How to remove WebQuestSearch (Mac OS)

WebQuestSearch is the name of a newly spotted potentially unwanted application (PUA) for Mac. Actually, internet browser program is the primary target of this malicious ‘extension’ or ‘add-on’ and it exclusively utilized the infected internet software for various kinds of unlawful acts. For example, WebQuestSearch makes the browser a money-making platform by displaying pop-up ads and redirect to favor its own pay-per-click scheme.

Any undesirable program on Mac computer requires immediate removal because the longer it stays, the higher risk it can set off. For this particular threat, Mac device has layers of security protection that prompts user upon detecting this suspicious app. Alerts like “WebQuestSearchDaemon will damage your computer” pop-ups on the screen as soon as Mac identifies the malicious process. Fortunately, even if WebQuestSearch is detected as harmful, it is not deemed as virus that can inflict contamination to other files or the operating system itself. Malware researchers categorically listed WebQuestSearch as PUA with characteristic of Adware due to its profit generation pursuit.

Although WebQuestSearch is not a computer virus, it is still the basis for several issues and troubles. It adopts the same standard of its predecessors like MultiplySearch and SearchSystems. Therefore, it is anticipated that WebQuestSearch is likely to monitor web-browsing activities of Mac users. Favorite websites, search keywords, visited online pages, IP address, and contact details are just some sensitive data it desires to collect during its occurrence on internet software whether it is Safari, Google Chrome, or Firefox.

Removal and Prevention

In order for Mac OS users to avoid obtaining WebQuestSearch, it is necessary to give some ideas on its propagation technique. So far, here are the most successful methods that easily spread WebQuestSearch.

Bundled software installer – These are programs that comes in one package and loads in a single installation process. The sad thing is, only the setup process for main installation is visible to Mac user. Other integrated apps like WebQuestSearch are installed discreetly.

Ad campaign – Like most apps, the promotion for WebQuestSearch is on-going online and pop-ups endorsing it as valuable browser extension are exhibited on several websites.

Fake software update – Since majority of Mac user takes no pleasure in downloading unknown app like WebQuestSearch. Handlers of this adware are employing deceitful ad campaign like those that are encouraging web users to download software update, only to find out that they were tricked into installing WebQuestSearch.

Image of WebQuestSearch

Even though there is not alert like “WebQuestSearchDaemon will damage your computer,” Mac user should act immediately to remove the adware. Reasons for doing so are already stated above. So, the next segment is dedicated on the proper way of removing WebQuestSearch from Mac computer using only legitimate virus and malware removal tool.

Procedures to Remove WebQuestSearch 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 WebQuestSearch. 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 WebQuestSearch.

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 WebQuestSearch 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 WebQuestSearch or any unwanted program.

Delete Unwanted App

4. Drag WebQuestSearch 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 WebQuestSearch

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 WebQuestSearch, 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 WebQuestSearch

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.WebQuestSearch
  • 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:

- Adload, Web Quest Search Daemon

If you cannot find the specified file, please look for any unfamiliar or suspicious entries. It may be the one causing WebQuestSearch 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.

- Adload, Web Quest Search Daemon

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 WebQuestSearch 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 WebQuestSearch.

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, WebQuestSearch 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 WebQuestSearch 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 WebQuestSearch 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 WebQuestSearch. 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 WebQuestSearch 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 WebQuestSearch. 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 WebQuestSearch 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 WebQuestSearch.

Post Last Modified On October 13, 2020

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *