If one day your Mac begins to play up, slow down, and behave erratically, there’s a good chance that you have some malware on the device. However, if you begin to experience strange behavior regarding your web browser as well, then there’s a good chance that you have a browser redirect virus.
As the name suggests, the browser redirect virus is a virus that redirects your internet activity. You try and search for something online and it will redirect you to Bing, Yahoo, or another, but will an onslaught of adverts (including pop ups), even changing your homepage and default search engine. Sometimes you will notice even more pernicious activity, with entire extensions being installed against your will – which are likely farming your sensitive data.
So with all that in mind and some ideas on how to spot the symptoms, let’s take a look at how to remove it.
Removing the Browsers Redirect Virus Manually
The major first step in removing the browser redirect virus is to manually remove the corrupt files and applications. So, identifying these files and applications is very important. You can start by looking through your Downloads folder and removing anything that looks suspicious.
But, the activity monitor is the most useful tool here, as it shows you all background processes that are being run – the virus should show up here. To access the activity monitor, go to the menu and select Go, then Utilities. Open the activity monitor from here to examine whether any suspicious-looking apps are running in the background. If there is then you want to force-quit the application by pressing the minus button. Now, we must find this within our applications.
So, from the Go menu, go to Applications and delete any recent programs that you don’t remember installing – they might not be under the name you think they are. You can also check your login items to ensure that there are no other programs being run when booting up the mac every time. To do this, head to System Preferences from the Apple menu and click on Users & Groups.
Finally, head to the location “~/Library/LaunchAgents” (Go menu -> Go to Folder). Delete any suspicious items within this location, but also check “/Library/LaunchDaemons”, too.
Fixing Your Browser
It’s highly likely that your browser’s default search engine, and even the homepage, were changed from the virus. You need to manually change these back using the official Safari guide – but also check out the specific support pages for any other browser you use, as they’re all slightly different.
Using Software to Remove the Redirect Virus
If this all looks too much effort for a Sunday evening, then simply deploy a virus protection software on your behalf. These are popular because you click one button and it will perform a huge scan on your Mac, it will remove any viruses after finding them, and also clear cache to help boost the performance of the Mac.
This is great, but with redirect viruses, there’s still some stone left unturned. Even if the software successfully removes the virus, you have to restore all of your browser settings back to what they were – and also manually check for extensions, because anti-virus software usually will not delete browser extensions on your behalf.
The Bottom Line
Apple has done a great job in building virus protection into macOS, and with each new version, it gets a little better. But if you spend any time on the Internet, there is a chance your browser could become infected with a redirect virus. If that happens, it’s good to know how to correct it quickly and easily.
Have you ever been infected with a browser redirect virus? If so, how did you get rid of it? Why not join the conversation and leave a comment below?
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Sergio Koll is a tech and Mac ecosystem enthusiast. He enjoys testing new tech launches.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, who is solely responsible for its content.