Easy tips to delete SearchMaster virus
SearchMaster is designed to display various intrusive ads and hijack installed web browsers by changing their settings. In other words, this app has both adware and browser hijacker capabilities. It is distributed via a Flash Player installer. Thus, users would not install it knowingly.
The ads such as pop-ups, banners, coupons and so on that the SearchMaster app displays could open various websites urging users to download and install some potentially unwanted app, provide their sensitive data or making them purchasing some unnecessary products and services.
Those ads can even run certain malicious scripts to cause unwanted download/ installation. Another reason not to trust SearchMaster app is that it replaces the search engine, homepage and new tab pages with address of a fake search engine.
Typically, fake web searchers are not able to generate search results and so they redirect to some legit searches to display search results. These are not trusted as they often promote various untrustworthy pages and contain promotional links.
Usually, people can’t return to the previous browsers’ settings option when they are dealing with such cyber-infections. These apps bear potential to reassign any changes that they attempt to make to those settings.
The SearchMaster app has dangerous data tracking feature as well, which is common to any adware and browser hijacker type applications. The information of its interest includes IP addresses, Search queries, Viewed pages, URLs visited, ISPs, Geo-locations, Type of OS and browser used and etc.
These data could be shared with and/or sold to third parties/ potent crooks. Thus, the presence of the potentially unwanted app on system can cause serious system infection, privacy issue, monetary loss and even identity theft.
To prevent any such issues from happening in future, we strongly recommend you run a full system scan using some reputable antivirus tool. The software will find SearchMaster and all associated components hidden on different locations and removes them or suggest you to delete them from the system.
How did SearchMaster enter my system?
As said, SearchMaster is distributed through a fake Adobe Flash Player installer. Most fake installers are promoted using deceptive methods such as pages suggesting that some software is out of date or the computer is infected. It is also common for such apps to be bundled with other software.
In the second case, users download/ install the unwanted apps together with the regular software when they do not change to the Advanced/ Custom or other settings before finalizing the download/ installation. Those settings can be found in the downloaders/ installers used to distribute PUAs.
How to prevent PUAs installation?
Download files and programs through legit sources such as official pages. Avoid using third party downloaders/ installers, p2p networks and other similar sources for downloading any software and files. Always check downloaders/ installers for optional download/ installation and de-select the unwanted ones.
Avoid clicking on any ads that appear on any questionable pages. These ads can cause the stealthy download/ installation by running certain scripts. If the system is already infected, we recommend you use some reputable antivirus tool to remove SearchMaster automatically from the system.
Remove Files and Folders Related to SearchMaster
Open the “Menu” bar and click the “Finder” icon. Select “Go” and click on “Go to Folder…”
Step 1: Search the suspicious and doubtful malware generated files in /Library/LaunchAgents folder
Type /Library/LaunchAgents in the “Go to Folder” option
In the “Launch Agent” folder, search for all the files that you have recently downloaded and move them to “Trash”. Few of the examples of files created by browser-hijacker or adware are as follow, “myppes.download.plist”, “mykotlerino.Itvbit.plist”, installmac.AppRemoval.plist”, and “kuklorest.update.plist” and so on.
Step 2: Detect and remove the files generated by the adware in “/Library/Application” Support folder
In the “Go to Folder..bar”, type “/Library/Application Support”
Search for any suspicious newly added folders in “Application Support” folder. If you detect any one of these like “NicePlayer” or “MPlayerX” then send them to “Trash” folder.
Step 3: Look for the files generated by malware in /Library/LaunchAgent Folder:
Go to Folder bar and type /Library/LaunchAgents
You are in the “LaunchAgents” folder. Here, you have to search for all the newly added files and move them to “Trash” if you find them suspicious. Some of the examples of suspicious files generated by malware are “myppes.download.plist”, “installmac.AppRemoved.plist”, “kuklorest.update.plist”, “mykotlerino.ltvbit.plist” and so on.
Step4: Go to /Library/LaunchDaemons Folder and search for the files created by malware
Type /Library/LaunchDaemons in the “Go To Folder” option
In the newly opened “LaunchDaemons” folder, search for any recently added suspicious files and move them to “Trash”. Examples of some of the suspicious files are “com.kuklorest.net-preferences.plist”, “com.avickUpd.plist”, “com.myppes.net-preference.plist”, “com.aoudad.net-preferences.plist” and so on.
