How to remove SimpleSearchGuide (Mac)

SimpleSearchGuide is a potentially unwanted program (PUP) that is installed on the browser as Extension. The existence of this software is often without the authority from computer users because it penetrates the device via the installation of malicious program. SimpleSearchGuide is normally embedded to questionable freeware and shareware. On other cases, web user’s visit to malicious website is seen as a factor that drops SimpleSearchGuide on the computer through the scripts implemented on the online page.

What happens during SimpleSearchGuide infection?

SimpleSearchGuide is deemed as unwanted program due to its application of different misleading tactics to enter the Mac computer. Its covert penetration is assisted mostly by the installation of freeware that was acquired from distrustful websites. Furthermore, pop-up advertisements that prompt web users to download software update are also observed as basis for SimpleSearchGuide contamination.

Once the unwanted program is active on the browser, first thing it will do is to secure its existence. It takes away the browser configuration control from Mac user through setting modifications. Thus, the unwanted changes manifest that “Your browser is managed by your organization.” With this current setup, it would be impossible to remove SimpleSearchGuide as long as it is dominating the browser. The quick remedy would be to get rid of the “Managed by your organization” setup or run the appropriate Terminal Command to reset certain Google Chrome configurations.

SimpleSearchGuide is aiming to dominate the search activities on the browser. It overrides the setting for this specific function so that attackers may be able to promote their own search engine. Unfortunately, it will replace the current preferences by Mac users with a different and unreliable search provider. Having said that, Mac user’s online searching is negatively affected because the search results generated by the unknown search tool are at the lowest level of accuracy. Moreover, the result page often contains malicious paid links that meant to forward the browser to malicious sites where adware or malware is waiting to be downloaded.

Image of SimpleSearchGuide extension

Getting rid of SimpleSearchGuide

Obviously, removing SimpleSearchGuide app is the only solution to restore the browser program to its previous clean and normal working state. Thus, we are providing simple solution to get rid of the threat. Along with the guide are effective anti-virus and anti-malware tools that you can use to check for presence of malicious objects and directly remove them after the scan.

Procedures to Remove SimpleSearchGuide from Mac

This area contains comprehensive procedures to help you remove adware and potentially unwanted program from the computer.

Guide on this page are written in a manner that can be easily understand and execute by Mac users.

Quick Fix - Scan the System with Combo Cleaner

Combo Cleaner is a trusted Mac utility application with complete antivirus and optimization features. It is useful in dealing with adware, malware, and PUP's. Moreover, it can get rid of adware like SimpleSearchGuide. You may need to purchase full version if you require to maximize its premium features.

1. Download the tool from the following page:

2. Double-click the downloaded file and proceed with the installation.

3. In the opened window, drag and drop the Combo Cleaner icon onto your Applications folder icon.

Install Combo Cleaner

4. Open your Launchpad and click on the Combo Cleaner icon.

5. Wait until antivirus downloads its latest virus definition updates and click on "Start Combo Scan" to start removing SimpleSearchGuide.

Combo Cleaner Scanner

6. Free features of Combo Cleaner include Disk Cleaner, Big Files finder, Duplicate files finder, and Uninstaller. To use antivirus and privacy scanner, users have to upgrade to a premium version.

Proceed with the rest of the removal steps if you are comfortable in manually removing malicious objects associated with the threat.

Step 1 : Delete SimpleSearchGuide from Mac Applications

1. Go to Finder.

2. On the menu, click Go and then, select Applications from the list to open Applications Folder.

3. Find SimpleSearchGuide or any unwanted program.

Delete Unwanted App

4. Drag SimpleSearchGuide to Trash Bin to delete the application from Mac.

5. Right-click on Trash icon and click on Empty Trash.

Step 2 : Remove Browser Extensions that belongs to SimpleSearchGuide

1. Locate the add-on or extension that is relevant to the adware. To do this, please follow the following depending on affected browser.

Safari - Choose Preferences from the Safari menu, then click the Extensions icon. This will open a window showing all installed extensions.

Chrome - Select Preferences from the Chrome menu, and then click the Extensions link found on the left pane.

Firefox - Choose Add-ons from the Menu. Look at both the Extensions and Plug-ins lists when it opens a new window.

2. Once you have located SimpleSearchGuide, click on Remove or Uninstall, to get rid of it.

3. Close the browser and proceed to the next steps.

Step 3 : Delete Malicious Files that have installed SimpleSearchGuide

1. Select and copy the string below to your Clipboard by pressing Command + C on your keyboard.

~/Library/LaunchAgents

2. Go to your Finder. From the menu bar please select Go > Go to Folder...

3. Press Command + V on your keyboard to paste the copied string. Press Return to go to the said folder.

Command + V

4. You will now see a folder named LaunchAgents. Take note of the following files inside the folder:

  • com.SimpleSearchGuide
  • unknown.download.plist
  • unknown.ltvbit.plist
  • unknown.update.plist

The term unknown is just a representation of the actual malware name. Attackers may masks the actual name with following:

- SearchExtension

If you cannot find the specified file, please look for any unfamiliar or suspicious entries. It may be the one causing SimpleSearchGuide to be present on your Mac. Arranging all items to see the most latest ones may also help you identify recently installed unfamiliar files. Please press Option + Command + 4 on your keyboard to arrange the application list in chronological order.

