Remove OptimizedSearchTool – Mac Adware

OptimizedSearchTool doesn’t ring a bell when talking about Mac applications. This is because the said program is not considered a legitimate app. Unfortunately, even if it is not certified Apple software, it can still get installed on a Mac computer. The attackers behind OptimizedSearchTool are employing various deceitful tactics to lure users into downloading an installer file where it is bundled. A scam ad campaign is also being utilized by the cyber-scammers to deploy the OptimizedSearchTool app.

More about OptimizedSearchTool

Malware researchers are classifying this software as a potentially unwanted application (PUA). This only implies that the Mac users who have it on their computers are totally unaware of the installation. Moreover, there was no request or desire for it.

Similar to other PUAs like FractionAnalog and LittleBoundless, OptimizedSearchTool normally infiltrates the Mac computer while it is bundled with freeware or shareware. In several infected cases, the unsolicited installation is due to the acquisition of a fake software update that specifically targets Adobe and Google Chrome users.

Screenshot of OptimizedSearchTool

As shown in the image above, the pop-up ad is under the disguise of a system alert, asserting to have found issues on the computer. Then, it suggests the immediate download of a supposed software update that will eventually install the OptimizedSearchTool app. This is a clear scam tactic to trick users and have them accidentally install the unwanted program.

Getting rid of OptimizedSearchTool from Mac

We can assure users that this program or browser extension is not in any way helpful. As a matter of fact, OptimizedSearchTool is the basis for different browser malfunctions and annoyances. In this case, the removal of this threat is highly recommended. For a complete guide, please see the specific section below.

The importance of avoiding adware infection

Macs are not immune to adware attacks, despite the fact that they have historically been thought to be less vulnerable to malware than Windows PCs. Macs are becoming more and more popular, which has raised the danger of adware. But Mac users may lower their risk of OptimizedSearchTool adware infestations considerably by using appropriate security measures. You may build a strong defense against OptimizedSearchTool by adhering to principles like obtaining software only from authorized sources, updating software, and utilizing reliable antivirus products.

It’s crucial to recognize that no system is completely safe against attacks, even with various defenses in place. The field of cybersecurity is always changing as new methods and weaknesses are found on a regular basis. To reduce the likelihood of OptimizedSearchTool adware infestations on their computers, Mac users should continue to exercise caution, keep aware of new dangers, and follow safe computing practices.

Procedures to Remove OptimizedSearchTool 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 Mac Computer 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 OptimizedSearchTool. You may need to purchase the full version if you want 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 your antivirus downloads its latest virus definition updates.

6. Next, click on "Start Combo Scan" to start removing OptimizedSearchTool.

Combo Cleaner Scanner

7. 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 manually removing malicious objects associated with the threat.

Step 1 : Delete OptimizedSearchTool 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 OptimizedSearchTool or any unwanted program and suspicious item. It may also disguise itself as a different file with random names.

Delete Unwanted App

4. Drag the suspicious file to the 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 OptimizedSearchTool

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 OptimizedSearchTool, 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 OptimizedSearchTool

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.OptimizedSearchTool.plist
  • unknown.service.plist
  • unknown.system.plist
  • unknown.download.plist
  • unknown.update.plist

The term unknown is just a representation of the actual malware name. Attackers may use the following file names:

- OptimizedSearchTool, (random characters).plist

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

- OptimizedSearchTool

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 OptimizedSearchTool 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 the most recent version if one is available. This is necessary for finding recent malware threats, including OptimizedSearchTool.

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 the 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, and OptimizedSearchTool is surely part of it. Be sure to select all items in the list. Then, click the Remove button to clean the computer.

Step 5 : Remove OptimizedSearchTool from Homepage and Search

Safari

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

Google Chrome

- Open the Google Chrome browser.
- Input the following on the address bar and press Enter on the keyboard : chrome://settings/
- Look for 'On Startup' area on the sidebar.
- Select 'Open a specific page or set of pages'.
- Choose the unwanted homepage, and click on Ellipses (three dots) and select Edit.
- Enter the desired web address as your homepage, replacing the OptimizedSearchTool setting. Click Save.
- To set the default search engine, go to the Search Engine area from the sidebar link.
- Click on 'Manage search engines...' button.
- Select the questionable Search Engine and click on Ellipses (three dots). ClickDelete. to remove it from the list.
- Go back to the Search Engine area and choose a valid entry (i.e., Google) 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
- Click Home on the sidebar area.
- Under "New Windows and Tabs", you may choose Firefox Home (Default) or Custom URLs. - Input the desired URL to replace OptimizedSearchTool settings if you chose Custom URLs.
- To configure default search engine, select Search on the sidebar to display the settings.
- Under the Default Search Engine list, please select one (i.e., Google).
- On the same page, you have the option to Remove unwanted search engines.

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

Some users complain that there is no way to change browser settings because they are grayed out by OptimizedSearchTool. In such a situation, it is important to check if there is an 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 OptimizedSearchTool or any relevant profile from the left pane. See the image below.

Remove Mac Profile

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

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

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