browsers such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari cannot be reversed unless you complete the Search-operator.com removal automatically or manually. Reimage is a tool which will help you to deal with the entire process much faster and easier.

If you do not remove Search-operator.com from your Mac computer, the unwanted activities might become even worse and cause regular computer freezes. Overusing system resources such as the CPU's[3] power is a common occurrence when potentially unwanted programs are hiding somewhere on the machine.

Additionally, Search-operator.com might come together with other suspicious software or components. Adware or even fake system tools might be distributed within the software bundle and you will supposedly end up with a few or even several potentially unwanted applications on your computer system.

Search-operator.com potentially unwanted program
Search-operator.com - a browser hijacker that appears on Mac computer systems

Distribution guidance of potentially unwanted applications

LosVirus.es experts[4] believe that it is very important to be aware of all possible adware or browser hijacker distribution sources so that these PUPs will not enter your computer system. Nevertheless, where a PUP is planted, there might also be some malware traces left which is ten times more dangerous.

Talking about the main distribution source it is bundled programs. Browser hijackers and similar products often appear on the system after completing suspicious downloads from unreliable sources. You can prevent secret entrance all possibly infectious content by using the Custom/Advanced configuration mode.

Furthermore, if you have a reputable antimalware tool on your system, it will also guard your computer system against suspicious and malicious programs. What you need to do is just choose a reliable program and make sure that it never lacks required updates or contain any bugs.

Search-operator.com browser hijacker can be terminated within a few mouse clicks

If you are interested in Search-operator.com removal, you have come to the right place. Here you can learn how to complete the elimination from all web browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Explorer, Safari) manually and remove suspicious processes, files, software from your Mac operating system on your own.

Additionally, our expert team has provided some reliable anti-malware programs that can appear very beneficial for you. Choose the right tool and remove Search-operator.com from the system with putting less effort then you would if you decided to take care of the potentially unwanted program by yourself.

Furthermore, automatical removal for Search-operator.com hijack is a better option also when you lack the required skills and capabilities in the virus elimination field. However, if you are sure that the process will be successful and you are self-confident enough, take a look at the below-provided instructions.

You can remove virus damage automatically with a help of one of these programs: Reimage, SpyHunterCombo Cleaner, Malwarebytes Malwarebytes. We recommend these applications because they detect potentially unwanted programs and viruses with all their files and registry entries that are related to them.

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Compatible with Microsoft Windows Supported versions Compatible with OS X Supported versions
What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove virus damage using Reimage, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage is recommended to remove virus damage. Free scanner allows you to check whether your PC is infected or not. If you need to remove malware, you have to purchase the licensed version of Reimage malware removal tool.
Alternative Software
Different security software includes different virus database. If you didn’t succeed in finding malware with Reimage, try running alternative scan with SpyHunter.
Alternative Software
Different security software includes different virus database. If you didn’t succeed in finding malware with Reimage, try running alternative scan with Combo Cleaner.

To remove Search-operator.com, follow these steps:

Mac OS XInternet ExplorerFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Eliminate Search-operator.com from Mac OS X system

These instructions should help you to get rid of the potentially unwanted program from your computer system and stop its operating on the machine:

  1. If you are using OS X, click Go button at the top left of the screen and select Applications. Cick 'Go' and select 'Applications'
  2. Wait until you see Applications folder and look for Search-operator.com or any other suspicious programs on it. Now right click on every of such entries and select Move to Trash. Click on every malicious entry and select 'Move to Trash'
Mac OS XInternet ExplorerFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Uninstall Search-operator.com from Internet Explorer (IE)

If you have found any suspicious-looking add-ons, extensions, or other objects on your Internet Explorer web browser, this type of content can be eliminated by following the guide:

  1. Remove dangerous add-ons
    Open Internet Explorer, click on the Gear icon (IE menu) on the top right corner of the browser and choose Manage Add-ons. Click on menu icon and select 'Manage add-ons'
  2. You will see a Manage Add-ons window. Here, look for Search-operator.com and other suspicious plugins. Disable these entries by clicking Disable: Right click on each of malicious entries and select 'Disable'
  3. Change your homepage if it was altered by virus:
    Click on the gear icon (menu) on the top right corner of the browser and select Internet Options. Stay in General tab.
  4. Here, remove malicious URL and enter preferable domain name. Click Apply to save changes. Delete malicious URL, enter your desired domain name and click 'Apply' to save changes
  5. Reset Internet Explorer
    Click on the gear icon (menu) again and select Internet options. Go to Advanced tab.
  6. Here, select Reset.
  7. When in the new window, check Delete personal settings and select Reset again to complete Search-operator.com removal. Go to 'Advanced' tab and click on 'Reset' button. Now select 'Delete personal settings' and click on 'Reset' button again
Mac OS XInternet ExplorerFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Get rid of Search-operator.com from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

