Homepage and new tab that forwards to Search.ponitol.com is a sign of imminent computer threat. Most users who encounter browser hijackers like this, ended up having malware on their computer because this activity may land the browser to suspicious websites that host dangerous programs. Search.ponitol.com is known to be a member of large adware group that also made Search.pardessov.com, Search.opengross.com, and many more.
Without users consent, Search.ponitol.com enters the computer via freeware and shareware. Adware makers are utilizing this campaign to distribute a copy of Ponitol adware, which is responsible for replacing homepage with unwanted search engine. While digging deeper into this adware, it appears that it has other malevolent intent other than overriding homepage settings. Search.ponitol.com also modifies browser settings and set itself as default search tool. Thus, users online search inquiries are redirected to adware server first before releasing the outcome via Yahoo Search.
Most computer users are not aware that this shift in online search traffic means to gather sensitive data. Search.ponitol.com may collect information like search inquiries, relevant keywords, browsing history, and other identifiable credential from web users. Eventually, adware creator may misuse collected data to generate online revenue by displaying appalling advertisements to user. Worst, it may issue misleading ads that can persuade users to download potentially unwanted programs.
So far, we do not see any benefits when utilizing Search.ponitol.com as search engine. Moreover, it is not suitable to be a secured homepage and new tab. There is still no alternative to trusted and safe search engines like Google, Bing, or Yahoo. With regards to Search.ponitol.com, we highly suggest removing it from your Mac system to prevent any further threats.
Procedures to Remove Search.ponitol.com from Mac
Systematic instructions and tools for the successful removal of browser threat are outlined on this section. This is helpful to totally get rid of Search.ponitol.com browser hijacker from infected browser programs.
Even ordinary Mac users can understand and follow this guide because it was created with less complexities and technicalities. Also, make sure to run the scanners to automatically delete harmful items belonging to Search.ponitol.com browser hijacker.
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 malicious browser hijacker like Search.ponitol.com. 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.
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 Search.ponitol.com.
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.
Aside from automatic removal using the recommended utility application, you can also remove Search.ponitol.com with manual procedure. If you are comfortable in executing this course, please proceed below.
Step 1 : Delete Search.ponitol.com from Mac Applications
1. Open Finder on you Mac computer.
2. Next, go to top menu and click Go. From the drop-down list, click on Applications to view the contents of Applications Folder.
3. Browse the Applications folder and look for Search.ponitol.com. If it is not present, find any unwanted or suspicious program that is probably relevant to the browser hijacker.
4. To delete Search.ponitol.com from Mac, simply Drag it to Trash Bin. You can also highlight/select the item and press Delete on your keyboard.
5. Next, delete Search.ponitol.com from Trash Bin. Right-click the Trash icon and click Empty Trash.
Step 2 : Remove Browser Extensions that belongs to Search.ponitol.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 Plug-ins lists when it opens a new window.
2. Once you have located Search.ponitol.com or any suspicious item, 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.ponitol.com
1. Select and copy the string below to your Clipboard by pressing Command + C on your keyboard.
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.
4. You will now see a folder named LaunchAgents. Take note of the following files inside the folder:
The term unknown is just a representation of the actual malware name. It is normally an unfamiliar file name such as the following:
- Ponitol, Genieo, Inkeeper, Software Updater, InstallMac
If you cannot find the specified file, please look for any unfamiliar or suspicious entries. It may be the one causing Search.ponitol.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.
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.
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 ~):
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.
3. Click on Force Quit button.
4. You may now delete or remove locked files that belongs to Search.ponitol.com homepage hijacker.
Step 4 : Double-check with MBAM Tool for Mac
1. Download Malwarebytes Anti-malware for Mac from the link below.
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.ponitol.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.
5. After the scan, Malwarebytes Anti-malware for Mac will display a list of identified threats, Search.ponitol.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.ponitol.com from Homepage and Search
- 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.ponitol.com from the Homepage field. Replace it with your preferred URL to be set as your default homepage.
- 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.ponitol.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.
- 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.ponitol.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.ponitol.com Login Items
Some browser hijacker may also install login item into compromised account under System Preferences. This object automatically runs Search.ponitol.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.ponitol.com.
5. Click on Login Items tab.
6. Select Search.ponitol.com or any suspicious entries from the list and click on the minus [-] button and confirm your actions. Please see image below for reference.
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.ponitol.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.ponitol.com or any relevant profile from the left pane. See image below.
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.ponitol.com.