PublicCharacterSearch is a browser hijacker application that mostly gets installed on Mac operating systems without users’ knowledge. It uses tricky techniques to gain access to a target system. You may suddenly realize that a strange app is loaded when you see it attaches to Chrome, Firefox, or Safari as an extension.
Run a free scan and check if your Mac is infected with malware.
Distribution of Public Character Search
Public Character Search is a nasty application for Mac which has been reported to interrupt regular browsing sessions without users’ permission. Since this undesired program could be misused for the distribution of malicious files its presence in the browser could endanger the overall security of targeted Mac operating systems. At the moment security experts have not been able to identify a single tactic that is being used to infect the targets. We presume that the bad actors are using several of the most important methods to carry out malicious campaigns.
A common way of setting redirect attacks like Public Character Search is the use of email spam messages. They may directly distribute malicious file attachments containing scripts that lead to an infection. Other cases can utilize complex social engineering tricks and hyperlinks that are specifically made to confuse the intended targets into infecting themselves. Two more scenarios that are used in combination with email messages rely on infected files used as payloads ‒ documents and software installers.
- Infected Software Installers ‒ The criminals craft malicious packages made out of legitimate software installers. They are taken from the official vendor download sites, modified and then posted on online sites or attached (either as file attachments) or linked in the email messages.
- Infected Documents ‒ They represent dangerous files that usually come in the form of some of the most popular document types: rich text documents, spreadsheets and databases. When the users open them up a notification prompt will ask them to enable the built-in scripts (macros). If this is done then the malware is installed on the victim computer.
Malicious browser plugins carriers of PublicCharacterSearch and other associated programs can be uploaded to hacker-controlled sites and P2P networks like BitTorrent as well. The hacker operators frequently utilize template design, text and images to create portals that look like legitimate download sources. They may also use domain names that are very similar to legitimate sites and advertise them via pop-ups or ad networks.
The undesired program associated with Public Character Search can be found in numerous malware toolbars. They are usually made for the most popular web browsers installed on macOS: Safari, Mozilla Firefox, and Google Chrome. They can be distributed on illegal download sites or even on the browsers repositories (such as the Chrome Web Store for Google Chrome) using fake developer accounts.
Impact of PublicCharacterSearch Mac Virus
PublicCharacterSearch has been classified as a potentially unwanted program that harasses online users by delivering numerous intrusive ads in their browsers. The program is often mistaken for a virus mainly because users notice it in their Applications lists without an initiated installation.
Apparently, in an attempt to spread this browser hijacker program the company owner (which currently remains unknown) bundles it with other supposedly useful free programs and then trick users into installing the PUP along with the primary app. This practice guarantees that PublicCharacterSearch’s owners will monetize their project.
PublicCharacterSearch Mac virus is known to act like a typical browser hijacker program so its primary purpose is to deliver as many ads to infected users as possible. This is due to the fact that the owners of PublicCharacterSearch get paid each time you click on an ad displayed by their nasty service. The ads may appear during browsing sessions or even when your browser is closed.
The intrusive ads can slow down the performance of the browser and the whole system as well. Crashes may happen at times. All pop-ups, pop-unders, images, banners and other types of ads injected by PublicCharacterSearch could display phrases like:
- Powered by PublicCharacterSearch
- Ads by PublicCharacterSearch
- Promoted by PublicCharacterSearch
- Displayed by PublicCharacterSearch
- Advertised by PublicCharacterSearch
Additionally, once PublicCharacterSearch establishes its malicious files on the system it is able to harvest specific details from your system and browsers it affects. It is a common practice of undesired programs like the discussed one. This could be explained by the fact that malicious intenders attempt to build a complete profile of the victims with all their interests and patterns of online behavior. Then they could deliver targeted content or even sell the records to third-parties of unknown origin.
PublicCharacterSearch ads and all files associated with this infection expose your system at risk of severe malware attacks. Thus, they must be eliminated completely before any privacy and security risks occur. This is why we recommend that all infected users need to remove active infections by following our in-depth removal guide.
If your system is showing infection symptoms, you should definitely take action and remove PublicCharacterSearch virus and related files from your macOS. The sooner the better! Below you can find our step-by-step Mac virus removal instructions that give you the opportunity to get rid of PublicCharacterSearch either manually or automatically. If you don’t feel comfortable with manual instructions, download a reliable PublicCharacterSearch removal tool that will scan your Mac system for malware and clean it safely for you. If any questions arise, or additional help is needed leave us a comment.
Remove PublicCharacterSearch and related files from OSX.
- 1. Force Quit all suspicious applications.
Go to the Apple menu in the upper-left corner of your screen and choose Force Quit option.
You will see a list of all currently running applications. Go find PublicCharacterSearch, select it and then navigate to the “Force Quit” button. You can also find the last application you installed on your Mac and stop it as well.
Since software bundling is a common propagation method, the PublicCharacterSearch may get installed along with the lastly installed application and their activities on the system may be related.
- 2. Remove PublicCharacterSearch and other related potentially unwanted applications from the Applications folder.
Open the Finder and select the Applications menu. Then search for the unwanted application and drag it to the Trash.
- 3. Мanually look for PublicCharacterSearch in the Libraries of your Mac.
WARNING! You are about to tamper with Library files on Mac. Make sure that you know the name of the virus file. Deleting the wrong file may cause irreversible damage to your MacOS.
Select Go from the top menu bar and navigate to Go to Folder…
When the window appear start entering the following folder locations one by one:
In each folder look for any recently-added suspicious files and move them to the Trash. Examples of files generated by browser hijacker:
Remove PublicCharacterSearch From Your Browser
Remove suspicious browser extensions that can be responsible for the appearance of invasive pop-ups and browser redirects.
2. Click on the “Extensions” tab. If you see a suspicious or unwanted extension, select it and click “Uninstall“.
3. Reset Safari web browser. Beware that this step will remove the history as well as some of your saved data. Before you proceed we recommend that you make sure to write down all passwords, logins and important details.
If you are using Safari version 9 or higher open the browser and go to “Preferences“. Then select the “Privacy” tab. When the window appears on screen click on the “Remove All Website Data” button.
In case that your Safari web browser is running a version from 5 to 8, then just select Safari on the top menu bar and click on “Reset Safari” option. Choose which data to be cleaned from the browser.
2. Click “Extensions” in the left menu. Then click on the trash bin icon to remove the suspicious extension.
3. Again in the left menu, under Chrome, Click on “Settings“. Go under “On Startup” and set a new page.
4. Afterward, scroll down to “Search“, click on “Manage search engines“.
5. In the default search settings list, find the unknown search engine and click on “X“. Then select your search engine of choice and click “Make default“. When you are ready click “Done” button in the right bottom corner.
1. Start Mozilla Firefox. In the upper right corner, click on the Open menu icon and select “Add-ons“.
2. Inside the Add-ons Manager select “Extensions“. Search the list of extensions for suspicious entries. If you find any, select them and click “Remove“.
3. Click again on the Open menu icon, then click “Options“.
4. In the Options window, under “General” tab, click “Restore to Default“.
5. Select “Search” in the left menu, mark the unknown search engine and press “Remove”.
While the above steps work very well in most of the cases when users’ OSX is infected with PUP or malware, sometimes the Mac virus removal requires the help of a professional application. This anti-malware tool will scan and remove malware from your Mac. It offers an active protection shield and comes with a variety of handy features that will keep your system fast, clean and secure.