Remove Defend Search from Your Mac

Remove Defend Search from Your Mac

remove defend search hijacker

This article aims to help you with the removal of Defend Search redirect from affected browser and system. Follow the detailed guide at the end to get rid of this hoax search engine in full.

The Defend Search is a nasty hijacker that has been detected to affect users worldwide. Once it manages to access a target browser it changes some of its default settings without your permission. As long as it has access to your browser and system it is capable of collecting various data and generating lots of annoying ads.

Threat Summary

NameDefend Search
TypeBrowser Hijacker
Short DescriptionHoax search engine that affects main browser settings without your knowledge.
SymptomsThe main page of this hijacker appears every time you open an affected web browser. The number of generated online advertisements insreases.
Distribution MethodSoftware bundles, Infected installers, Corrutped web pages
Detection Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by Defend Search

Combo Cleaner

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User ExperienceJoin Our Forum to Discuss Defend Search.

Defend Search – Distribution

The presence of Defend Search hijacker in your preferred web browser could be associated with the presence of any potentially undesired program on your Mac. Since programs of this kind are primarily distributed with the help of shady techniques, you might have installed the one associated with the hijacker unintentionally.

Among these shady methods are like to be software bundling, corrupted third-party apps installers, malvertising and more.
Various software bundles are believed to be used as a primary spread channel for this undesired program. This could be explained by the fact that many free apps have an open source code that could be easily accessed and modified by malicious intenders.

Changes usually affect the installers of these apps. They could be set to install Defend Search along with the primary app. Unfortunately, you could easily miss added extras and start them unintentionally on your Mac. This could happen when you install apps by following the regular steps. Since they rarely reveal the presence of additional apps, you could unintentionally run them with a click on the Finish button.

Happily, there is a way to prevent undesired apps like Defend Search from invading your Mac by selecting the Advanced/Custom configuration option presented in apps’ installers. Once you open this menu you could be able to reveal the presence of any undesired apps and opt out their installation.

Defend Search may also be pushed by dubious browser add-ons installed in the affected browser. Its installation may have happened after a visit to a corrupted web page.

Defend Search – More Information

The hijacker dubbed Defend Search is considered to be an undesired program mainly because of its capability to modify essential browser settings without your permission. As soon as it manages to run configuration files on your Mac, it becomes able to alter essential browser settings. As a consequence, its main page starts to load every time you open an affected web browser.

Affected may also be the settings of your default search engine and new tab page.

defend search hoax search engine sensorstechforum removal guide

Even though this search engine looks like the ones you could trust, it appears to be a hoax one. As soon as you enter a query and hit search Defend Search generates a page full of sponsored results. Even if the results for some searches seems to be clear from ads, they may still not be the most relevant available across the web.

The infection with this hijacker may also lead to the appearance of a lot more advertisements in the browser. As a result, it may become sluggish and completely unresponsive at times. You should be very careful with all the pop-ups, pop-unders, new tab pages, videos, images and links to sponsored content you see in the affected browser as some of them may be misused by hackers for the accomplishment of their malicious purposes. Eventually, a visit of the wrong one could result in the automatic installation of severe malware on your Mac.

Another unwanted issue that occurs as a result of using the deceptive services of Defend Search is unauthorized data collection. With the help of different tracking technologies, it could steal valuable data from the affected browser and then use it for business and advertising purposes.

Related: Which is the Most Secure Browser for 2019?

To sum up, Defend Search is a nasty hijacker that invades your browser no matter whether you want it there or not. None of the legitimate search engines alters browser settings without asking for your explicit permission. At least they notify you about the occurrence of eventual changes. Furthermore, it spies on your online activities and floods the affected browser with lots of annoying ads. So the best choice you could make is the immediate removal of Defend Search from your system.

Remove Defend Search Browser Hijacker from Your Mac

In order to remove Defend Search hijacker as well as all files associated with its presence in the browser, you need to complete all the steps presented in the removal guide below. The guide contains both manual and automatic removal instructions as combined they will help you to remove this undesired program in full.

In case you have further questions or need additional help, don’t hesitate to leave a comment or contact us via email.

Gergana Ivanova

Gergana Ivanova

Gergana has a bachelor's degree in Marketing. She has been with the STF team for five years, researching malware, reporting on the latest computer infections, and following digital marketing trends.

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Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer

Get rid of Defend Search from Mac OS X.

Step 1: Uninstall Defend Search and remove related files and objects

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 Defend Search:

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 Defend Search. 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 Defend Search. 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 Defend Search 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 Defend Search. 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

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

Step 2: Scan for and remove Defend Search files from your Mac

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

Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer

Remove Defend Search from Google Chrome.

Step 1: Start Google Chrome and open the drop menu

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

Step 3: From the opened "Extensions" menu locate the unwanted extension and click on its "Remove" button.

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

Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer

Erase Defend Search from Mozilla Firefox.

Step 1: Start Mozilla Firefox. Open the menu window

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

Step 3: Select the unwanted extension and click "Remove"

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

Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer

Uninstall Defend Search from Microsoft Edge.

Step 1: Start Edge browser.

Step 2: Open the drop menu by clicking on the icon at the top right corner.

Step 3: From the drop menu select "Extensions".

Step 4: Choose the suspected malicious extension you want to remove and then click on the gear icon.

Step 5: Remove the malicious extension by scrolling down and then clicking on Uninstall.

Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer

Delete Defend Search from Safari.

Step 1: Start the Safari app.

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

Step 3: From the menu, click on "Preferences".

stf-safari preferences

Step 4: After that, select the 'Extensions' Tab.


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

Step 6: Click 'Uninstall'.

stf-safari uninstall

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

Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer

Eliminate Defend Search from Internet Explorer.

Step 1: Start Internet Explorer.

Step 2: Click on the gear icon labeled 'Tools' to open the drop menu and select 'Manage Add-ons'

Step 3: In the 'Manage Add-ons' window.

Step 4: Select the extension you want to remove and then click 'Disable'. A pop-up window will appear to inform you that you are about to disable the selected extension, and some more add-ons might be disabled as well. Leave all the boxes checked, and click 'Disable'.

Step 5: After the unwanted extension has been removed, restart Internet Explorer by closing it from the red 'X' button located at the top right corner and start it again.

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