In this digital era, browsing the internet is what every computer user does. Browsers have become the main door for computers to connect to the outside world. For most people, searching the web is a significant part of their online activities. That is why your browser has become an attractive target for cybercriminals.
Some of these criminals have developed browser applications to carry out illegal activities. One of these malicious applications that have troubled Mac users is Search-operator.com. This Search Operator removal guide will help you get rid of the malware and other malicious applications on your Mac.
What Is Search-operator.com Malware and Why Is It Harmful to Mac?
The Search Operator malware is a nasty internet browser hijacker whose main aim is to alter your browser’s configurations without your permission. Once it has entered your system, the malware changes your DNS settings and hosts file.
It is a harmful virus that can threaten your system security and privacy by inactivating your antivirus and firewall. What is even more dangerous is that it tracks your online behaviors.
Pro Tip: Scan your Mac for performance issues, junk files, harmful apps, and security threats
that can cause system issues or slow performance.
When you start browsing, this malicious malware opens in a new tab and takes charge of all your online activities. It will spy on your search history, cookies, and browsing habits to collect vital information. Sometimes, Search-operator.com can prevent you from accessing some programs.
Search-operator.com has a minimalistic design, and at first glance, you may not notice any major difference between this dubious search engine and other popular search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
While it claims to offer a better online browsing experience by delivering quick search results, what many users may not know is that the Search-operator.com malware was developed by a team of nefarious hackers whose goal is to make illegal money by manipulating unsuspecting users.
How Did the Search-operator Malware Sneak into Your Mac?
Like other dubious infections, the Search-operator.com is delivered to your computer through several intrusive methods, one of which being software bundling. The developers of the malware present it as a browser extension, and it’s usually packaged into freeware. A Mac user may unknowingly run the malware while installing the downloaded freeware. Unfortunately, many freeware installers don’t notify users that browser extensions will load during the installation, so it’s hard to know if your Mac has the Search Operator malware.
How to Know If Mac Has Malware?
Check for these symptoms if you want to confirm that the Search-operator.com malware has hijacked your browser:
- Your computer changes the browser default search engine to https://search-operator.com.
- Your browser’s default homepage changes to a Search Operator new tab.
- Your Mac changes the ‘new tab’ functionality to run the modified search portal page.
Helpful Tip: If you want to prevent the Search-operator malware from getting into your system, download applications from official and reputable websites. Avoid dubious websites, peer-to-peer networks, and other suspicious third-party channels. On top of this, refrain from clicking suspicious advertisements, which may redirect you to malicious websites.
How to Remove the Search-operator.com Malware in Mac?
If your browser keeps redirecting you to undesired sites or displaying annoying ads, then you need to remove the search operator malware.
Helpful Tip: Before you execute any Search-operator.com removal strategy, it is important to create a backup of all your essential files. Keep in mind that the malware can override, and sometimes delete, vital information.
Step 1: Uninstall Unwanted Apps from macOS
To remove the Search-operator.com and other unwanted applications from your OS, please look for them in the Applications folder:
- Open the Finder application on your dock.
- Select Applications.
- Locate and select the Search-operator.com application, then hit ‘Move to Trash’.
- Find the trash icon on the dock, right-click it, and choose Empty Trash.
Besides this, remove the hijacker from your Profiles. To do so, follow these steps:
- Go to System Preferences.
- Select Profiles.
- Look for an item named ‘AdminPrefs’, select it, and hit the remove (-) button.
Step 2: Remove the Search-operator.com Extension and Other Unnecessary Extensions from Your Web Browsers
As we learned earlier, most hijackers use a browser extension to wreak havoc on your device. So, we highly recommend that you check and delete such extensions from your browsers.
Run your Safari and click on the Safari Settings icon on the upper right corner of the browser window, and then follow these instructions:
- Select Preferences on the drop-down menu.
- When the Extension window pops up, highlight the Extensions tab.
- Here, you will find the Search Operator malware and other malicious extensions. Highlight these nasty programs to uninstall.
- Once you have selected them, click the Uninstall button to clear them from the system.
To clear suspicious extensions, launch Chrome and follow these simple instructions:
- Hit the three-dot icon in the upper-right corner of the window.
- Choose More Tools > Extensions.
- Identify unneeded extensions and click the Trash Icon.
- After that, click Remove.
Launch Firefox just like you did with the above two browsers and take the following steps:
- Go to the Menu button found on the right pane of the browser window.
- Choose Add-ons from the drop-down list, and then single out all suspicious extensions.
- Once you have selected them, click the Disable button.
Step 3: Use Mac repair app to Diagnose and Clean Your Mac
If your Mac gets trapped with the Search Operator malware, then macAries is one of the best software tools to help you in such a situation. It is a robust application that not only scans your Mac to diagnose and remove malicious programs but also helps to get rid of all types of junk that may slow the device. To get started, download the program from this link.
Note: If your Mac runs another anti-virus, it may block this download because of software conflict. If that happens, please turn off that anti-malware and try to download again.
macAries scans the entire system, then gets rid of suspicious files and restores efficiency. It follows the best mechanism to identify malicious programs and files and then separate them from the targeted ones.
Besides simplifying Search-operator removal, macAries helps to clear unnecessary space hogs in your system. Over time, your Mac may accumulate junk. Old iOS updates, broken downloads, unwanted log files, unnecessary cache files, unneeded apps, and other trash can affect your Mac’s performance.
By now, you should be able to remove Search-operator.com and other malicious extensions from your Mac. To effectively remove the Search-operator.com malware in Mac, perform the manual procedures first, and then use macAries to complete the cleanup.
As usual, please share your experience in the comments section.