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CharacterVirtualSearch Mac Adware Removal Guide [Free Uninstall Steps]

What Is CharacterVirtualSearch Mac

CharacterVirtualSearch

CharacterVirtualSearch is an application for Mac that has been reported to be a potentially unwanted software. Such a program is created with the primary idea in mind to perform various different types of unwanted activities on your Mac, including showing a lot of different ads for profit. These ads are monetised by pay-per-click and other forms of schemes that are used to generate profits to the developers of the application. This may lead to very risky websites as some of the advertised ones can turn out to be scams or even malware.

Read this article to learn more about the software and how you can remove it from your computer system completely.

CharacterVirtualSearch Mac – Details

Name CharacterVirtualSearch
Type Adware / PUP / Redirect for Mac
Short Description Aims to modify the settings on your computer in order to get it to cause browser redirects and display different advertisements.
Symptoms Your device begins to display various types of online advertisements, which results in slowing down of your machine.
Distribution Method Bundled downloads. Web pages which may advertise it.
Detection Tool See If Your Mac Has Been Affected by CharacterVirtualSearch

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Malware Removal Tool

User Experience Join Our Forum to Discuss CharacterVirtualSearch.

CharacterVirtualSearch Virus – How Did I Get Infected

CharacterVirtualSearch is a hoax search engine that may have something to do with a large family of adware programs that share similar code, commonly known as the AdLoad PUPs. These are programs that are responsible for showing a lot of advertisements and are within the hundreds, maybe thousands in count.

Some of them include the recently detected SelectorComponent, EdgeAdvanced and JumpSearch PUPs.

One of the main ways you could’ve gotten CharacterVirtualSearch to be installed on your Mac is if you have downloaded some type of a free program that contains it somewhere in its installation, similarly to what the example image below shows:

mac bundle virus

Another strategy that the crooks use to infect your computer with this adware is to display a browser redirect to a website that contains a fake Adobe Flash Player update, whose main purpose is to trick you into downloading the ad-supported program instead of an update:

fake-flash-player-update-scam-installing-adware-on-mac

CharacterVirtualSearch – What Does It Do?

Once CharacterVirtualSearch ends up on your Mac, it may begin to tamper with the settings of your web browsers. This may result in CharacterVirtualSearch becoming not only your default search engine, but also your homepage and new tab webpage. This is done with the main idea so that the software behind it can display the following kinds of advertisements:

  • Highlighted text on the pages you visit.
  • Pop-ups with video and/or sound.
  • Changed search results to show ads instead of relevant sites.
  • Redirects.
  • Interruptive banner ads.
  • Intrusive push notifications.

These ads often contain cookies and other types of tracking technologies:

mac cookies

Such trackers exist with the main purpose to obtain different information concerning your web browsing activity, so that the adware and target you with more specific ads, like in your language, for example. The problem is that you do not know what happens to this information and who it is shared with. The information that may be tracked from your browser as a result of these technologies is the following kinds:

  • The browsing history from your browser.
  • What searches you have made.
  • What you have visited.
  • Your mouse movements.
  • Your mouse clicks.
  • IP and Mac addresses.
  • Your bookmarked websites.

Is CharacterVirtualSearch a Virus?

CharacterVirtualSearch is the type of program that is reported to be a browser hijacker and not a virus. However, it could be just as dangerous as any virus, because the websites to which some of these advertisements could lead can be very dangerous, for example:

  • Rogue software sites.
  • Web pages that contain scams.
  • Redirects to dangerous sites via multiple pay-per-click redirects.
  • Survey sites that are fraud.
  • Phishing pages.
  • URLs, containing a virus infection file or script.
  • Tech support fraud pages.

This is the main reason why it is strongly recommended that you get rid of this software ASAP.

How to Remove CharacterVirtualSearch from Mac?

In order to effectively clean up your Mac and the web browsers that are installed in it from CharacterVirtualSearch, it is strongly recommended that you follow the steps for removal below. They have been created with the main idea to contain all of the necessary information to clean up your Mac. If you want the most effective removal or just lack the experience to do manual removal, the best way to do it according to security professionals is the scan your Mac, by using anti-malware program. Such a reputable software is created with the primary idea to thoroughly check your Mac and automatically get it rid of any malicious software.

Ventsislav Krastev

Ventsislav is a cybersecurity expert at SensorsTechForum since 2015. He has been researching, covering, helping victims with the latest malware infections plus testing and reviewing software and the newest tech developments. Having graduated Marketing as well, Ventsislav also has passion for learning new shifts and innovations in cybersecurity that become game changers. After studying Value Chain Management, Network Administration and Computer Administration of System Applications, he found his true calling within the cybersecrurity industry and is a strong believer in the education of every user towards online safety and security.