Step 5: Use Combo Cleaner Anti-Malware and Scan your Mac PC
The malware infections could be removed from the Mac PC if you execute all the steps mentioned above in the correct way. However, it is always advised to be sure that your PC is not infected. It is suggested to scan the work-station with “Combo Cleaner Anti-virus”.
Once the file gets downloaded, double click on combocleaner.dmg installer in the newly opened window. Next is to open the “Launchpad” and press on “Combo Cleaner” icon. It is advised to wait until “Combo Cleaner” updates the latest definition for malware detection. Click on “Start Combo Scan” button.
A depth scan of your Mac PC will be executed in order to detect malware. If the Anti-virus scan report says “no threat found” then you can continue with guide further. On the other hand, it is recommended to delete the detected malware infection before continuing.
Now the files and folders created by the adware is removed, you have to remove the rogue extensions from the browsers.
Remove SearchMaster from Internet Browsers
Delete Doubtful and Malicious Extension from Safari
Go to “Menu Bar” and open “Safari” browser. Select “Safari” and then “Preferences”
In the opened “preferences” window, select “Extensions” that you have recently installed. All such extensions should be detected and click the “Uninstall” button next to it. If you are doubtful then you can remove all the extensions from “Safari” browser as none of them are important for smooth functionality of the browser.
In case if you continue facing unwanted webpage redirections or aggressive advertisements bombarding, you can reset the “Safari” browser.
Open the Safari menu and choose “preferences…” from the drop-down menu.
Go to the “Extension” tab and set the extension slider to “Off” position. This disables all the installed extensions in the Safari browser
Next step is to check the homepage. Go to “Preferences…” option and choose “General” tab. Change the homepage to your preferred URL.
Also check the default search-engine provider settings. Go to “Preferences…” window and select the “Search” tab and select the search-engine provider that you want such as “Google”.
Next is to clear the Safari browser Cache- Go to “Preferences…” window and select “Advanced” tab and click on “Show develop menu in the menu bar.“
Go to “Develop” menu and select “Empty Caches”.
Remove website data and browsing history. Go to “Safari” menu and select “Clear History and Website Data”. Choose “all history” and then click on “Clear History”.
Remove Unwanted and Malicious Plug-ins from Mozilla Firefox
Delete SearchMaster add-ons from Mozilla Firefox
Open the Firefox Mozilla browser. Click on the “Open Menu” present in the top right corner of the screen. From the newly opened menu, choose “Add-ons”.
Go to “Extension” option and detect all the latest installed add-ons. Select each of the suspicious add-ons and click on “Remove” button next to them.
In case if you want to “reset” the Mozilla Firefox browser then follow the steps that has been mentioned below.
Reset Mozilla Firefox Settings
Open the Firefox Mozilla browser and click on “Firefox” button situated at the top left corner of the screen.
In the new menu, go to “Help” sub-menu and choose “Troubleshooting Information”
In the “Troubleshooting Information” page, click on “Reset Firefox” button.
Confirm that you want to reset the Mozilla Firefox settings to default by pressing on “Reset Firefox” option
The browser will get restarted and the settings changes to factory default
Delete Unwanted and Malicious Extensions from Google Chrome
Open the chrome browser and click on “Chrome menu”. From the drop down option, choose “More Tools” and then “Extensions”.
In the “Extensions” option, search for all the recently installed add-ons and extensions. Select them and choose “Trash” button. Any third-party extension is not important for the smooth functionality of the browser.
Reset Google Chrome Settings
Open the browser and click on three line bar at the top right side corner of the window.
Go to the bottom of the newly opened window and select “Show advanced settings”.
In the newly opened window, scroll down to the bottom and choose “Reset browser settings”
Click on the “Reset” button on the opened “Reset browser settings” window
Restart the browser and the changes you get will be applied
The above mentioned manual process should be executed as it is mentioned. It is a cumbersome process and requires a lot of technical expertise. And hence it is advised for technical experts only. To be sure that your PC is free from malware, it is better that you scan the work-station with a powerful anti-malware tool. The automatic malware removal application is preferred because it doesn’t requires any additional technical skills and expertise.
Download the application and execute it on the PC to begin the depth scanning. Once the scanning gets completed, it shows the list of all the files related to SearchMaster. You can select such harmful files and folders and remove them immediately.