Has the CharacterSearch app appeared on your Mac? Do you want to learn more about this app and how to remove it?
CharacterSearch Mac Adware
Another day, another adware for Mac detected. This time the program comes with the name CharacterSearch and it could be further classified as a PUP or a potentially unwanted program. This app sneaks into target macOS in order to adjust various system and browser settings. After CharacterSearch applies the changes, it could start generating fake system alerts, pop-up messages, and annoying advertisements. No matter what actions this suspicious program requires from you to perform, you should refrain from doing it. Pop-ups generated by suspicious apps like CharacterSearch may trick you to elevate PUP’s permissions and let it cause some serious security issues.
If you see CharacterSearch adware on your Mac, you should take action to detect and remove potentially unwanted files from both the affected system and browser.
|Short Description||A questionable application that hijacks Safari and Chrome browsers installed on macOS. Performs browser modifications without your knowledge. Generates annoying ads.|
|Symptoms||The homepage, new tab page and search engine in preferred web browser may be set to display a hoax search engine. Browser slowdowns may occur due to increased number of online ads. The program may start every time you start the affected Mac.|
|Distribution Method||Freeware Installations, Bundled Packages|
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CharacterSearch Potentially Unwanted Program on Mac
CharacterSearch is yet another potentially unwanted application that hijacks Mac systems and browsers installed on them. The app could have landed on your Mac without your knowledge.
Different techniques might be trying to deliver CharacterSearch adware on Mac machines. Third-party installations are considered as a main distribution technique. If it was the technique that installed this adware on your Mac, it would be good to remember the moment when you installed a third-party app on the macOS. Its installation setup might have tricked you to install inadvertently some added extras.
There are many software bundles and freeware out there that feature compromised installers. Their installers could install additional potentially undesired apps by default. To prevent unwanted programs from running on your Mac you should always look for the Custom or Advanced settings. They are often set to display all the information about the elements of the current installer. Sometimes they provide a direct option to opt-out of all you don’t want.
The reason why CharacterSearch adware aims to affect Macs is its goal to generate revenue for its operators. That’s why it may alter browser preferences, install additional undesired components that enable it to gain access to installed browsers, and then start generating intrusive ads.
If the CharacterSearch adware has obtained access to your Mac, then you should beware aware of various ads – browser redirects, pop-ups, banners, new browser windows, etc. as some of them may be presenting misleading information in an attempt to make you prone to visit poorly secured or hacked websites.
Note that the app CharacterSearch may also act like a browser hijacker. In such a case, it will alter some main browser preferences including those of the homepage, new tab page and default search engine. They could be all set to redirect to hoax search engines like Search Baron and Search Marquis.
Apps like CharacterSearch tend to activate different tracking technologies as well. This issue enables them to spy on users’ online activities. Data records could be sent to remote servers and misused by apps owners. Unfortunately, a guarantee that some of the tracking technologies dropped by this adware won’t harvest usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, etc. lacks.
Stay secured by removing CharacterSearch Mac app from the infected system and all the affected browsers.
How to Remove CharacterSearch Mac Adware
In order to remove CharacterSearch along with all entries created on the Mac system, you should complete several removal steps in a precise order. The guide below presents manual and automatic removal approaches. In order to fully get rid of files installed by undesired programs and strengthen macOS security, we recommend that you combine the steps. The manual Mac adware removal might be quite a complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. If you don’t feel comfortable with the manual steps, navigate to the automatic part of the guide.
Notice: Before manually removing files or folders on your Mac, make sure to identify the accurate components of CharacterSearch, because deleting other apps’ files or system settings files by mistake may trigger malfunction of installed apps or even your system.
In case you have further questions or need additional help with the removal process, don’t hesitate to leave us a comment.
About the CharacterSearch Research
The content we publish on SensorsTechForum.com, this CharacterSearch 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 CharacterSearch?
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 CharacterSearch threat is backed with VirusTotal.
To better understand the threat posed by Mac malware, please refer to the following articles which provide knowledgeable details.
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
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 CharacterSearch and remove related files and objects
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 CharacterSearch:
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 CharacterSearch. 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 CharacterSearch. 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 CharacterSearch 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:
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 CharacterSearch. If you believe there is no such file, do not delete anything.
You can repeat the same procedure with the following other Library directories:
Tip: ~ is there on purpose, because it leads to more LaunchAgents.
Step 2: Remove CharacterSearch – related extensions from Safari / Chrome / Firefox
Step 3: Scan for and remove CharacterSearch files from your Mac
When you are facing problems on your Mac as a result of unwanted scripts and programs such as CharacterSearch, 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.
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.
What is CharacterSearch 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:
- Mac Mini
- Macbook Air
- Macbook Pro
What are the symptoms of CharacterSearch 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 CharacterSearch?
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 CharacterSearch?
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.