If web browsers on your Mac are being redirected to Bing, it’s a sign of virus activity that requires fixing and reverting Internet settings to their defaults.
Update: July 2019
Custom browsing settings are among the fundamentals of user-friendly Internet navigation. Ideally, you define the preferences once and enjoy the seamless online experience further on. Cybercriminals, though, have got a twisted perspective in this regard. Some of their troublemaking contrivances bypass the admin permission stage and modify the most important defaults in web browsers installed on a contaminated host. That’s exactly what the Bing redirect virus does to a Mac. It reroutes all searches entered by the victim to bing.com. In other words, every time you try to look up a keyword or phrase via, say, Google or Yahoo!, a stealth script is invoked that changes the destination page to Bing search results.
The Mac users who are confronted with this brain-twisting scenario can’t seem to revert to the right configuration by commonplace means. Getting to the custom settings pane in Safari, Chrome or Firefox and typing the preferred engine’s URL – or selecting the desired provider on the list – turns out to be a no-go. At least, the “repair” won't stay in effect beyond the next browser startup event. The explanation for this is trivial. The Bing redirect virus continues to run in the background and will be altering the preset in an iterative fashion. Therefore, it’s not until you spot the culprit and obliterate it that the problem will be solved. Speaking of the e-perpetrators’ motivation, it’s entirely a matter of traffic monetization. They leverage the infection to obtain and maintain control of the victim’s browsing routine. By partnering with merchants and advertisers, the virus authors benefit from every unique page hit. The shady business model may boil down to pay per visit, pay per click – you name it.
This rerouting problem has nothing to do with an informed decision on the victim’s end. The malicious app usually slithers into a Mac alongside ostensibly legit software. This is what’s called bundling, a method that results in installing several programs under the guise of one. Some users have reported the Bing redirect virus starting to cause problems after they installed and activated the Microsoft Office suite. Some start encountering these issues after falling victim to the fake Adobe Flash Player update hoax. In the latter case, a rogue “Your Flash Player is out of date” popup appears on a malicious website or one compromised by malefactors. By applying the malware-riddled update, the user unwittingly opts for Bing as their default search provider. Additionally, there has been some feedback about the redirect culprit infiltrating Macs alongside a fake system optimizer like Mac Cleanup Pro or another one from the same lineage.
Another frequently reported stratagem has to do with Search Baron, a fishy service that bundles with harmless-looking software and pretends to improve one’s web search experience. Instead of following through with its claims, though, this malicious app changes a victim’s Internet navigation preferences with a rogue landing page at searchbaron.com without due permission. As a result, a regular web search instance will be returning the unwanted site first, and from there the traffic will automatically travel to Bing. The user’s only role in this hoax is to watch this merry-go-round of redirects taking place over and over, and to forget about personalization of the browsing routine until a fix is applied.
It’s noteworthy that, although the core applications in these setup clients vary, all of these occurrences have one common denominator. They are downloaded from fishy dubious websites promoting uncertified or cracked versions of popular utilities. The attack may also be backed by a clickbait campaign or other form of malvertising surreptitiously injected into legit sites. Furthermore, it’s quite likely that the actual name of the adware is Genieo – that’s a notorious malvertising entity wreaking havoc in the Mac world for years.
The key point regarding the Bing redirect virus is that the issue won’t vanish on its own. No browser update or regular manual reconfiguring will take care of the infection. Under the circumstances, the only viable countermeasure is to get rid of the malicious code proper, reset the affected browsers to their original state and then adjust them to your likes again. The how-to’s below cover all of these steps in detail.
Bing redirect 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 Genieo or some other that appears suspicious, 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 Genieo on the interface or some other one that clearly doesn’t belong there, 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 Genieo or other potentially unwanted app there and click on the “-“ button
Get rid of Bing redirect virus in web browser on Mac
To begin with, settings for the web browser that got hit by the Bing redirect virus should be restored to their default values. The overview of steps for this procedure is as follows:
- Remove Bing virus from 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.
- Open the browser and go to Safari menu. Select Preferences in the drop-down list
- Remove Bing.com redirect from Google Chrome
- Open Chrome, click the More (⁝) icon in the top right-hand part of the window, and select Settings in the drop-down
- When on the Settings pane, select Advanced
- Scroll down to the Reset settings section. Under the Restore settings to their original defaults option, click the Reset settings button
- 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.
- Remove Bing redirect virus from Mozilla Firefox
- Open Firefox and select Help – Troubleshooting Information
- On the page that opened, click the Reset Firefox button
Get rid of Bing redirect virus Mac using Freshmac removal tool
When confronted with malicious code like the Bing redirect virus 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 Bing redirect infection from Mac.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Check whether the Bing 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.
- Go to Temp and Startup Apps panes on the interface and have all redundant or suspicious items eliminated as well. The Bing redirect virus shouldn’t be causing any further trouble.