SearchMine Mac Malware Removal Tutorial

SearchMine Malware on Mac

SearchMine is a new infection which has been reported in various attacks worldwide. At the moment the security experts have not been able to identify a single tactic that is being used to infect the targets. We presume that the hackers are using several of the most important methods to carry out malicious campaigns. It promotes itself as a legitimate utility that can enhance web browsing. However, most of the found instances were found to contain malicious code and lead to risky behavior that exposes the security and privacy of the machines and their users.

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SearchMine Manual Removal Guide
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How Does SearchMine Malware Land on a Mac?

A common way of setting potentially unwanted/harmful program attacks 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.

The malware browser plugins 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 browser hijacker code associated with the SearchMine can be found in numerous malware toolbars. They are usually made for the most popular web browsers: Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, Microsoft Edge. They can be distributed on such download sites or even on the browsers repositories (such as the Chrome Web Store for Google Chrome) using fake developer accounts.

Malicious Activity Of The SearchMine Mac Virus

The SearchMine virus on Mac is a popular infection that attempts to coerce the users into installing a malicious component in the installed web browsers. One of the main reasons why users are discouraged from using it is the fact that upon installing it or when navigating to pages that are connected with it intrusive ads will be displayed. This behavior can result in the generation of banners, pop-ups, redirects and other interactive elements to the users. Whenever they are displayed the operators will receive income for this.

The SearchMine undesired app on Mac can also lead to other malicious behavior such as data collection — the engine will retrieve information about the users and the infected computer. It can expose the identity of the users thereby allowing identity theft and financial abuse. Any system information that is retrieved can also lead to the generation of a report that gives insight about the compromised machines — hardware components, user settings and operating system behavior. The SearchMine browser hijacker can also use this data to achieve a persistent state of execution. This means that the program toolbar can create a brand new user profile, set its files to load on every system start, change configuration files and other values in order to make it harder to remove.

When it is installed the underlying engine will execute the built-in behavior patterns — the code may change the default browser settings in order to redirect to a hacker-controlled page. Modifications will be done to the default home page, new tabs page and search engine.

A dangerous consequence of the installation is that it may also lead to the installation of other malware, including ransomware, Trojans and etc. Mac viruses like SearchMine are a popular delivery method for cryptocurrency miners. They are scripts that take advantage of the available hardware components by running complex calculations. When they are complete and the results reported to the hacker-controlled servers the operators will receive rewards in the form of digital currency which will be wired to them automatically. The actual displayed site will show a search engine and utilities that are modeled to appear like legitimate Internet portals that the users can visit. This is very dangerous as the infection can redirect to hacker-controlled sites that use similar sounding domain names, certificates and content. There are several dangerous characteristics that are associated with the use of browser hijackers of this type:

  • Fake Login Pages — The displayed pages by the SearchMine can showcase links to popular services and social networks that the users might use. Entering any account credentials will automatically redirect them to the hacker operators.
  • Browser Usage Surveillance — By infiltrating the web browsers the scripts will give the hackers real-time information about what sites are visited as well as data about the user interaction.
  • Virus Delivery — The use of this can trigger the virus delivery of other redirects. This is particularly useful when the hackers want to maximize the damaging impact.
  • Bad Results — As a result of the site interaction when the users search for specific strings the service may not produce the best possible results. Instead, they can be modified to redirect the victims to sponsored content, ads, or even malicious sites.

SearchMine Removal Guide

If your system is showing infection symptoms, you should definitely take action and remove SearchMine 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 SearchMine either manually or automatically. If you don’t feel comfortable with manual instructions, download a reliable SearchMine 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.

Important Message
You should know that the manual removal of the SearchMine requires being familiar with system files and components. Removing important data accidentally can lead to permanent system damage.
You can prevent this from happening by downloading Combo Cleaner – a trustworthy malware removal tool that guarantees maximum efficiency.

How to Remove SearchMine on a Mac Manually

Remove SearchMine 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.

how-to-force-quit-appication-on-mac

You will see a list of all currently running applications. Go find SearchMine, 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 SearchMine may get installed along with the lastly installed application and their activities on the system may be related.

    2. Remove SearchMine 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.

clean-unwanted-applications-mac

    3. Мanually look for SearchMine 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…

go-go-to-folder-library-remove-suspicious-entries

When the window appear start entering the following folder locations one by one:

/Library/LauchAgents
/Library/Application Support
/Library/LaunchDaemons
~/Library/LaunchAgents

In each folder look for any recently-added suspicious files and move them to the Trash. Examples of files generated by adware:

  • installmac.AppRemoval.plist
  • myppes.download.plist
  • mykotlerino.ltvbit.plist
  • kuklorest.update.plist

Remove SearchMine From Your Browser

Remove suspicious browser extensions that can be responsible for the appearance of invasive pop-ups and browser redirects.

Removal guide for Safari Removal guide for Google Chrome Removal guide for Mozilla Firefox
1. Open Safari browser and go to the “Preferences” menu.

mac-safari-preferences-option

2. Click on the “Extensions” tab. If you see a suspicious or unwanted extension, select it and click “Uninstall“.

macos-safari-preferences-extensions

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.

Remove-Data-Safari-v-9-and-higher-mac

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.

Reset-Safari-version-5-to-8

1. Start Google Chrome. On the upper-right corner, there a “Customize and Control” menu icon. Click on it, then click on “Settings“.

settings-google-chrome-browser-hijacker-removal-guide

2. Click “Extensions” in the left menu. Then click on the trash bin icon to remove the suspicious extension.
delete-suspicious-extension-google-chrome-browser-hijacker-removal-guide

3. Again in the left menu, under Chrome, Click on “Settings“. Go under “On Startup” and set a new page.
set-new-page-google-chrome-browser-hijacker-removal-guide

4. Afterward, scroll down to “Search“, click on “Manage search engines“.
manage-search-engines-google-chrome-browser-hijacker-removal-guide

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“.
add-ons-mozilla-removal-browser-hijacker-guide

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“.
remove-suspicious-extensions-mozilla-removal-browser-hijacker-guide

3. Click again on the Open menu icon, then click “Options“.
options-mozilla-firefox-removal-browser-hijacker-guide

4. In the Options window, under “General” tab, click “Restore to Default“.
restore-to-default-settings-mozilla-firefox-removal-guide-browser-hijacker

5. Select “Search” in the left menu, mark the unknown search engine and press “Remove”.
search-remove-unknown-search-engine-mozilla-firefox-removal-guide-browser-hijacker

Remove SearchMine from a Mac Automatically

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.

DOWNLOAD Anti-Malware Tool

 
Combo Cleaner’s Disk Cleaner, Big Files Finder and Duplicates Scanner features are free. Antivirus, Privacy Scanner and Uninstaller features are paid. Here you can review its EULA and Privacy Policy.

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Gergana Ivanova

Author : Gergana Ivanova

Gergana Ivanova is a computer security enthusiast who enjoys presenting the latest issues related to cyber security. By doing thorough researches and sharing them on BestSecuritySearch, she hopes that more victims of malware infections will be able to secure their corrupted computer systems properly and eventually recover lost files.


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