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OFFER
REMOVE IT NOW (MAC)
with SpyHunter for Mac
CharacterVirtualSearch may remain persistent on your system and may re-infect it. We recommend you to download SpyHunter for Mac and run free scan to remove all virus files on your Mac. This saves you hours of time and effort compared to doing the removal yourself.
Free Remover allows you, subject to a 48-hour waiting period, one remediation and removal for results found. Read EULA and Privacy Policy

About the CharacterVirtualSearch Research

The content we publish on SensorsTechForum.com, this CharacterVirtualSearch how-to removal guide included, is the outcome of extensive research, hard work and our team’s devotion to help you remove the specific macOS issue.

How did we conduct the research on CharacterVirtualSearch?

Please note that our research is based on an independent investigation. We are in contact with independent security researchers, thanks to which we receive daily updates on the latest malware definitions, including the various types of Mac threats, especially adware and potentially unwanted apps (PUAs).

Furthermore, the research behind the CharacterVirtualSearch threat is backed with VirusTotal.

To better understand the threat posed by Mac malware, please refer to the following articles which provide knowledgeable details.

References

1. macOS More Susceptible to Adware and PUPs than Windows
2. XLoader Malware-as-a-Service Now Available for macOS for Only $49
3. XCSSET Mac Malware Targets Apple’s M1-Based Macs and macOS 11
4. macOS Backdoor Malware Linked to OceanLotus Hackers
5. The State of Apple’s Privacy So Far in 2021


Preparation Phase:

Before starting to follow the steps below, be advised that you should first do the following preparations:

  • Backup your files in case the worst happens.
  • Make sure to have a device with these instructions on standy.
  • Arm yourself with patience.

Step 1: Uninstall CharacterVirtualSearch and remove related files and objects

OFFER
Manual Removal Usually Takes Time and You Risk Damaging Your Files If Not Careful!
We Recommend To Scan Your Mac with SpyHunter for Mac
Keep in mind, that SpyHunter for Mac needs to purchased to remove the malware threats. Click on the corresponding links to check SpyHunter’s EULA and Privacy Policy

1. Hit the ⇧+⌘+U keys to open Utilities. Another way is to click on “Go” and then click “Utilities”, like the image below shows:


2. Find Activity Monitor and double-click it:


3. In the Activity Monitor look for any suspicious processes, belonging or related to CharacterVirtualSearch:

Tip: To quit a process completely, choose the “Force Quit” option.


4. Click on the "Go" button again, but this time select Applications. Another way is with the ⇧+⌘+A buttons.


5. In the Applications menu, look for any suspicious app or an app with a name, similar or identical to CharacterVirtualSearch. If you find it, right-click on the app and select “Move to Trash”.


6. Select Accounts, after which click on the Login Items preference. Your Mac will then show you a list of items that start automatically when you log in. Look for any suspicious apps identical or similar to CharacterVirtualSearch. Check the app you want to stop from running automatically and then select on the Minus (“-“) icon to hide it.


7. Remove any left-over files that might be related to this threat manually by following the sub-steps below:

  • Go to Finder.
  • In the search bar type the name of the app that you want to remove.
  • Above the search bar change the two drop down menus to “System Files” and “Are Included” so that you can see all of the files associated with the application you want to remove. Bear in mind that some of the files may not be related to the app so be very careful which files you delete.
  • If all of the files are related, hold the ⌘+A buttons to select them and then drive them to “Trash”.

In case you cannot remove CharacterVirtualSearch via Step 1 above:

In case you cannot find the virus files and objects in your Applications or other places we have shown above, you can manually look for them in the Libraries of your Mac. But before doing this, please read the disclaimer below:

Disclaimer! If you are about to tamper with Library files on Mac, be sure to know the name of the virus file, because if you delete the wrong file, it may cause irreversible damage to your MacOS. Continue on your own responsibility!

1. Click on "Go" and Then "Go to Folder" as shown underneath:

2. Type in "/Library/LauchAgents/" and click Ok:

3. Delete all of the virus files that have similar or the same name as CharacterVirtualSearch. If you believe there is no such file, do not delete anything.

You can repeat the same procedure with the following other Library directories:

→ ~/Library/LaunchAgents
/Library/LaunchDaemons

Tip: ~ is there on purpose, because it leads to more LaunchAgents.


Step 2: Remove CharacterVirtualSearch – related extensions from Safari / Chrome / Firefox

Remove an extension from Safari and reset it.Remove a toolbar from Google Chrome Remove a toolbar from Mozilla Firefox

1. Start Safari

2. After hovering your mouse cursor to the top of the screen, click on the Safari text to open its drop down menu.

3. From the menu, click on "Preferences"

stf-safari preferences

4. After that, select the 'Extensions' Tab

stf-safari-extensions

5. Click once on the extension you want to remove.

6. Click 'Uninstall'

stf-safari uninstall

A pop-up window will appear asking for confirmation to uninstall the extension. Select 'Uninstall' again, and the CharacterVirtualSearch will be removed.

How to Reset Safari
IMPORTANT: Before resetting Safari make sure you back up all your saved passwords within the browser in case you forget them.

Start Safari and then click on the gear leaver icon.

