This article informs you about Search.playsearchnow.com browser hijacker and provides you help for the removal process of all suspicious and potentially undesired files from your affected Mac.
In case that you see the domain Search.playsearchnow.com during your regular browsing sessions, this means that your Mac has been affected by this browser hijacker. Once its configuration files are running on the system they could find browser settings and alter some main browser destinations. So the hijacker may be set to appear as browser start page, new tab page and default search engine. Keep reading and find out how to fix this issue.
|Type||Browser Hijacker, Redirect, PUP|
|Short Description||A questionable search enigne that hijacks the settings of your browser homepage, new tab page and default search engine. It performs all modifications without notifying targeted Mac users.|
|Symptoms||The start page, new tab page and preferred search enigne in affected web browser are set to dislay the main page of the hijacker. Browser slowdowns often occur due to increased number of online ads. Tracking technologies are running on the background.|
|Distribution Method||Freeware Installations, Bundled Packages|
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|User Experience||Join Our Forum to Discuss Search.playsearchnow.com.|
Search.playsearchnow.com – Spread Techniques
Being a potentially unwanted program classified as a browser hijacker Search.playsearchnow.com is likely to be spread via shady techniques that conceal its presence. Among the techniques that are used to trick users into installing undesired apps like the discussed one are software bundling, corrupted web pages, fake notifications for program updates, and other. In the case that the PUP lands on your Mac along with another desired program its configuration code is usually hidden in the installer of this app. An opportunity to prevent installing undesired code on your device is the access to Advanced/Custom configuration step available in installers. Once you get familiar with all details mentioned there you could choose wisely how to act further. In case that you see some unnecessary extras you could opt out their installation and continue with the installation of the primary app.
As of affected web browsers, they could be all commonly used – Safari, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, and Opera.
Search.playsearchnow.com – More About Its Impact
Search.playsearchnow.com is a website that features hoax search engine. It is classified as a browser hijacker due to the capabilities of its code to alter main browser settings without users’ permission.
Once started on your Mac files associated with this hijacker access certain system directories that control the performance of installed browsers. Then the undesired program implements changes to affect main browser settings and start forcing you to use its deceptive services.
For example, it could replace the start page, new tab page and default search engine in each target browser installed on the system. As a result, its main page which is shown below becomes the first thing you see when you start an affected browser.
An additional issue that may be observed is an increased number of online advertisements during browsing sessions. By utilizing this practice the undesired app aims to generate revenue for its owners. With the help of a scheme called pay-per-click hijacker’s owners get paid for each click on an ad generated by their program. No matter that this is a commonly used and legitimate advertising practice it is worth mentioning that in this case it is performed by unknown actors who primarily aim to earn money.
Eventually they may skip some crucial security checks during the selection of suitable advertisers. This in turn may expose your system as well as the data stored on it at risk of serious malicious infections. Only a single visit of any corrupted web page may result in the unnoticed installation of malware on your Mac. Furthermore, the appearance of all annoying ads in the browser may make it sluggish or in some cases completely unresponsive.
All issues that occur after the installation of Search.playsearchnow.com on your Mac could be prevented by its complete removal.
How to Remove Search.playsearchnow.com Browser Hijacker from Mac
In order to remove Search.playsearchnow.com hijacker and all associated files that enable its appearance in the browser, you need to perform properly ordered removal steps. The removal guide below presents steps for both manual and automatic removal process. Combined they will not only help you to get rid of this particular undesired program but also provide for the overall security of your Mac. Have in mind that files associated with this hijacker may have different names than Search.playsearchnow.com.
In case that you have further questions or need additional help with the removal process, don’t hesitate to leave a comment or contact us via email.
Steps to Prepare Before Removal:
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 Search.playsearchnow.com 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 Search.playsearchnow.com:
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 Search.playsearchnow.com. 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 Search.playsearchnow.com. Check the app you want to stop from running automatically and then select on the Minus (“-“) icon to hide it.
7. Remove any leftover 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 Search.playsearchnow.com 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 Search.playsearchnow.com. 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 Search.playsearchnow.com – related extensions from Safari / Chrome / Firefox
Step 3: Scan for and remove Search.playsearchnow.com files from your Mac
When you are facing problems on your Mac as a result of unwanted scripts and programs such as Search.playsearchnow.com, 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
Bonus Step: 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 Search.playsearchnow.com 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 Search.playsearchnow.com 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 Search.playsearchnow.com?
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 Search.playsearchnow.com?
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.
About the Search.playsearchnow.com Research
The content we publish on SensorsTechForum.com, this Search.playsearchnow.com 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 Search.playsearchnow.com?
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 Search.playsearchnow.com 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