Spotting some suspicious changes in Mozilla Firefox is not a good sign. You can reverse all unexpected modifications with the help of these instructing lines:

  1. Remove dangerous extensions
    Open Mozilla Firefox, click on the menu icon (top right corner) and select Add-ons Extensions. Click on menu icon and select 'Add-ons'
  2. Here, select Search-operator.com and other questionable plugins. Click Remove to delete these entries. Select 'Extensions' and look for malicious entries. Click 'Remove' to get rid of each of them
  3. Change your homepage if it was altered by virus:
    Click on the menu (top right corner), choose Options General.
  4. Here, delete malicious URL and enter preferable website or click Restore to default.
  5. Click OK to save these changes. When in 'General' tab, delete malicious URL from 'Home Page' section or click on 'Restore to Default' button. Click 'OK' to save changes
  6. Reset Mozilla Firefox
    Click on the Firefox menu on the top left and click on the question mark. Here, choose Troubleshooting Information. Click on menu icon and then on '?'. Select 'Troubleshooting Information'
  7. Now you will see Reset Firefox to its default state message with Reset Firefox button. Click this button for several times and complete Search-operator.com removal. Click on 'Reset Firefox' button for a couple of times
Mac OS XInternet ExplorerFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Remove Search-operator.com from Google Chrome

Cleaning Google Chrome is possible if you carefully follow these steps and get rid of the potentially unwanted program that has been triggering your browsing process:

  1. Delete malicious plugins
    Open Google Chrome, click on the menu icon (top right corner) and select Tools Extensions. Click on menu icon. Select 'Tools' and 'Extensions'
  2. Here, select Search-operator.com and other malicious plugins and select trash icon to delete these entries. Look for malicious entries and delete each of them by clicking on the Trash bin icon
  3. Change your homepage and default search engine if it was altered by your virus
    Click on menu icon and choose Settings.
  4. Here, look for the Open a specific page or set of pages under On startup option and click on Set pages. After clicking on menu and 'Settings', select 'Set pages'
  5. Now you should see another window. Here, delete malicious search sites and enter the one that you want to use as your homepage. Click 'X' to remove malicious URLs
  6. Click on menu icon again and choose Settings Manage Search engines under the Search section. When in 'Settings', select 'Manage search engines...'
  7. When in Search Engines..., remove malicious search sites. You should leave only Google or your preferred domain name. Click 'X' to remove malicious URLs
  8. Reset Google Chrome
    Click on menu icon on the top right of your Google Chrome and select Settings.
  9. Scroll down to the end of the page and click on Reset browser settings. When in 'Settings', scroll down to 'Reset browser settings' button and click on it
  10. Click Reset to confirm this action and complete Search-operator.com removal. Click on 'Reset' button to complete your removal
Mac OS XInternet ExplorerFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Erase Search-operator.com from Safari

Erase all questionable-looking objects from your Safari web browser. Use the below-provided instructions for guidance:

  1. Remove dangerous extensions
    Open Safari web browser and click on Safari in menu at the top left of the screen. Once you do this, select Preferences. Click on 'Safari' and select 'Preferences'
  2. Here, select Extensions and look for Search-operator.com or other suspicious entries. Click on the Uninstall button to get rid each of them. Go to 'Extensions' and uninstall malicious add-ons
  3. Change your homepage if it was altered by virus:
    Open your Safari web browser and click on Safari in menu section. Here, select Preferences as it was displayed previously and select General.
  4. Here, look at the Homepage field. If it was altered by Search-operator.com, remove unwanted link and enter the one that you want to use for your searches. Remember to include the "http://" before typing in the address of the page. When in 'General', delete malicious URL and enter your desired domain name
  5. Reset Safari
    Open Safari browser and click on Safari in menu section at the top left of the screen. Here, select Reset Safari.... Click on 'Safari' and select 'Reset Safari...'
  6. Now you will see a detailed dialog window filled with reset options. All of those options are usually checked, but you can specify which of them you want to reset. Click the Reset button to complete Search-operator.com removal process. Select all options and click on 'Reset' button

About the author

Gabriel E. Hall
Gabriel E. Hall - Passionate web researcher

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