Not only does this post list the steps to remove the Linkey virus from Mac, but it also dissects the apropos malicious campaign to give you the big picture.
Contrary to regular browser extensions, Linkey behaves in an overly obtrusive way and takes advantage of its improperly high privileges on Mac to turn the user’s web browsing upside down. In fact, this is a cross-browser and multiplatform add-on, which is a rare case in the ecosystem of malicious code overall. In spite of this uniqueness, though, this baddie acts in a fairly vanilla fashion once inside a host. The most conspicuous impact is that the victim’s custom Internet settings get twisted. Specifically, the default homepage, search engine and new tab in Safari, Chrome and Firefox are replaced with linkey-search.com or search.linkeymac.com. This means that every time the plagued Mac user opens their preferred browser, they get the above-mentioned web page returned instead of the value wittingly defined.
Created by Aztec Media Inc., this controversial app has a dedicated official website at linkeyproject.com. This fact sure adds a shade of legitimacy to the generally gloomy reputation of the service. According to the vendor, Linkey is supposed to bring the best sites to the user in a single click while boasting an appealing and intuitive interface. So, the alleged idea is to substitute one’s browsing defaults with a personalized page that presents popular web resources based on their interests, as well as the top sites for their country and last visited sites – all in one place. There might seem to be nothing awful about such features, but the implementation is a huge fly in the ointment. Users hardly ever opt for the Linkey service – moreover, they don’t get much chance to reject this offer when the setup is underway.
Speaking of the installation, things are quite standard as far as the commonplace Mac adware distribution goes. The infection doesn’t go further than the “good old” bundling hoax to do the rounds. In plain words, its payload is hidden underneath several layers constituting installation clients for various freeware and shareware. The red herring can be anything from an uncertified edition of Adobe Flash Player to a free movie downloader. Most people simply don’t inspect setup wizards thoroughly enough, especially ones underlying ostensibly attractive download offers. They should, though, because there can be some nasty stuff lurking in the recommended installation mode. So, it’s always preferable to go for custom setup in such cases – this way, you will be able to see everything being cross-promoted.
The Linkey virus on Mac primarily affects web browsers, but the bad influence spans some components of the system in general as well. For instance, the related entry may be found under the Login Items in macOS, hence the system launch and execution of the app will co-occur. The browser disruption facet of its misdemeanors is tangible as the victim is unable to revert to their relevant online settings in the usual way. So they appear stuck with linkey-search.com redirects. By the way, yet another possible landing page for Linkey is default-search.net. All the three reported services are lookalikes and resemble a run-of-the-mill search provider. They also share a common goal, which is all about monetizing the pilfered traffic. The problem is, the malicious entity propping this campaign doesn’t ask for permission when applying such critical changes to one’s system. Fortunately, the fix isn’t too hard. The following sections will show you how to get rid of the Linkey virus on Mac.
Linkey 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 order specified.
• Open up the Utilities folder as shown below
• Locate the Activity Monitor icon on the screen and double-click on it
• Under Activity Monitor, find the entry for Linkey, select it and click Quit Process
• A dialog should pop up, asking if you are sure you would like to quit the troublemaking process. Select the Force Quit option
• Click the Go button again, but this time select Applications on the list. Find the entry for Linkey on the interface, right-click on it and select Move to Trash. If user password is required, go ahead and enter it
• Now go to Apple Menu and pick the System Preferences option
• Select Accounts and click the Login Items button. The system will come up with the list of the items that launch when the computer is started up. Locate Linkey there and click on the “-“ button
Get rid of linkey-search.com redirects in web browser
To begin with, settings for the web browser that got hit by the Linkey virus should be restored to their default values. The overview of steps for this procedure is as follows:
1. Reset Safari
• Open the browser and go to Safari menu. Select Preferences in the drop-down list
• Once the Preferences screen appears, hit the Privacy tab at the top. Find the option that says Remove All Website Data and click on it
• The system will display a confirmation dialog that also includes a brief description of what the reset does. Specifically, 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 the Remove Now button
• In order to selectively clear data generated by certain websites only, not all of them, hit the Details button under the Privacy section of Safari Preferences
• This feature will list all websites that have stored potentially sensitive data, including cache and cookies. Select the one, or ones, that might be causing trouble and click the appropriate button at the bottom (Remove or Remove All). Click the Done button to exit.
2. Reset Google Chrome
• Open Chrome and click the Customize and Control Google Chrome menu icon
• Select Options for a new window to appear
• Select Under the Hood tab, then click Reset to defaults button
3. Reset Mozilla Firefox
• Open Firefox and select Help – Troubleshooting Information
• On the page that opened, click the Reset Firefox button
Get rid of Linkey malware using Freshmac removal tool
When confronted with malicious code like Linkey on Mac, you can neutralize its toxic impact by leveraging a specially crafted system utility. The Freshmac application (read review) is a perfect match for this purpose as it delivers essential security features along with must-have modules for Mac optimization.
This tool cleans unneeded applications and persistent malware in one click. It also protects your privacy by eliminating tracking cookies, frees up disk space, and manages startup apps to decrease boot time. On top of that, it boasts 24/7 tech support. The following steps will walk you through automatic removal of the Linkey infection from Mac.
1. Download Freshmac installer onto your machine. Double-click the Freshmac.pkg file to trigger the installer window, select the destination disk and click Continue. The system will display a dialog asking for your password to authorize the setup. Type the password and click Install Software.
2. Once the installation has been completed, Freshmac will automatically start a scan consisting of 5 steps. It scans cache, logs, unused languages, trash, and checks the Mac for privacy issues.
3. The scan report will then display your current system health status and the number of issues detected for each of the above categories. Click the Fix Safely button to remove junk files and address privacy issues spotted during the scan.
4. Check whether the linkey-search.com redirect problem has been fixed. If it perseveres, go to the Uninstaller option on Freshmac GUI. Locate an entry that appears suspicious, select it and click Fix Safely button to force-uninstall the unwanted application.
5. Go to Temp and Startup Apps panes on the interface and have all redundant or suspicious items eliminated as well. The Linkey malware shouldn’t be causing any further trouble.