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How to remove Any Search virus ( from Mac (Safari, Chrome, Firefox)

Learn how to prevent web browsers on Mac from being redirected to or due to a persistent malware infection.

Update: May 2020

Threat Profile
Name Any Search ( browser hijacker
Category Mac browser hijacker, redirect virus, Mac adware
Related Domains,,
Symptoms Redirects web browser to, adds sponsored content to search results, causes system slowdown, resists regular removal
Distribution Techniques Fake Adobe Flash Player update popups, freeware bundles, spam
Severity Level Medium
Damage Unwanted changes of custom browsing settings, privacy issues due to Internet activity tracking, search redirects, redundant ads
Removal Scan your Mac with Combo Cleaner to detect all files related to the browser hijacker. Use the tool to remove the infection if found.

The browser hijacking plague has been making itself felt in the Mac world lately like no other malware-backed campaigns. It makes users perplexed why they can no longer customize their Internet navigation and visit the pages they want instead of something imposed without even a hint of approval. Any Search, AnySearch 1.2.3 or Any Search Manager, is one of the most common junkware entities from this category wreaking havoc over the past few months. It causes Safari, Chrome and Firefox, if installed on a host computer, to resolve an unwanted web page. The landing page in this scenario can vary – some users report being rerouted to, while others keep seeing in their URL bar.

Any Search virus causes redirects to

There are some noteworthy ties of this hijack malware with other notorious Mac threats. One of them is Safe Finder, a cradle of malicious objects that tweak people's web surfing parameters to play into its proprietors' hands. Another one is Advanced Mac Cleaner, an aggressive pseudo optimization tool for Mac that displays misleading issue detection reports in order to dupe users into purchasing its license. The connection of the latter with Any Search malware can be concluded from victims' feedback on security forums where they post logs indicating the presence of Advanced Mac Cleaner on infected systems. This isn't likely to be a coincidence – moreover, rogue optimizers and bogus antispyware programs are known to propagate alongside extra culprits like browser hijackers.

Homepage of Any Search Manager, the affiliated malicious app

As is the case with most adware and other browser-borne baddies, the source of the AnySearch contagion mainly comes down to bundling. It designates a practice of cross-promoting opportunistic malicious code as part of an installation client for some regular benign software. The pest in question typically makes the rounds by dint of booby-trapped Flash Player installs hosted on uncertified websites. This fact additionally emphasizes the importance of using official application portals when downloading and installing programs.

When the Any Search virus infiltrates a Mac this way, it has sufficient privileges to make system-level changes on the machine. That’s because the tricky setup client includes a one-for-all agreement option, where the would-be victim opts into the terms of the good software while also unknowingly accepting those for the bad company. Consequently, Any Search uses its permissions to mutilate web browser settings. The affected values include the homepage, preferred search engine and new tab page. All of these start defaulting to or – obviously, without the victim’s consent. This perpetrating code is cross-browser, so it will hit all web browsers running on the host.

The Any Search adware attack is also a privacy issue, although this hallmark isn’t as conspicuous as the browser disruption impact. A bit of scrutiny unearths the following: every time a redirect occurs, the victim’s traffic arrives at Yahoo – which doesn’t seem to be the worst imaginable outcome, given the legit essence of the landing page. However, the search results aren’t returned in their pure form. Instead, there will be a number of ads above the fold, and this sponsored information appears to accurately reflect the victim’s interests based on their recent Internet activity. It means that the underlying Any Search Manager extension tracks the infected user’s browsing history and search terms in order to serve targeted advertisements. Obviously, this fingerprintable data is abused by the rogue operators of this campaign, and it can as well be sold to marketing entities that don’t mind playing dirty.

Ultimately, everyone who encounters the Any Search virus ends up looking for a way to get rid of it. This task isn’t as trivial as removal of the average Mac app. The core reason why this app is so stubborn and hard to vanquish is that it creates a new configuration profile as part of the attack. Whereas enterprise network administrators generally think of device profiles as an effective instrument to keep the company-issued Macs properly tuned, foolproof, and compliant with internal information security policies, cybercriminals leverage this feature in their very own way. It allows malicious code to control specific areas of computing and prevent the victims from easily reverting to normal settings. This abuse holds true for Any Search threat, which gives the web browsing preferences an overhaul and maintains the grip without yielding to regular cleaning methods. The entirety of information regarding Any Search uninstall techniques is provided in the following sections of this post. Be sure to use these steps for a thoroughgoing cleanup process.

