This tutorial will help you overcome the Search Baron hijack that results in browser redirects to Bing or dubious sites such as mybrowser-search.com.
|Name||Search Baron (Searchbaron.com)|
|Type||Redirect Virus / Browser Hijacker|
|Action||Annoying redirects of Safari/Chrome/Mozilla Firefox/Opera to Bing.com search engine, Showing sponsored ads, Total system slowdown|
If you own a Mac, entrusting your security unconditionally to the operating system is risky business. To its credit, macOS does come with decent built-in protection mechanisms that won’t allow widespread potentially unwanted applications (PUAs) to break in unless you knowingly agree to it. However, anything that’s connected to the world wide web is potentially vulnerable to exploitation, and so are Mac machines. When it comes to the types of threats homing in on this environment, adware like Search Baron is by far the most likely to be encountered in the wild. These little nasties are extremely annoying as they turn the victim’s web surfing routine upside down by imposing incorrect preferences or deluging the visited sites with a ton of sponsored content. The above-mentioned infection adheres to the former tactic, incessantly rerouting the traffic to searchbaron.com without the slightest hint at your permission to do so.
As is the case with its “cousin” called Search Marquis, the digital parasite in question is merely a link in a complex browser redirect frenzy. The ultimate objective of its operators is to make the victims end up on Bing.com or a web page mimicking a garden-variety search service, for example, mybrowser-search.com or searchnewsnow.com. The cybercriminals behind this hoax are very adept at treating Internet traffic as a product and reselling it with the maximum financial output being raked in along the way. Every instance of unsanctioned redirecting is accompanied by several in-between URLs the browser resolves before it reaches the destination resource. These include hut.brdtxhea.xyz and searchroute-1560352588.us-west-2.elb.amazonaws.com. The adware makers’ plan is to further stretch their fraudulent monetization activities by adding a few domains affiliated with advertising networks in one way or another.
It’s worth stressing the fact that searchbaron.com is a symptom of the attack rather than a standalone malware sample. While being a critical component of the ruse, it is backed by a distinct strain of malicious code reported by different popular AV engines as Adware.MAC.Genieo.WS, MacOS:MaxOfferDeal-I [Adw], Adware.ADWARE/OSX.MaxOfferDeal, PUA.OSX.Adware, or OSX.Trojan.Gen. Although this may look somewhat abstract, the common denominators across the board tend to be “adware”, “PUA”, and “Trojan”. In other words, the incursion revolves around a pest that infiltrates a Mac behind the user’s back and tweaks all things browsing. The dominant distribution method is what’s called bundling. This is a technique that cross-promotes dangerous entities along with innocuous or ostensibly harmless applications. As far as the Search Baron campaign is concerned, the contagion is typically a deceptive Adobe Flash Player update recommendation that comes in the form of a popup ad presented on a dubious website. Instead of getting the newest version of the Flash Player up and running, though, the bundle installs one or several unwanted apps.
To remedy your Mac if the browsers are forwarded to searchbaron.com, you’ll need to act outside the box because the infection is more stubborn that regular programs. The following steps will give you an idea of what to do to ensure the right cleaning effect.
Remove Search Baron from Mac manually
First things first, every infection instance boils down to a specific rogue app underlying it. Therefore, the starting point of the fix is to find and delete the malicious program that’s causing your Mac computer to act up. This could be easier said than done, though – some viruses are sneaky and don’t leave an obvious system footprint in an attempt to avoid detection.
The steps below will walk you through the best practices of spotting and removing Search Baron virus from your Mac.
- In the Finder’s Go pull-down menu, click Utilities
- Select Activity Monitor
- Take a look at the running processes and try to identify the malicious one. Its name isn’t likely to have anything in common with Search Baron, therefore you should focus on resource-intensive entries that look unfamiliar and way out of place.
- Once you spot the suspect, select it and click Stop in the upper left of the Activity Monitor screen. Follow on-screen prompts to force quit the unwanted item. Note that you may have to enter your admin password to do it
- Reopen the Go menu and click Go to Folder
- Enter the following string in the search box: /Library/LaunchAgents. Click the Go button as shown below
- Check the folder for potentially unwanted items. As is the case with malicious executables, the names of sketchy LaunchAgents may suggest no connection with Mac threats. As a general rule, look for recently created objects you don’t recognize. Send the baddies to the Trash if found
- Now you’ll need to complete the same procedure for the following directories: ~/Library/LaunchAgents, ~/Library/Application Support, and /Library/LaunchDaemons. Go to these paths in turn (see Step 6 above), inspect their contents for dubious items and folders, and eliminate them.
