Remove Search-mate.com (Mac OS)

By | Posted on December 31, 2017 | Updated on September 24, 2018

Strange changes happening on the browser especially if homepage is showing Search-mate.com as default homepage is a sign of adware infection. This is not a good indication particularly if user is too concern with online privacy. Search-mate.com and similar threats do not only override homepage settings. It may also collect data relevant to user’s online search activities. Worst, adware can collect various sensitive data and credentials from browsers like Safari, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox.

Search-mate.com main concern is to force users to explore the web using their own servers. Thus, adware makers openly monitor browsing habit of users. Moreover, they can log information from user’s input like search keywords, login data, visited websites, and online interest. Because Search-mate.com is expert in obtaining web data, it would be simple for adware makers to produce advertisements that are attractive to web users. This will mean higher percentage of generating clicks from PPC (pay-per-click) campaign that will return high profits for attackers.

It is unfamiliar to most web users that Search-mate.com and similar threats can spread over the World Wide Web through freeware or commonly called software bundles. Adware makers randomly incorporate the malicious code to hundreds of freeware and shareware. Thus, the actual source is unknown and it is hard to pinpoint the exact program where Search-mate.com is contained, we highly suggest avoiding free applications from questionable websites. As much as possible, obtain program from valid and official websites only.

Search-mate.com

To be able to remove Search-mate.com hijacker, we put up a simple guide on this page. Execute the procedure in exact manner to ensure total eradication of the threat. Also, scan the computer with recommended tools to delete hard to find objects related to Search-mate.com.

Online Security Scanner Report for search-mate.com:

Norton SafeWeb Not yet tested Community Rating: 0.0 Updated: Jan. 19, 2018
MCAfee Site Advisor Minimal risk Feedback: No Data Updated: Jan. 19, 2018
Transparency Report Currently safe Feedback: No Data Updated: Jan. 19, 2018

Procedures to Remove Search-mate.com 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 Search-mate.com. 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 (this will open a new window)

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 Search-mate.com.

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 Search-mate.com

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 Search-mate.com, 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 Search-mate.com

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

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

- Genieo, Inkeeper, InstallMac, CleanYourMac, MacKeeper, SoftwareUpdater

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

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 Search-mate.com 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 (this will open a new window)

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 Search-mate.com.

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, Search-mate.com 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 Search-mate.com 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 Search-mate.com 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 Search-mate.com. 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 Search-mate.com 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 Search-mate.com Login Items

Some browser hijacker may also install login item into compromised account under System Preferences. This object automatically runs Search-mate.com 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 Search-mate.com.

5. Click on Login Items tab.

6. Select Search-mate.com 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 Search-mate.com. 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 Search-mate.com 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 Search-mate.com.

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