Any Search virus manual removal for Mac

The steps listed below will walk you through the removal of this malicious application. Be sure to follow the instructions in the specified order.

  1. Expand the Go menu in your Mac’s Finder bar and select Utilities as shown below.

    Go to Utilities

  2. Locate the Activity Monitor icon on the Utilities screen and double-click on it.

    Select the Activity Monitor

  3. In the Activity Monitor app, look for Any Search (AnySearch 1.2.3) or another process that appears suspicious. To narrow down your search, focus on unfamiliar resource-intensive entries on the list. Keep in mind that its name isn’t necessarily related to the way the threat is manifesting itself, so you’ll need to trust your own judgement. If you pinpoint the culprit, select it and click on the Stop icon in the upper left-hand corner of the screen.

    Stop malicious process

  4. When a follow-up dialog pops up asking if you are sure you want to quit the troublemaking process, select the Force Quit option.

    Select the Force Quit option

  5. Click on the Go menu icon in the Finder again and select Go to Folder. You can as well use the Command-Shift-G keyboard shortcut.

    Use the Go to Folder feature

  6. Type /Library/LaunchAgents in the folder search dialog and click on the Go button.

    Open /Library/LaunchAgents folder

  7. Examine the contents of the LaunchAgents folder for dubious-looking items. Be advised that the names of files spawned by malware may give no clear clues that they are malicious, so you should look for recently added entities that appear to deviate from the norm.

    As an illustration, here are several examples of LaunchAgents related to mainstream Mac infections: com.pcv.hlpramc.plist, com.updater.mcy.plist, com.avickUpd.plist, and com.msp.agent.plist. If you spot files that don’t belong on the list, go ahead and drag them to the Trash.

    Root-level LaunchAgents folder contents

  8. Use the Go to Folder lookup feature again to navigate to the folder named ~/Library/Application Support (note the tilde symbol prepended to the path).

    Open ~/Library/Application Support folder

  9. When the Application Support directory is opened, identify recently generated suspicious folders in it and send them to the Trash. A quick tip is to look for items whose names have nothing to do with Apple products or apps you knowingly installed. A few examples of known-malicious folder names are IdeaShared, ForwardOpen and ExtraBrowser.

    Application Support folder contents

  10. Enter ~/Library/LaunchAgents string (don’t forget to include the tilde character) in the Go to Folder search area.

    Open ~/Library/LaunchAgents directory

  11. The system will display LaunchAgents residing in the current user’s Home directory. Look for dodgy items related to Any Search virus (see logic highlighted in subsections above) and drag the suspects to the Trash.

    Contents of LaunchAgents folder in user’s home directory

  12. Type /Library/LaunchDaemons in the Go to Folder search field.

    Go to /Library/LaunchDaemons

  13. In the LaunchDaemons path, try to pinpoint the files the malware is using for persistence. Several examples of such items cropped by Mac infections are com.pplauncher.plist, com.startup.plist, and com.ExpertModuleSearchDaemon.plist. Delete the sketchy files immediately.

    LaunchDaemons folder contents

  14. Click on the Go menu icon in your Mac’s Finder and select Applications on the list.

    Go to Applications screen on Mac

  15. Find the entry Any Search (AnySearch 1.2.3) or another app that clearly doesn’t belong there and move it to the Trash. If this action requires your admin password for confirmation, go ahead and enter it.

    Drag malicious app to the Trash

  16. Expand the Apple menu and select System Preferences.

    Select System Preferences

    Open System Preferences

  17. Proceed to Users & Groups and click on the Login Items tab.

    Proceed to Users & Groups

    The system will display the list of items launched when the computer is starting up. Locate the potentially unwanted app there and click on the “-” (minus) button.

    Delete unwanted login item

  18. Now select Profiles under System Preferences. Look for a malicious item in the left-hand sidebar. Several examples of configuration profiles created by Mac adware include TechSignalSearch, MainSearchPlatform, AdminPrefs, and Chrome Settings. Select the offending entity and click on the minus sign at the bottom to eliminate it.