- Use the Go menu in your Finder again and click Applications
- Scrutinize the list of installed apps to try and locate the malicious one. This could also be a shot in the dark because the culprit isn’t going to be named Search Baron or similar. Your goal is to spot a recently added fishy-looking program you didn’t wittingly install. Send it to the Trash immediately
- Click the Apple menu icon and pick System Preferences. You can as well click the gear symbol in the Dock if it’s there
- Head to Users & Groups and click Login Items. Click the padlock icon at the bottom left to enable changes – this will require your admin password. Find the app that shouldn’t be started automatically at boot time, select it, and click the ‘minus’ symbol
- When on the System Preferences screen, select Profiles. In most cases, the list will show up blank unless it’s a company-issued Mac and your employer has added a configuration profile to manage specific areas of the system. Anyway, if you see a profile that shouldn’t be there (e.g. AdminPrefs or TechSignalSearch), select it and click the ‘minus’ symbol to eradicate it
So much for the manual removal workflow. Keep in mind that most Mac threats stretch their grip over to web browsers. If this is the case, your online activities will continue to be affected and you’ll need to additionally tackle the browser side of the attack. Here’s how you do it.
Searchbaron.com redirect removal in a web browser on Mac
The steps below will help you regain control of the browsing preferences hijacked by Search Baron. Be advised that you may be logged out of sites and lose your web customizations as a result of this procedure. The silver lining, though, is that the malware won’t be meddling with your online sessions anymore.
Troubleshoot Safari malfunctioning
- Open Safari, expand the Safari pull-down menu, and pick Preferences
- Click Advanced and check the ‘Show Develop menu in menu bar’ box
- You’ll see the Develop menu added at the top of the screen. Click it and select Empty Caches on the list
- Expand the History entry in the Safari menu and select Clear History
- It’s best to pick all history in the follow-up screen to obliterate all malicious cookies and website data generated by the malware. Then, click Clear History
- Return to the Safari Preferences, select the Privacy section, and click the Manage Website Data button
- Click Remove All on the subsequent screen
- Finish the procedure by restarting Safari
Restore Google Chrome defaults
- Open Google Chrome, click the Customize and control Google Chrome (⁝) symbol in the upper right, and choose Settings
- Click Reset settings
- The browser will display an extra dialog so that you can familiarize yourself with the logic of the cleanup before proceeding. Go ahead and click the Reset settings button as illustrated below
- Restart Google Chrome
Fix the problem in Mozilla Firefox
- Open Firefox, click its menu icon (three horizontal lines), select Help, and click Troubleshooting Information
- Click Refresh Firefox and confirm the action
- Restart Mozilla Firefox
Remove Search Baron virus using Combo Cleaner
Manual removal of Mac malware could be a bumpy road because you run the risk of missing small fragments of the infection, in which case all the efforts may be futile down the line. The automatic tool called Combo Cleaner eliminates this pitfall by leveraging effective detection algorithms to identify every single malicious file on your Mac. This way, Search Baron virus removal is a matter of a few clicks and a couple of minutes’ wait. Use the following steps to give it a go.
Download and install Combo Cleaner app.
The free scanner will let you know if your Mac is infected. To remove viruses, you will have to buy the Premium version of Combo Cleaner.
- Run the tool, let it perform the virus and malware definitions update, and click Start Combo Scan
- The app is equipped with a competitive mix of security, privacy, and optimization features. Therefore, not only does it spot prevalent Mac malware but it also finds tracking cookies and unneeded files that take a lot of disk space and should be deleted
- If Combo Cleaner detects threats on your Mac, it will provide a report containing the number of these infections and the categories they fall into. At this point, all you need to do is click the Remove Selected Items button
- Having uninstalled malware from your Mac, you should redefine your web browser preferences manually if they have been previously modified by the infection without your consent.