What is a Browser Hijacker?

A Browser Hijacker is usually promoted from bundled download packages of free software. It is not malicious like a viruses or malware, but they are quite frustrating to deal with. You may have downloaded it by mistake from not reading a checkbox during a software installation process. They can also be classified as Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPs).

How do I know if I am infected?

  • Your web browser settings has been modified.
  • You constantly get redirected to various sites filled with ads, banners and pop-ups.
  • Your Mac may contain spyware to collect browser activities or gather sensitive personal information.

Common Browser Hijackers

Remove Browser Hijacker manually

1. Check Browser Settings and Extensions

The first time you realize there is a Browser Hijacker on your Mac is when the homepage or search engine of your web browser is suddenly modified without your permission.

Change the homepage/search engine of your browser back to those that you used to use in browser Preferences. Double-check for any suspicious Extensions.

Check Safari Extensions
Check Google Chrome Extensions

If changes are not saved after restarting your browser, follow the next step.

2. Check Login Items

If your browser settings get modified every time you restart your browser, the browser hijacker may not only be in your browser, but somewhere in your Mac.

  1. Go to > System Preferences > Users & Groups.

    Choose Users & Groups to remove adware

  2. Select your profile on the left side, then click the Login Items tab.

    Check if the highlighted user is you.

  3. Check if there are any recently added suspicious apps you are not familiar. Click the button to disable these apps during startup.

    Remove malicious login items.

  4. Restart your Mac for the changes to take effect.

If your browser setting changes were not saved, a malware may have been installed to modify your settings every time your Mac restarts.

3. Check all recently modified applications

In System Information, you can view all applications including hidden ones that run in the background.

  1. Go to > About This Mac.
  2. Select the Overview tab, then click the System Report... button.
  3. Scroll down to expand the Software section, and then click Applications.
  4. Click on the column title Last Modified to sort applications by the latest date of modification.

    Check Last Modified applications

  5. Find any recently active malware, then copy its location address.
  6. Go to the specific folder address to remove the malware using Spotlight.

4. Check for Suspicious Auto-Launch Files

This step takes you to the system folder where files that automatically launch at are stored. Auto-launch files from authorized developers usually have a formatted name that is easy to understand, like com.PROVIDER.XXX.plist.

  1. Open Spotlight.
  2. Enter any of the following paths:
    • /Library/LaunchAgents/
    • /Library/LaunchDaemons/
    • ~/Library/LaunchAgents/
  3. Remove suspicous Auto-Launch files.

    Remove Suspicious Auto Launch Files

    The LaunchAgents folders (and their paired LaunchDaemons folder for managing service processes) are locations that contain scripts to automatically manage system processes.

Remove Browser Hijackers with Antivirus One

It may take some time to go through every file and folder mentioned in all the steps listed above. Trend Micro Antivirus One can protect your Mac from all potential risks and attacks, so you can enjoy browsing online with ease. It provides real-time scanning services and eliminates browser hijackers before they even leave a trace. Download Antivirus One now!

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