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Remove SearchAwesome Mac Adware — Mac Restore Instructions

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.

Threat Summary

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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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.

Another side effect of the SearchAwesome Mac Adware is the injection of JavaScript code into all loaded pages. This can result in the ability to load various malware. A sample list includes the following:

  • 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.
  • Cryptocurrency Miners — The JavaScript code is used to load a miner instance which will take advantage of the available system resources to execute complex tasks. When they are complete this will be reported to a specialist hacker-controlled server which will award the malware operators with digital currency.
  • 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.

The security reports indicate that it is very possible that the JavaScript code can be changed to include a keylogger component. It is used to monitor the keystrokes and mouse movement thereby revealing even entry to online banking accounts. This is possible due to the fact that most of them use virtual on-screen keyboards.

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Martin Beltov

Martin graduated with a degree in Publishing from Sofia University. As a cyber security enthusiast he enjoys writing about the latest threats and mechanisms of intrusion.

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OFFER
REMOVE IT NOW (MAC)
with SpyHunter for Mac
SearchAwesome Mac Adware 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

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 SearchAwesome Mac Adware 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 SearchAwesome Mac Adware:

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 SearchAwesome Mac Adware. 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 SearchAwesome Mac Adware. 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 SearchAwesome Mac Adware 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 SearchAwesome Mac Adware. 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 SearchAwesome Mac Adware – 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 SearchAwesome Mac Adware 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 SearchAwesome Mac Adware files from your Mac

When you are facing problems on your Mac as a result of unwanted scripts and programs such as SearchAwesome Mac Adware, 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 SearchAwesome Mac Adware:


Download

SpyHunter for Mac




SearchAwesome Mac Adware FAQ

What is SearchAwesome Mac Adware on your Mac?

The SearchAwesome Mac Adware threat is a potentially unwanted app or likely a Mac virus. It may slow your Mac down siginficantly and display advertisements. The main idea is for your information to likely get stolen or more ads to appear 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 SearchAwesome Mac Adware 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 SearchAwesome Mac Adware?

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 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 website, where you can also ask any questions and comment about your Mac problems.

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