Click the Reset Safari button and you will reset the browser.

1. Start Google Chrome and open the drop menu

2. Move the cursor over "Tools" and then from the extended menu choose "Extensions"

3. From the opened "Extensions" menu locate the add-on and click on the garbage bin icon on the right of it.

4. After the extension is removed, restart Google Chrome by closing it from the red "X" in the top right corner and start it again.


1. Start Mozilla Firefox. Open the menu window

2. Select the "Add-ons" icon from the menu.

3. Select the Extension and click "Remove"

4. After the extension is removed, restart Mozilla Firefox by closing it from the red "X" in the top right corner and start it again.


Step 3: Scan for and remove CharacterVirtualSearch files from your Mac

When you are facing problems on your Mac as a result of unwanted scripts and programs such as CharacterVirtualSearch, the recommended way of eliminating the threat is by using an anti-malware program. SpyHunter for Mac offers advanced security features along with other modules that will improve your Mac’s security and protect it in the future.


Click the button below below to download SpyHunter for Mac and scan for CharacterVirtualSearch:


Download

SpyHunter for Mac



Quick and Easy Mac Malware Video Removal Guide


Step 4: How to Make Your Mac Run Faster?

Mac machines maintain probably the fastest operating system out there. Still, Macs do become slow and sluggish sometimes. The video guide below examines all of the possible problems that may lead to your Mac being slower than usual as well as all of the steps that can help you to speed up your Mac.


CharacterVirtualSearch FAQ

What is CharacterVirtualSearch on your Mac?

The CharacterVirtualSearch threat is probably a potentially unwanted app. There is also a chance it could be related to Mac malware. If so, such apps tend to slow your Mac down siginficantly and display advertisements. They could also use cookies and other trackers to obtain browsing information from the installed web browsers on your Mac.

The creators of such unwanted apps work with pay-per-click schemes to get your Mac to visit risky or different types of websites that may generate them funds. This is why they do not even care what types of websites show up on the ads. This makes their unwanted software indirectly risky for your MacOS.

Can my Mac get a virus?

Yes. As much as any other device, Apple computers do get viruses. Apple devices may not be a frequent target by malware authors, but rest assured that the following Apple devices can become infected with a virus:

  • iMac
  • Mac Mini
  • Macbook Air
  • Macbook Pro
  • iPhone
  • iPad

What are the symptoms of CharacterVirtualSearch on your Mac?

There are several symptoms to look for when this particular threat and also most Mac threats in general are active:

Symptom #1: Your Mac may become slow and has poor performance in general.

Symtpom #2: You have toolbars, add-ons or extensions on your web browsers that you don't remember adding.

Symptom #3: You see all types of ads, like ad-supported search results, pop-ups and redirects to randomly appear.

Symptom #4: You see installed apps on your Mac running automatically and you do not remember installing them.

Symptom #5: You see suspicious processes running in your Mac's Activity Monitor.

If you see one or more of those symptoms, then security experts reccomend that you check your Mac for viruses.

What types of Mac threats are there?

According to most malware researchers and cyber-security experts, the threats that can currently infect your Mac can be the following types:

  • Rogue Antivirus programs.
  • Adware and hijackers.
  • Trojan horses and other spyware.
  • Ransomware and screen-lockers.
  • Cryptocurrency miner malware.

What to do if I have a Mac virus, like CharacterVirtualSearch?

Do not panic! You can easily get rid of most Mac threats by firstly isolating them and then removing them. One reccomended way to do that is by using a reputable malware removal software that can take care of the removal automatically for you. There are many Mac anti-malware apps out there that you can choose from. SpyHunter for Mac is one of the reccomended Mac anti-malware apps, that can scan for free and detect any viruses, tracking cookies and unwanted adware apps plus take care of them quickly. This saves time for manual removal that you would otherwise have to do.

How to secure my passwords and other data from CharacterVirtualSearch?

With few simple actions. First and foremost, it is imperative that you follow these steps:

Step 1: Find a safe computer and connect it to another network, not the one that your Mac was infected in.

Step 2: Change all of your passwords, starting from your e-mail passwords.

Step 3: Enable two-factor authentication for protection of your important accounts.

Step 4: Call your bank to change your credit card details (secret code, etc.) if you have saved your credit card for online shopping or have done online activiites with your card.

Step 5: Make sure to call your ISP (Internet provider or carrier) and ask them to change your IP address.

Step 6: Change your Wi-Fi password.

Step 7: (Optional): Make sure to scan all of the devices connected to your network for viruses and repeat these steps for them if they are affected.

Step 8: Install anti-malware software with real-time protection on every device you have.

Step 9: Try not to download software from sites you know nothing about and stay away from low-reputation websites in general.

If you follow these reccomendations, your network and Apple devices will become significantly more safe against any threats or information invasive software and be virus free and protected in the future too.

More tips you can find on our MacOS Virus section, where you can also ask any questions and comment about your Mac problems.

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