Learn how to get rid of the Yahoo redirect virus on Mac and stop recurrent unauthorized traffic forwarding in Safari and other browsers on a Mac computer.
Update: March 2020
When the prerogative of unimpeded web surfing slips out of one’s hands, things quickly get intolerable. In this scenario, doing a search via preferred service or simply launching a browser of choice will return a site the user doesn’t expect to see. If this is the case, the victims should look for malicious code that’s implementing this whole stratagem behind their back. When it comes to Mac computers, there are numerous marginal browser hijackers that never reach sizeable distribution volumes, but there are also major campaigns that last for years and span thousands of machines. The latter holds true for the Yahoo redirect virus, a plague whose prevalence demonstrates how important it is to stick with reasonable online hygiene. The main symptom of this incursion is an annoying web traffic rerouting activity, with the resulting page being search.yahoo.com.
At this point, many readers will probably start wondering why the above-mentioned legit search engine is flagged malicious. As a matter of fact, it’s not – otherwise, the categorization is an utter misconception. Instead, the entire problem is about a perpetrating app that literally enslaves one’s web browser and forwards the bulk of the Internet surfing routine to Yahoo. Online traffic funneling from unique hosts is an extremely valuable asset nowadays, and the cybercrooks have contrived an intricate model to harness and monetize in their very own, nefarious way. The thing is, before a victim ends up on the reputable Internet giant in question as a result of the hijack, they get routed via a number of intermediary domains, and these hits actually count in the dodgy traffic monetization platform.
There are several dubious services operating under the wide umbrella of the generic Yahoo Search redirect campaign. Most of them are backed by potentially unwanted apps (PUAs) that claim to enhance Mac users’ web surfing experience but actually turn it upside down. Here are a few examples of these mainstream adware strains: Safe Finder (search.safefinder.com), Any Search Manager (search.anysearchmanager.com), SearchMine (searchmine.net), and Search Pulse (search.searchpulse.net). All of them force hits to their landing pages camouflaged as search providers. Predictably enough, though, none has a real proprietary information lookup feature, primitively redirecting every query to Yahoo. In most instances of this unauthorized redistribution of Internet traffic, there are intermediary URLs resolved en route to the destination. A common example is a.akamaihd.net domain name prepended by lkysearchds[random digits] or similar random-looking string.
The aggressive phase of the raid is preceded by a furtive infiltration of the underlying malware into the Mac. This is typically an upshot of a bundling technique heavily used by both decent and unscrupulous software developers to cross-promote certain apps coming as part of a bigger installation package. Users don’t read the fine print these days, and that could be a source of serious quandaries. The Yahoo redirect virus may lurk in multi-pronged setup clients for what appears to be a legit software update or some useful free tool, such as a media downloader or video game. For instance, the fake Adobe Flash Player update popups are known to spread this electronic malady. The express installation option, which is most people’s favorite due to the ease of the setup, will silently pull in the culprit. The next thing you know, Safari, Chrome or Firefox on the Mac will start acting up badly.
Once the contamination has taken place on a macOS or Mac OS X system, the redirects to search.yahoo.com are usually triggered according to a specific pattern rather than haphazardly. The victims report their Google searches being forcibly diverted to Yahoo. Simply opening one’s preferred browser is another trigger for the predicament. All attempts to sort it out by defining correct URLs for the corresponding custom browsing settings are futile – the wrong values shortly reappear in there due to the persistent malware activity. Sometimes the defaults may even be right, with the interference taking place at a different layer of the host operating system. Under the circumstances, the cure should synchronously cover several areas of the affected system, as shown in the cleanup part below.
Yahoo Search 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 a process 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 an entry on the interface 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 box is started up. Locate the potentially unwanted app there and click on the “-“ button
Get rid of search.yahoo.com redirect virus in web browser on Mac
To begin with, settings for the web browser that got hit by Yahoo redirect should be restored to their default values. The overview of steps for this procedure is as follows:
- 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.
