When you want to search for any information, all you need to do is open your browser and type in your query, then you’ll be presented with the most relevant results. Search results may vary according to the search engine used, but the top search engines (Google, Yahoo, and Bing) generally have closer results.
Those who are looking for variations in search engine results can easily fall victim to the SearchPulse virus on Chrome. This is because this virus allows you to choose up to three search engines and view the search results all in the same page. You don’t have to visit each search engine separately and enter your query each time. Just type in the information that you’re looking for once in the search box, then you’ll get three different results from three different search engines. Pretty neat, right?
Unfortunately, there’s more to it than meets the eye. It does more than give you the information that you need — threefold. It also integrates itself into your Mac even without your permission (and sometimes without your knowledge) to facilitate suspicious activities.
What Is SearchPulse on Mac?
You might argue that SearchPulse is a useful Mac software that brings you benefits. But look under the hood of your Google Chrome. You’ll see that the default settings have been changed to something else. Your Google Chrome settings are overhauled without your agreement and knowledge. This is why SearchPulse is generally categorized as a browser hijacker.
Search Pulse is also known as home.searchpulse.net or search.searchpulse.net. This browser hijacker was designed to take over whatever web browser you are using, like Chrome. Aside from Chrome, Search Pulse is also known to affect other major browsers, such as Safari, Firefox, and Opera. Unlike other browser hijackers, Search Pulse was created using the Microsoft .NET coding language, with a .net domain extension in a bid to appear legitimate.
To make it look more genuine, Search Pulse also tries to mimic the layout and design of major search engines, including Google, Yahoo, and Bing. But in truth, this malware is actually collecting your user data and injecting pop-up ads into your browser experience, causing much annoyance to the affected users.
What Can SearchPulse Do?
Some adware usually doesn’t include a browser hijacker or other malicious components. Most adware works by injecting ads, pop-ups, deals, special offers, vouchers, trials, and other forms of advertising. Search Pulse, on the other hand, is probably one of the meanest types of adware today because it does both. It also redirects your search queries through search.searchpulse.net, and then pulls results from search.yahoo.com, which is a legitimate search engine.
Now, we are all familiar with the Yahoo search engine and it is, of course, not malicious. It is a genuine search engine equipped with its own advertising network. But when a user types in a search term in Search Pulse, that information is collected and forwarded to the adware creators. And being a browser hijacker, the user has no way to change this unless the browser is reset and this unwanted extension has been removed.
Search Pulse continues to collect IP addresses, system information, unencrypted passwords, and other sensitive information sent over an insecure network connection.
Aside from these risks, Search Pulse will also make the following changes to your web browser:
- Annoying adverts that are automatically injected into web pages whenever the user is online. Text and keywords in web pages are also converted into links, generating pop ups, launching new pages, or generating adverts within the page.
- Fake or dangerous software recommendations. You might suddenly see software recommendations of dangerous software, such as Flash or optimization products.
- All forms of banner advertisements that appear when you are online. They might even redirect you to a dangerous webpage where you will be asked to fill in a web form or type in your password.
All of these activities are designed to generate traffic and advertising revenue for the authors of this adware. It might also act as an unsafe backdoor into your Mac and cause more security risk.
Removal of SearchPulse From Mac
Getting rid of Search Pulse from your Mac is an easy but tedious process. However, you need to be thorough with your removal because any leftover infected files can cause Search Pulse to quickly regenerate.
To remove this malware from macOS, you need to closely follow the instructions below and make sure not to skip any steps.
Step 1: Stop All Search Pulse Processes.
Before you can do anything, you need to quit all processes related to the malware first for the succeeding steps to be successful. To stop all Search Pulse-related processes, open the Utilities folder and launch Activity monitor. From there, choose all suspicious processes and end them.
Step 2: Delete All Files Related to Search Pulse.
Go to Finder > Go > Go to folder and search the following folders for any malicious files associated with this browser hijacker:
- /Library/Application Support/
You also need to clean up your computer using a Mac cleaner to ensure that all infected files have been deleted.
Step 3: Remove Search Pulse Login Items.
If the malware loads during startup, it means that it has created its own entry under the Login Items section. To remove this entry, click on Apple menu > System Preferences > Users & Groups > Login Items. Click the (-) button to remove any entry from the Login Items tab.
Step 4: Delete Search Pulse From Chrome.
Your last step would be to remove Search Pulse from your Chrome browser. To do this:
- Open Chrome, then click the Menu on the upper-right corner.
- Choose Settings.
- Alternatively, you can go directly to chrome://settings/.
- Click Extensions from the left menu.
- Look for Search Pulse from the list and hit the Remove button.
- Click Remove once again to confirm your action.
It would also be a good idea to reset your browser to its default settings to remove all traces of the browser hijacker. You can do this by clicking Advanced from the Settings page, then choose Reset and clean up from the dropdown menu.
If Search Pulse has infected other browsers, the instructions for deleting the extension and resetting the browser is basically similar.
How to Prevent Being Infected by Browser Hijackers
Browser hijackers are notorious for causing malicious redirects and populating the infected browser with annoying and irrelevant ads. This type of malware is usually distributed via app bundling, so you need to be careful of the applications that you install. You should also be vigilant when opening emails from unfamiliar senders or suspicious email addresses. Don’t click on the links within the body of those emails because you might get redirected to a website that hosts this malware.