    Select Profiles under System Preferences

    Remove malicious configuration profile from Mac

    If your Mac has been infiltrated by adware, the infection will most likely continue to hold sway over your default web browser even after you remove the underlying application along with its components sprinkled around the system. Use the browser cleanup instructions below to address the remaining consequences of this attack.

Get rid of Any Search virus in web browser on Mac

To begin with, the web browser settings taken over by the Any Search virus should be restored to their default values. Although this will clear most of your customizations, web surfing history, and all temporary data stored by websites, the malicious interference should be terminated likewise. The overview of the steps for completing this procedure is as follows:

  1. Remove Any Search virus from Safari
    • Open the browser and go to Safari menu. Select Preferences in the drop-down list.

      Go to Preferences in Safari

    • Once the Preferences screen appears, click on the Advanced tab and enable the option saying “Show Develop menu in menu bar”.

      Advanced tab under Safari Preferences

    • Now that the Develop entry has been added to the Safari menu, expand it and click on Empty Caches.

      Empty Caches in Safari

    • Now select History in the Safari menu and click on Clear History in the drop-down list.

      Clear history in Safari

    • Safari will display a dialog asking you to specify the period of time this action will apply to. Select all history to ensure a maximum effect. Click on the Clear History button to confirm and exit.

      Select all history to clear

    • Go back to the Safari Preferences and hit the Privacy tab at the top. Find the option that says Manage Website Data and click on it.

      Manage Website Data option under Privacy tab

    • The browser will display a follow-up screen listing the websites that have stored data about your Internet activities. This dialog additionally includes a brief description of what the removal does: you may be logged out of some services and encounter other changes of website behavior after the procedure. If you’re okay with that, go ahead and click on the Remove All button.

      Confirmation dialog

    • Restart Safari
  2. Remove Any Search in Google Chrome
    • Open Chrome, click the Customize and control Google Chrome (⁝) icon in the top right-hand part of the window, and select Settings in the drop-down

      Chrome Settings

    • When on the Settings pane, select Advanced
    • Scroll down to the Reset settings section.

      Reset settings in Chrome on Mac

    • Confirm the Chrome reset on a dialog that will pop up. When the procedure is completed, relaunch the browser and check it for malware activity.

      Here’s how to reset settings in Chrome on Mac

  3. Remove Any Search from Mozilla Firefox
    • Open Firefox and go to Help – Troubleshooting Information (or type about:support in the URL bar and press Enter).

      Open Firefox and go to Help

      Select Troubleshooting Information

    • When on the Troubleshooting Information screen, click on the Refresh Firefox button.

      Refresh Firefox on Mac

    • Confirm the intended changes and restart Firefox.

Get rid of Any Search virus using Combo Cleaner automatic removal tool

The Mac maintenance and security app called Combo Cleaner is a one-stop tool to detect and remove Any Search virus. This technique has substantial benefits over manual cleanup, because the utility gets hourly virus definition updates and can accurately spot even the newest Mac infections.

Furthermore, the automatic solution will find the core files of the malware deep down the system structure, which might otherwise be a challenge to locate. Here’s a walkthrough to sort out the Any Search issue using Combo Cleaner:

  1. Download Combo Cleaner installer. When done, double-click the combocleaner.dmg file and follow the prompts to install the tool onto your Mac.

    Download Combo Cleaner

    By downloading any applications recommended on this website you agree to our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy. The free scanner checks whether your Mac is infected. To get rid of malware, you need to purchase the Premium version of Combo Cleaner.

  2. Open the app from your Launchpad and let it run an update of the malware signature database to make sure it can identify the latest threats.
  3. Click the Start Combo Scan button to check your Mac for malicious activity as well as performance issues.

    Combo Cleaner Mac scan progress

  4. Examine the scan results. If the report says “No Threats”, then you are on the right track with the manual cleaning and can safely proceed to tidy up the web browser that may continue to act up due to the after-effects of the malware attack (see instructions above).

    Combo Cleaner scan report – no threats found

  5. In case Combo Cleaner has detected malicious code, click the Remove Selected Items button and have the utility remove Any Search threat along with any other viruses, PUPs (potentially unwanted programs), or junk files that don’t belong on your Mac.

    Combo Cleaner – threats found

  6. Once you have made doubly sure that the malicious app is uninstalled, the browser-level troubleshooting might still be on your to-do list. If your preferred browser is affected, resort to the previous section of this tutorial to revert to hassle-free web surfing.



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