Remove Default-search.net (Mac and PC)

By | Posted on December 23, 2013 | Updated on July 10, 2019

Default-search.net is an unsafe search engine that some deemed as redirect virus. It supersedes current home page of the browser and force it to use the search service from an unknown web site. The redirect issue normally aims to promote certain products or web sites. In short, default-search.net was made to deliberately exhibit ads on the computer.

It is observed that effect of default-search.net is not only limited widely used PC browsers. It can also affect Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and Safari running under Mac systems. The add-on was made exclusively for the mentioned programs. Once it is injected into the browser, user may instantly witness major changes on startup page of Internet browser application.

Using default-search.net search may seem to provide true results if not accurate. However, it is observed that serious numbers of advertisement links are mixed with the search results. This made computer users to be confuse on which one to click. It could be intentional, because people behind default-search.net made this program as income generating gateway using pay-per-click advertising scheme.

Default-search.net browser hijacker gets inside the computer through third-party programs. It is wrapped to shareware or freeware that you may obtain from various web sites.

default-search.net

Default-search.net Removal Procedure

Stage 1: Scan the Computer with Sophos Virus Removal Tool

This rootkit and virus removal tool is free and easy to use. It scans, detects and removes any rootkit, malware as well as threat like default-search.net. The tool is powerful enough to find malicious items that are hidden on the computer.

1. Download Sophos Virus Removal Tool from the link below. Save the file to your Desktop so that we can access the file easily.
Sophos Virus Removal Tool Download Link

2. After downloading, navigate to the file location and double-click it. This will start the installation procedure. User Account Control will prompt if you want to run the program, click Yes to continue.

sophos_exe

3. On initial launch of the program, it will display a welcome screen as shown in the image below. Click Next to start the installation procedure.

sophos-welcome

4. Next, you need to accept the license agreement before Sophos Virus Removal Tool can be installed onto the computer. Choose ‘I accept the terms in the license agreement’. Then, click Next button.

sophos-license

5. On the next prompts, please click appropriate button to proceed. At the end of the installation process, it will display InstallShield Wizard Completed. Just leave the Launch Sophos Virus Removal Tool with a check mark. Then, click Finish.

6. The tool will download necessary updates so Internet connection is required at this point. Lastly, Sophos Virus Removal Tool displays the welcome screen.

sophos-update

7. Click on Start Scanning button to begin checking the system for presence of rootkit and virus. The tool reveals items that were found linked to default-search.net. It also detects and removes other malicious files.

sophos-startscan

Stage 2: Scan and Delete Adware with AdwCleaner

1. Download the tool called AdwCleaner from the location stated below.
Click here to download AdwCleaner (this will open a new window)

2. Once you have completed the download, please close all running programs on the computer.

3. Locate the file and double-click on adwcleaner_Ver.exe to start running the tool. Then, click on Scan button.

AdwCleaner

4. It searches for presence of harmful programs, plug-ins, add-ons, or any data that were found malicious and linked to default-search.net. You need to Clean all items detected by this tool.

5. Once scan is done, the tool may need to reboot your computer to finalize the cleaning process.

6. After reboot, AdwCleaner will display the log file of the recent scan.

Stage 3: Remove default-search.net Add-on and Cleanup the Browser

After the previous scans, you may have deleted default-search.net from the affected browser. This next step will ensure that no more module of adware will be left on the browser. This free tool scans and checks the browser for unwanted add-on and extension, and if found, Avast Browser Cleanup will give you a report and suggestion.

1. Download this free tool and save it to your desktop.
Avast Browser Cleanup Download Link (This will open in a new window)

2. Please install the program. Start the process by double-clicking on the executable file avast-browser-cleanup-sfx.exe.

3. When run, Avast Browser Cleanup performs a test on the browser. If unwanted entries were found, it will display a button ‘Remove all add-ons listed below and cleanup browser.’ You may remove all or delete one entry at a time.

