This article has been created in order to give you insight on how to quickly remove the SearchAwesome Mac Adware from your Mac effectively.
The SearchAwesome Mac Adware is a very dangerous threat to all Mac computers as it can install itself silently and lead to data theft. Active infections can be made without any apparent symptoms and depending on the specific hacker instructions different actions can take place. This is the reason why affected users should remove it immediately.
|Name||SearchAwesome Mac Adware|
|Type||Mac OS Adware|
|Short Description||The SearchAwesome Mac Adware installs various malware on the target computers.|
|Symptoms||The victims may not experience any apparent signs of infection.|
|Distribution Method||Emails, infected software installers and other methods.|
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|User Experience||Join Our Forum to Discuss SearchAwesome Mac Adware.|
SearchAwesome Mac Adware — How Did I Get It
The SearchAwesome Mac Adware is a popular malicious threat which is known to be spread using several different methods. The available research shows that the malicious actors behind it attempt to coerce the targets into installing a setup file that looks like a legitimate app installer.
One of the most common ways to do this is to coordinate email SPAM messages that are sent in bulk to the target recipients. They are usually designed to appear as legitimate notifications or offers sent by well-known companies or services. These setup files may be directly attached or linked in the body contents.
These setup files can also be spread using various malicious payloads, two of the common types are the following:
- Malicious Documents — The operators can use macro-infected documents of all popular types to spread the infections. A virus-infected file can be a rich text document, presentation, database or spreadsheet. When the relevant file is opened a notification prompt will be spawned which will request the user to enable the built-in scripts. If this is done then the virus infection will automatically begin.
- Bundle Installers — The malicious code can be bundled with the installers of popular end-user software: system utilities, creativity suites and productivity applications. Whenever they are installed the virus instance will also be installed.
To further increase the chances of acquiring the infection the criminal operators can construct malicious sites. They can be made to look like an official vendor product image and download portals. The SearchAwesome Mac Adware samples can also be found on file sharing networks. A very popular option is BitTorrent where both legitimate and pirate content can be found.
In advanced cases the hacker operators can also make use of browser hijackers which are often used to spread all kinds of malware. They represent malicious web browser plugins which are uploaded to the official repositories. They are advertised as useful additions and performance optimizations. They are uploaded using fake/stolen user reviews and developer credentials. When the installation is complete the built-in pattern of code will be started.
When the infections are done using the startup file carrying the infection an authorization prompt will be shown. There are two authentication boxes which require the users to enter in their account credentials — Certificate Trust Settings and Network Configuration Modification. This will lead to the second-stage payload delivery script.
SearchAwesome Mac Adware — Full Description
Following the initial deployment the SearchAwesome Mac Adware will install an application and several launch agents. The distinct feature is that during this phase an additional step is made — the installation of a certificate allowing man-in-the-middle attacks. This process allows the malicious operators to spy even on encrypted traffic. A side effect is ability to intercept all kinds of private data: usernames, passwords and etc.
The application that is installed is the open-source software called mitmproxy. This is an utility that is used to intercept, inspect, modify and replay web traffic. When this is combined with the certificate this also allows the manipulation of encrypted traffic.
- Intrusive Ads — The SearchAwesome Mac Adware in most cases is used to load intrusive ads in the form of pop-ups, banners and redirects. They display sponsored content, every click made by the user leads to profit generation for the malicious operators.
- Hijackers — In some cases the infections can be used to install malicious web browser plugins. They are usually accompanied by a description promising greater functionality or optimization. Once installed they can lead to many modifications of the browser settings and the deployment of other threats.
- Trojan Instances — Another dangerous possibility is to load Trojan viruses which are primarily used to spy on the victim users. They set up a secure connection to a hacker-controlled server. This allows the hackers to remote control the victim systems, hijack user data and spy on the users activities at any given time.
- Ransomware — Active infections can be used to deliver ransomware viruses. They are used to encrypt target user files according to a built-in list of file type extensions.
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.
SearchAwesome Mac Adware-FAQ
What is SearchAwesome Mac Adware on your Mac?
The SearchAwesome Mac Adware threat is probably a potentially unwanted app. There is also a chance it could be related to Mac malware.
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 Macs Get Viruses?
Yes. As much as any other device, Apple computers do get malware. Apple devices may not be a frequent target by malware authors, but rest assured that the following Apple devices can become infected with a threat:
- Mac Mini
- Macbook Air
- Macbook Pro
What Are The Symptoms of SearchAwesome Mac Adware On 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 SearchAwesome Mac Adware?
Do not panic! You can easily get rid of most Mac threats by firstly isolating them and then removing them. One recommended 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. This saves time for manual removal that you would otherwise have to do.
How to Secure My Data from SearchAwesome Mac Adware?
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 SearchAwesome Mac Adware Research
The content we publish on SensorsTechForum.com, this SearchAwesome Mac Adware 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 SearchAwesome Mac Adware?
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 SearchAwesome Mac Adware threat is backed with VirusTotal.
To better understand the threat posed by Mac malware, please refer to the following articles which provide knowledgeable details.