Is searchmaster.net suddenly the default search engine and new tab page of your browser?
If so, your system has been compromised by a potentially unwanted application (PUA) with browser-hijacking capabilities, in this case SearchMaster. Such apps are also ad-supported, which often leads to the display of intrusive advertisements which interrupt the normal browsing experience.
There are specific outcomes of having such an application installed on your system; thus, the removal of unwanted apps such as SearchMaster is highly advisable.
Note. There are many browser hijackers similar to SearchMaster. They all change the settings of the affected browser to appear every time the system is restarded. Some examples include SearchAdditionally, Search Pulse, and Pizgetz.
|Type||Browser Hijacker, Redirect, PUP|
|Short Description||A questionable search engine.|
|Symptoms||The homepage, new tab page and search engine in your default web browser are set to display searchmaster.net.|
|Distribution Method||Freeware Installations, Bundled Packages|
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|User Experience||Join Our Forum to Discuss searchmaster.net.|
SearchMaster Browser Hijacker – Detailed Description
Because of its sudden, unexpected appearance and overall behavior, SearchMaster is classified as a browser hijacker which is designed to alter the settings of your default browser without your knowledge or permission. The browser hijacker will set the homepage to searchmaster.net. However, the search engine may in fact use results provided by Yahoo search or another legitimate search engine.
As a result of having the this hijacking app installed on your Mac, you may start witnessing intrusive pop-up ads unrelated to your browsing. These ads could contain information about questionable applications, virus alerts and detected system issues, or push notifications. Your searched could also be redirected to unwanted and suspicious pages.
It is crucial to keep in mind that unwanted apps such as SearchMaster may be able to collect various details about your browsing habits, such as:
- Visited URLs and websites
- Browser’s home page
- Search queries
- Search queries on the visited web pages
- Type of used browser
- Operating system type
- Internet protocol (IP) address
- Geographic location
- The domain name of current Internet service provider (ISP)
- Diagnostic information which describes how their Services are operating on the system
To avoid the installation of unwanted software and adware, you should play close attention during the installation of freeware apps. Freeware you recently downloaded from software download pages could have been bundled with SearchMaster. Third-party developers may support shady practices for monetization purposes, and may offer you to change your homepage or search provider. You can decline any of these additional offers only if you are careful enough to spot them during installation. In other words, paying attention to the installation setups of freeware could spare you from having to deal with searchmaster.net.
To avoid any further unwanted activities, it is highly advisable to eliminate SearchMaster/ searchmaster.net from your browsers and operating system. The next paragraph provides instructions on how to do so.
SearchMaster (searchmaster.net) – Removal
In order to remove searchmaster.net and the associated unwanted program, along with all its associated files, you should complete several removal steps. The instructions underneath offer both manual and automatic removal approaches. In order to fully get rid of the files installed by PUAs, we recommend that you combine the steps.
However, note that the manual removal may 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.
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 searchmaster.net 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:
- 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 searchmaster.net 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:
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 searchmaster.net – related extensions from Safari / Chrome / Firefox
Step 3: Scan for and remove searchmaster.net files from your Mac
When you are facing problems on your Mac as a result of unwanted scripts and programs such as searchmaster.net, 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.
What is searchmaster.net 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 searchmaster.net 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 searchmaster.net?
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 searchmaster.net?
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.