Avast Browser Scanner

4. Avast Browser Cleanup will confirm before it permanently deletes the add-on. Please click Yes to proceed with the removal of default-search.net on the affected browser.

Option: Alternative Method to Clean Up Internet Browser from default-search.net

Cleaning your internet browser from clutter and unwanted add-on/extension is a must when dealing with default-search.net. The procedure below discuss on resetting various browsers to its default state.

Reset Mozilla Firefox to Default

This section describes how to remove unwanted extension from Firefox that may be related to default-search.net.. This process can fix many browser issues by restoring Firefox to factory settings without affecting your essential information (bookmarks, browsing history, passwords, and Internet cookies) on the browser. If you desire to remove only specific extension, please see manual removal of add-on from Firefox.

1. Navigate to Firefox menu at the top of the browser and access the Help area. Click on Troubleshooting Information.

2. A new tab will appear. You will notice a section on upper-right corner of the screen stating Give Firefox a tuneup. Click the Refresh Firefox button.

FF Reset

3. If confirmation window appears, click Refresh Firefox to continue.

4. Firefox browser will close and start the resetting process. When done, it will display a list of restored data. default-search.net should be gone by now. Click Finish to open a fresh version of Firefox.

Restore Internet Explorer to Default Settings

1. Open Internet Explorer and navigate to top menu. Click Tools, and then Internet Options.

2. Select Advanced tab on Internet Options window.

IE Reset

3. On lower part of the window, under Reset Internet Explorer Settings area, click the Reset button. Please see image for reference.

Your data like favorites, bookmark, and history will remain it the browser. However, this process may delete add-ons by default-search.net and other unknown objects. If you prefer to carry out the procedure manually, please add-on removal from Internet Explorer.

Procedures to Remove Default-search.net from Mac

This section contains comprehensive guide to help you remove malicious browser hijacker from internet application.

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

Step 1 : 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 malicious browser hijacker like Default-search.net. You may need to purchase full version if you require to maximize its premium features.

1. Download the tool from the following page:

Click here to Download Combo Cleaner

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.

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

5. Wait until antivirus downloads it's latest virus definition updates and click on "Start Combo Scan" to start removing Default-search.net.

Start Combo Scan

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 2 : Remove Browser Extensions that belongs to Default-search.net

1. Locate the add-on or extension that is relevant to the hijacker. 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 Plugins lists when it opens a new window.

2. Once you have located Default-search.net or ChumSearch, CoolaSearch, 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 Default-search.net

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:

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

The term unknown is just a representation of the actual malware name. It is normally an unfamiliar file name such as the following:

- ChumSearch, CoolaSearch

If you cannot find the specified file, please look for any unfamiliar or suspicious entries. It may be the one causing Default-search.net 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
/Library/Preferences

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 Locked Files

3. Click on Force Quit button.

4. You may now delete or remove locked files that belongs to Default-search.net homepage hijacker.

Step 4 : Double-check with MBAM Tool for Mac

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

Click here to download MBAM for Mac

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 Default-search.net.

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.

Malwarebytes Anti-malware for Mac

5. After the scan, Malwarebytes Anti-malware for Mac will display a list of identified threats, Default-search.net 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 Default-search.net 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 Default-search.net 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 Default-search.net. 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 Default-search.net 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.

Step 6 : Delete Default-search.net Login Items

Some browser hijacker may also install login item into compromised account under System Preferences. This object automatically runs Default-search.net during user log in.

1. Go to Apple menu and choose System Preferences.

2. Select Users & Groups from the preferences window.

3. You may need to Unlock this area in order to make changes. Click on the Lock icon on lower left corner of the window.

4. Next, select user account that runs Default-search.net.

5. Click on Login Items tab.

6. Select Default-search.net, ChumSearch, CoolaSearch, or any suspicious entries from the list and click on the minus [-] button and confirm your actions. Please see image below for reference.

Login Items

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 Default-search.net. 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 ChumSearch, CoolaSearch, Default-search.net 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 Default-search.net.

Leave a Reply

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