- Open the browser and go to Safari menu. Select Preferences in the drop-down list
- Reset 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. 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.
- Reset Mozilla Firefox
- Open Firefox and select Help – Troubleshooting Information
- On the page that opened, click the Reset Firefox button
Get rid of Yahoo 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 Yahoo redirect virus 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 Yahoo redirect virus issue using Combo Cleaner:
- Download Combo Cleaner installer . When done, double-click the combocleaner.dmg file and follow the prompts to install the tool onto your Mac.
- 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.
- Click the Start Combo Scan button to check your Mac for malicious activity as well as performance issues.
- 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).
- In case Combo Cleaner has detected malicious code, click the Remove Selected Items button and have the utility remove Yahoo redirect virus threat along with any other viruses, PUPs (potentially unwanted programs), or junk files that don’t belong on your Mac.
- 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.
The only effective way to stop the browser hijack in its tracks is to eliminate the root cause, that is, a piece of malware that’s wreaking havoc with your Internet preferences. Reverting to the correct Safari settings is going to be an unsuccessful move as long as the infection stays up and running inside your Mac, because it will re-enable the traffic-tweaking triggers over and over.
Another quirk of the virus is that the rogue landing page may not show up in the default search engine or homepage area under Safari preferences. Despite this, every Google search will be returning Yahoo in a recurrent fashion. The most likely reason is that the culprit invokes a covert redirect script, which complicates the fix considerably.
That being said, to prevent Safari from being redirected to Yahoo you need to leverage a two-step troubleshooting procedure. First, uninstall the malicious app – you can follow the manual guide above to do it or resort to an automatic cleaning utility.
Then, check Safari for extensions you don’t remember adding and remove the unfamiliar ones. Also, make sure your default search provider setting is correct. If none of that helps, use the steps listed in the tutorial to delete Internet cache and other data stored by websites.
As outlined in the previous answer, browser troubleshooting alone is a no-go unless you remove the underlying virus first. You should stick to the cleanup walkthrough covered in the article to make the infection vanish.
Importantly, be sure to peek into your Login Items by going to System Preferences – Accounts. In many cases, the victims have a rogue entry named ‘Mac Mechanic’ in there – if found, delete it right away. This is a fake system utility that may have promoted the Yahoo redirect virus into your Mac in the first place.
In order to sort out the search engine replacement issue, go to your browser’s preferences screen and ascertain that the right search provider is selected as the default one. Additionally, disable suspicious browser extensions if spotted. A more thoroughgoing fix is to reset the affected web browser to its original state and redefine your custom settings afterwards.
If you are faced with a virus scenario, switching from Yahoo to Google as your preferred search engine is a much more complex procedure than tweaking these settings manually. You need to additionally get around the malicious app’s interference so that the benign changes take effect for good.
Here are the components and paths on your MacBook Air or MacBook Pro to scour for the potentially unwanted program: Activity Monitor, Applications, and Login Items. Anything that clearly doesn’t belong there should be deleted.
It’s not until the redirect virus has been removed from your Mac that you can get down to rectifying the browser settings. See the guide’s section called ‘Get rid of search.yahoo.com redirect virus in web browser on Mac’ for the appropriate instructions. Having completed these steps, go ahead and assign Google as your default search engine in the browser of choice.
Not necessarily. It depends on the methods leveraged to promote such a web service. Obviously, it takes enormous efforts and human resources, plus a lot of time to create and maintain a fully-fledged search engine. Only major companies can afford it. Meanwhile, the entities that wish to include a search feature in their online service can choose to outsource the functionality to Yahoo.
However, malware developers are known to abuse the Powered by Yahoo framework on a large scale. Their potentially unwanted apps forcibly change users’ Internet preferences so that the browser returns Yahoo search results combined with ads that normally don’t belong there. This explains why such an approach tends to call forth malicious inferences. The truth is that the inscription “Powered by Yahoo” becomes a sort of red herring in these traffic monetization campaigns.