Explore the risks related to the Phase Search Mac virus and get a step-by-step removal guidance to stop its interference with normal web browsing activities.
A scenario of being infected with Mac adware is not for the faint-hearted. The present-day threats fitting the mold of this dubious software type are not only annoying but they are also extremely persistent. Plus, there is more to their impact than an unauthorized display of ads proper. These pests have become multifunctional over time and additionally hijack the victims’ browsers, track their online activities, and install follow-up infections behind the scenes. The potentially unwanted application (PUA) called Phase Search is an aggregate of all these hostile characteristics. Also known as PhaseSearch 1.0, it typically sneaks its way into a Mac computer and distorts the prey’s Internet surfing practices without requesting any sort of approval. This trespass results in an immediate influx of ads in the admin’s default browser, and it additionally entails random redirects to rogue websites.
Although the Phase Search virus attack may seem entirely furtive at first sight, the user’s vigilance influences whether or not this compromise gets through. The infection is propagating by means of a long-standing hoax with software bundles at its pivot. In a nutshell, this technique involves fishy application installers that may actually streamline the process of getting new freeware and completing its preliminary customization. This, however, is the tip of the iceberg. The side show is about one or several samples of harmful code being pushed as a secondary payload. As a result, the user may be sure that they are installing an awesome new program with a zero price tag, but in the meanwhile Phase Search covertly slithers into the host as well. Moreover, the unwelcome app automatically gets all the permissions its operators want – most people never have a chance to peruse what they are opting into anyway.
Few users realize it, but the average adware, including Phase Search, is sort of an abstract entity unless viewed in the context of specific components it creates inside a host environment and is backed by. In the situation under scrutiny, one of these elements is an application manifested in the appropriate macOS interface and in the Dock. It has a green icon with an image of a magnifying glass in it – something all the apps from this adware family have in common. Another fragment of the threat is an extension surreptitiously added to Safari, Chrome, and Firefox on the plagued computer. The goal of this add-on is to show sponsored materials during the user’s web browsing and to tweak the main online preferences, namely the homepage, new tab page, and search provider of choice.
Ads by Phase Search range from freebies and coupons to annoying interstitial popups and in-text links that may occupy a considerable parts of any visited website. These objects tend to appear in quantities that keep the affected web browser from functioning properly. This holds true especially for transitional full-page advertisements that, technically, sprinkle multiple browser windows in the background and thereby become a major memory hog. In order to generate commercial content that accurately reflects the victim’s interests, the Phase Search virus monitors the search history and also logs every site the person goes to. It additionally collects such details as the macOS version, hardware configuration, and the user’s IP address (hence their location and ISP name). Obviously, this guile doesn’t get along with privacy.
The browser preferences modification plight caused by this pest, in its turn, leads to the onset of an unbearable loop of redirects. The victim will be bound to repeatedly hit junk sites, including fake search providers, poor-quality ecommerce services, and outright dangerous pages promoting more malware via social engineering scams. When attempting to re-customize a malfunctioning browser, those infected often discover that such an option is disabled. Fortunately, the fix is feasible as long as you follow the right cleaning steps. The procedure below proved to address the issue.
Phase 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 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 named PhaseSearch (Phase Search), 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 Phase Search (PhaseSearch 1.0) entry 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 Phase Search (PhaseSearch) or other potentially unwanted app there and click on the “-“ button
Get rid of Phase Search ads and redirects in web browser on Mac
To begin with, settings for the web browser that got hit by this virus 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 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.
- Reset Mozilla Firefox
- Open Firefox and select Help – Troubleshooting Information
- On the page that opened, click the Reset Firefox button
Get rid of Phase Search virus using Freshmac removal tool
When confronted with malicious code like the Phase Search Mac virus, 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 Phase Search 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 Phase Search redirect and ad-injection problems 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 Phase Search virus shouldn’t be causing any further trouble.