Severity scale:  
  (25/100)

Remove SearchWebSvc (Removal Instructions) - Free Guide

removal by Olivia Morelli - - | Type: Adware

SearchWebSvc – a malicious application that disturbs macOS users with ads and installs other apps without asking

SearchWebSvc
SearchWebSvc is a malicious application that establishes its own profile to remain on macOS as long as possible

SearchWebSvc is an adware[1] application that is actively being spread via fake Flash update prompts and targets Mac systems exclusively. Nevertheless, some users may install the PUP via software bundle packages that they downloaded from unofficial sources. The app also belongs to the AdLoad virus family, which is capable of install adware and PUPs on users' systems without permission – this makes SearchWebSvc particularly dangerous.

Once inside, SearchWebSvc might perform several changes to users' web browsers. For example, the homepage and the new tab of Google Chrome, Safari, and Mozilla Firefox can get switched to search.searchpulse.net or home.searchpulse.net, and users may start seeing redirects to sites like akamaihd.net, which is typically filled with intrusive pop-ups, deals, offers, banners, coupons, and other commercial content. Besides, the SearchWebSvc virus can track information that relates to users' web browsing habits, all while installing multiple unwanted apps on Macs in the background, each of which could pose even more security risks.

Name  SearchWebSvc
Type Mac virus, adware 
Distribution  The app is typically distributed via fake Flash Player update prompts, as well as along freeware downloaded from third-party sites (software bundles)
Symptoms
  • Unknown applications appear on computer out of nowhere
  • Web browser settings altered, customized search engine applied
  • Mac operates slower
  • Visited websites are filled with ads
  • Redirects lead to suspicious domains 
Homepage  Once infected, browsers ' new tab URL and the homepage is set to search.searchpulse.net or home.searchpulse.net, which redirects all searches to yahoo.com
Dangers  Installation of malware and potentially unwanted apps, sensitive information disclosure to unknown parties or cybercriminals, monetary loss due to encountered online scams, etc.
Termination To get rid of adware, you should follow the instructions below and then scan the system with reputable anti-malware software like SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner
Optimization  If your Mac is slow after adware removal, it might be that it is filled with junk. To get rid of it automatically, employ Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego

Most of the modern browsers ask users whether they want to apply changes that are being implemented by a newly-installed application. While these changes might be stopped, the installed browser extensions and homepage settings may not be terminated in a usual way – SearchWebSvc uses various permissions to prevent users from reverting these changes.

As a result, users may be stuck with the web browser that is using an unsafe search engine – which is typically search.searchpulse.net or home.searchpulse.net. While the search engine directs all results to a legitimate source (Yahoo.com), it does not mean that they are genuine.

SearchWebSvc will populate top search results with sponsored links and ads, increasing the traffic to the affiliated sites. Each click made by users provides monetary benefit for the app developers, so it is in their best interest to have as many users to click on these links as possible. Unfortunately, some people do not understand that they are being deceived and that their browsing routine is a different experience from what it is supposed to be.

SearchWebSvc virus
SearchWebSvc is a potentially unwanted program that alters web browser settings without permission

On the other hand, many will notice these changes that there entirely unasked for, as intrusive ads will flood each visited page. However, because many were tricked into installing the SearchWebSvc virus via fake update prompts, most will not know that they have the app installed in the first place.

Another reason to remove SearchWebSvc as soon as possible is due to data tracking practices. Typically, adware gathers the following information:

  • IP address
  • Geolocation
  • Links clicked
  • Ads clicked
  • Timestamp
  • Technical details of the device
  • List of installed apps
  • Search queries, etc.

Besides making changes to the web browsers, the PUP may also insert multiple files into the system and also established unsolicited Profiles. By doing so, the app prevents easy SearchWebSvc removal and continues to operate in the background. Luckily, there are multiple anti-malware that could help users with the process.

Because SearchWebSvc modifies browser settings, we highly recommend to reset all the installed web browsers – we provide instructions on how to do that below. Additionally, if your macOS is slow even after you delete unwanted apps, it may be struggling with space due to junk files. To fix this issue, employ optimization software Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego.

