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How to remove QSearch virus from Safari, Chrome, Firefox on Mac

How to remove QSearch virus from Safari, Chrome, Firefox on Mac


QSearch virus removal from Mac is a must-do because it takes over web browsers to redirect the traffic to a social search service the victims didn’t ask for.

Update: April 2020

Even the users who think they are security-minded might have some hard time differentiating benign applications from malicious ones these days. That’s because cybercrime has become hybrid over time, and the borderline between the digital black and white is really blurred. As a result, people are facing a slew of apps from the “gray area” that don’t cause much, if any, damage but make the user experience go down the drain. QSearch is an example of such a controversy. It is a web solution that claims to bridge the gap in Facebook Timeline search, something that the social media giant in question has yet to provide. As is the case with many sketchy services out there, the idea is interesting but the implementation leaves plenty of questions unanswered.

The caveat regarding QSearch is that Mac users may be recurrently redirected to its site. This forwarding of Internet traffic takes place beyond the permission of whoever is infected, which is a red flag indicating a security concern. The causality for this unfortunate turn of events involves a browser extension that supports Safari, Chrome, and Firefox. Once embedded in the victim’s preferred Internet surfing tool, the add-on twists the custom settings and may trigger a JavaScript-powered routine that leads to a reorientation of the browsing patterns. The hijacked homepage, default search engine and new tab page therefore resolve the wrong site, such as qsearch.cc or analytics.qsearch.cc, whenever the user opens the browser, tries to look up some arbitrary information, and loads a new page within the current window. To top it off, the redirect activity may also occur at random or accompany innocuous mouse clicks anywhere on any websites. It’s likely that annoying ads will be displayed as part of this complex electronic intrusion as well.

The landing page itself does not pose any significant risk to the victim, which is some good news. It simply advertises the core service and encourages the users to sign up and start their free trial to check out how the Timeline scouring works. One additional catch is that QSearch purportedly allows singling out trending topics on social media and goes equipped with a dashboard visualizing this data, which might be of interest to businesses. However, this whole toolkit in the app’s portfolio is overshadowed by the questionably ethical marketing tactics behind it.

Aside from the above relatively mild impact staying on a slim margin between legitimacy and outright fraud, this infection bares its fangs in a much more frustrating way. It can redirect the victim’s web browser to qsearch.pw website which, in turn, opens Bing or Yahoo after flinging the web traffic through a series of intermediate domains. These transitional pages are run by advertising platforms that buy and sell unique user hits without paying heed to the way these leads are provided. Although the resulting site in this particular redirect scenario is a popular search engine whose reputation isn’t tainted by dubious promotion, the operators of QSearch virus use it as a cover for unethical monetization of their foothold in the infected Mac. In some cases, qsearch.pw web page leads to services that are undoubtedly malicious, such as SearchMine. This cocktail of adverse properties turns the threat into a driving force of different notorious malvertising campaigns.

Another variant of this virus uses qsearch.com landing page instead. This one impersonates an official Apple support resource and focuses on hoodwinking Mac users into downloading and installing a piece of scareware. It says, “Your system is infected with 3 viruses” and triggers an extra popup saying that a Trojan called e.tre456_worm_osx has been detected on the computer. The pseudo-repair process presupposes that the victim opts for an online scan for threats. The scan report will list several more imaginary viruses, emphasizing that the only cleanup method is to use the “recommended” tool, which is a fake security app in disguise.

The most probable way that the QSearch virus ends up on a Mac computer is through bundles. In plain words, this is a technique that co-promotes shady items along with regular software. The odds of falling victim to the scheme increase in free application installation scenarios. While believing they are getting one harmless program that doesn’t require any subscription fees, the users may click on and on until they unwittingly allow the culprit to get inside. Therefore, it’s always recommended to choose custom install over the express option – this will disclose the presence of the bundled objects in the package.

When it comes to the top driving force of QSearch malware distribution, it borrows a page from the playbook of the nastiest adware threats targeting Mac computers. Its operators cash in on fake Adobe Flash Player update popups. This long-standing hoax involves misleading alerts shown on a plethora of hacked and malicious web pages. These spoofed notifications try to get users on the hook by stating that the Flash Player version installed on their machines is obsolete and needs a refresh otherwise the online multimedia experience will be incomplete. In the meanwhile, the booby-trapped installer executes the bundled sketchy payload behind the scenes. Anyways, if the QSearch virus is on board your Mac and redirects the browser to unwanted sites, stick with the tips below to get rid of it.


QSearch 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.

  1. Open up the Utilities folder as shown below

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

  3. Under Activity Monitor, find QSearch or some other item that appears suspicious, select it and click Quit Process
  4. A dialog should pop up, asking if you are sure you would like to quit the troublemaking process. Select the Force Quit option
  5. Click the Go button again, but this time select Applications on the list. Find the entry for QSearch 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

  6. Now go to Apple Menu and pick the System Preferences option

  7. Select Accounts and click the Login Items button. The system will come up with the list of the items that launch when the box is started up. Locate QSearch or other potentially unwanted app there and click on the “-“ button

Get rid of QSearch virus in web browser on Mac

To begin with, the web browser settings taken over by the QSearch 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 QSearch virus from Safari
    • Open the browser and go to Safari menu. Select Preferences in the drop-down list

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

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

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

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • Restart Safari
  2. Remove QSearch 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

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

    • 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.

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

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

    • Confirm the intended changes and restart Firefox.

Get rid of QSearch redirect virus Mac using Combo Cleaner removal tool

The Mac maintenance and security app called Combo Cleaner is a one-stop tool to detect and remove QSearch 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 QSearch 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 the update of 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.

  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).

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

  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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