Option+Command+4

Important: Take note of all the suspicious files as you may also delete the same item on another folder as we go on.

5. Drag all suspicious files that you may find to Trash.

6. Please restart the computer.

7. Open another folder using the same method as above. Copy and Paste the following string to easily locate the folder.

~/Library/Application Support

8. Look for any suspicious items that are similar to the ones in Step 4. Drag them to the Trash.

9. Repeat the process on the following non-hidden folders (without ~):

/Library/LaunchAgents
/Library/LaunchDaemons
/Library/Application Support

10. Lastly, go to your Finder and open the Applications Folder. Look for subfolders with the following names and drag them to Trash.

- SearchExtension

Optional : For locked files that cannot be removed, do the following:

1. Go to Launchpad, Utilities folder, open Activity Monitor.

2. Select the process you want to quit.

Force Quit Apps

3. Click on Force Quit button.

4. You may now delete or remove locked files that belongs to SimpleSearchGuide adware.

Step 4 : Double-check with MBAM Tool for Mac

1. Download Malwarebytes Anti-malware for Mac from this link:

2. Run Malwarebytes Anti-malware for Mac. It will check for updates and download if most recent version is available. This is necessary in finding recent malware threats including SimpleSearchGuide.

3. If it prompts to close all running web browser, please do so. Thus, we advise you to PRINT this guide for your reference before going offline.

4. Once it opens the user interface, please click on Scan button to start scanning your Mac computer.

MBAM for Mac

5. After the scan, Malwarebytes Anti-malware for Mac will display a list of identified threats, SimpleSearchGuide is surely part of it. Be sure to select all items in the list. Then, click Remove button to clean the computer.

Step 5 : Remove SimpleSearchGuide from Homepage and Search

Safari

- Open your Safari browser.
- Go to Safari Menu located on upper left hand corner, and then select Preferences.
- Under General tab, navigate to Default Search Engine section and select Google or any valid search engine.
- Next, be sure that "New Windows Open With" field is set to Homepage.
- Lastly, remove SimpleSearchGuide from the Homepage field. Replace it with your preferred URL to be set as your default homepage.

Google Chrome

- Open Chrome browser.
- Type the following on the address bar and press Enter on keyboard : chrome://settings/
- Look for 'On Startup' area.
- Select 'Open a specific page or set of pages'.
- Click on More Actions and select Edit.
- Enter the desired web address as your home page, replacing SimpleSearchGuide. Click Save.
- To set default search engine, go to Search Engine area.
- Click on 'Manage search engines...' button.
- Go to questionable Search Engine. Click on More Actions and Click 'Remove from list'.
- Go back to Search Engine area and choose valid entry from Search engine used in the address bar.

Mozilla Firefox

- Run Mozilla Firefox browser.
- Type the following on the address bar and hit Enter on keyboard : about:preferences
- On Startup area, select 'Show your home page' under 'When Firefox starts' field.
- Under Home Page field, type the desired URL to replace SimpleSearchGuide settings.
- To configure default search engine, select Search on left sidebar to display settings.
- Under Default Search Engine list, please select one.
- On the same page, you have an option to Remove unwanted search engine.

Optional : If unable to change browser settings, execute these steps:

Some user complains that there is no way to change browser settings because it is grayed out by SimpleSearchGuide. In such situation, it is important to check if there is unwanted profile. Please do the following:

1. Quit any running applications and launch System Preferences from your Dock.

2. Under System Preferences, click Profiles.

3. Select SimpleSearchGuide or any relevant profile from the left pane. See image below.

Remove Profile

4. At the bottom of this window, click minus [-] button to delete the account. Please refer to image above.

5. Close the Profiles window and open the affected browser to change all settings associated with SimpleSearchGuide.

Remove Stubborn SimpleSearchGuide from Google Chrome via Terminal of Mac

If solution above is not sufficient and SimpleSearchGuide is still present on the browser, you may need to proceed with these steps.

1. Open Terminal App by navigating to Go > Utilities, then click on Terminal.app

Mac Terminal

2. Input the strings below and press Enter on keyboard to execute the command. Input one string at a time.

defaults write com.google.Chrome HomepageIsNewTabPage -bool false
defaults write com.google.Chrome NewTabPageLocation -string “https://www.google.com/”
defaults write com.google.Chrome HomepageLocation -string “https://www.google.com/”
defaults delete com.google.Chrome DefaultSearchProviderSearchURL
defaults delete com.google.Chrome DefaultSearchProviderNewTabURL
defaults delete com.google.Chrome DefaultSearchProviderName

3. Please restart Google Chrome browser to see if SimpleSearchGuide is gone.

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