Avoid being infected with adware and all the problems that come with it 

Adware is generally not considered malicious, although many such apps cross the line of simply being “potentially unwanted.” Installing software behind users' back is malicious activity, and should never be tolerated. It is worth noting that adware on Macs become a much more prevalent phenomenon in recent years, so users should employ precautionary measures to avoid it. 

There are two main methods how macOS users get infected with adware:

  • Software bundle packages downloaded from third-party sites;
  • Fake Flash Player update prompts encountered on malicious websites.

When it comes to the former, it is plain and simple – you should avoid third-party websites and not use them as sources for new apps. Currently, Apple's App store holds more than 1.8 million apps,[2], so there is plenty to choose from. If, despite this, you still want to download apps from third-parties, ensure that you never rush the installation process, read the instructions carefully, watch our for pre-ticked boxes, and always opt for Advanced/Custom settings if prompted to remain in control of optional components that are deceptively offered to you.

SearchWebSvc distribution
SearchWebSvc malware is mainly distributed via fake Flash Player update prompts

There is also one thing you should know about the Flash Player as a regular user – you do not need this plugin on your macOS computer. Most modern web browsers already have the functionality implemented, and Flash is simply an outdated and flawed piece of software that is not needed anyways.[3] Thus, DO NOT ever “update” Flash when prompted on a random site – it is a scam, and you may infect your computer with malware.

Get rid of SearchWebSvc virus

To remove SearchWebSvc virus from your Mac, dragging it to the Trash will not suffice. To get rid of the threat manually, you will have to perform several different steps in order to ensure that all the components of the unwanted app are eliminated. Because SearchWebSvc app establishes an unwanted profile, you should eliminate it:

  • Go to System Preferences…
  • Select Profiles
  • Get rid of the unwanted profile by clicking on “” at the bottom-left

Now you should navigate to the Library folder and eliminate the following entries:

~/Library/Application Support/com.SearchWebSvc
~/Library/Application Support/com.SearchWebSvcDaemon

You should also check the LaunchAgents and LaunchDaemons for unwanted .plish entries related to the infection. Nevertheless, you can also perform automatic SearchWebSvc removal with the help of anti-malware software.

You may remove virus damage with a help of Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego. SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner and Malwarebytes are recommended to 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 Intego, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage Intego has a free limited scanner. Reimage Intego offers more through scan when you purchase its full version. When free scanner detects issues, you can fix them using free manual repairs or you can decide to purchase the full version in order to fix them automatically.
Alternative Software
Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Reimage, try running SpyHunter 5.
Alternative Software
Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Intego, try running Combo Cleaner.

To remove SearchWebSvc, follow these steps:

Delete SearchWebSvc from Mac OS X system

To get rid of unwanted apps from macOS, drag the related icon to Trash:

  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 SearchWebSvc 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'

Uninstall SearchWebSvc from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

  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 SearchWebSvc 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. 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'
  4. Now you will see Reset Firefox to its default state message with Reset Firefox button. Click this button for several times and complete SearchWebSvc removal. Click on 'Reset Firefox' button for a couple of times

Get rid of SearchWebSvc from Google Chrome

Reset Google Chrome as explained below:

  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 SearchWebSvc 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. Click on menu icon again and choose Settings Manage Search engines under the Search section. When in 'Settings', select 'Manage search engines...'
  4. When in Search Engines..., remove malicious search sites. You should leave only Google or your preferred domain name. Click 'X' to remove malicious URLs
  5. Reset Google Chrome
    Click on menu icon on the top right of your Google Chrome and select Settings.
  6. 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
  7. Click Reset to confirm this action and complete SearchWebSvc removal. Click on 'Reset' button to complete your removal

Remove SearchWebSvc from Safari

It is important to reset Safari after you get rid of the SearchWebSvc virus in order to get rid of the altered homepage and new tab URL settings:

  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 SearchWebSvc or other suspicious entries. Click on the Uninstall button to get rid each of them. Go to 'Extensions' and uninstall malicious add-ons
  3. 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...'
  4. 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 SearchWebSvc removal process. Select all options and click on 'Reset' button

About the author

Olivia Morelli
Olivia Morelli - Ransomware analyst

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