How to Remove SearchOperative (Mac)

On this page, you will learn the risks of having SearchOperative adware. Also included are Quick Fix to remove the threat, Removal Steps, as well as Homepage and Search Cleanup.

If there is an occurrence of browser hijacking on a Mac computer, it is the listed browser extension that user should look into to see if there is an adware. Normally, adware are installed as browser extension and because of this, they were able to control certain parts of the internet program. Like Safari, Google Chrome, or Firefox. One adware for Mac that can dominate homepage and search provider is called SearchOperative app.

What is SearchOperative?

This program is promoted online as Mac application that gives user better online browsing and searching experience. However, this marketing strategy is not sufficient in convincing Mac users to patronize the application. For that reason, actors behind SearchOperative are relying on a different techniques to hook this program on Mac computer even if it takes a hostile approach.

In most infection instance, SearchOperative manages to enter Mac computer while it is hiding on freeware installer. Quite a number of Mac users are unaware that most freeware were made as software bundle. Meaning, there are other extra apps in it aside from the main program. The sad thing is, many of this software bundles do not disclose the contents properly so the installation of all the included apps including SearchOperative is mostly without the consent of the Mac user.

Other cases on successful penetration of SearchOperative are credited to malicious advertisements that aggressively prompting web users to download a recommended application. The ads may sometimes pretend as software update (fake) just to deceive Mac users into acquiring the setup file. See sample of the fake software update below.

Screenshot of SearchOperative ads

Because SearchOperative are installed via this unexpected approach, Mac security analyst categorized it as potentially unwanted application (PUA). This is a threat category that is less hazardous than viruses but can be much dangerous if not eliminated at once. Please take note that SearchOperative Daemon runs secretly so not all security apps can detect its presence.

Pop-ups and redirects by SearchOperative

While SearchOperative is active on the internet browser program like Safari, Google Chrome, or Firefox, it produces intrusive types of pop-ups and redirects. These actions often attempt to lead the browser to malicious landing pages that can be the basis for additional malware infection. Some of the possible redirect destinations includes Rtfilmes.com, Shermore.info, and Wowcalmnessdumb.com.

In order to avoid added contamination and a much worst computer troubles, Mac user should act instantly to remove SearchOperative. For this reason, we made a simple guide that even ordinary users can execute. Included also are virus and malware scanners that are effective in finding and deleting harmful objects associated to SearchOperative.

Procedures to Remove SearchOperative 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 SearchOperative. 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 SearchOperative.

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 SearchOperative 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 SearchOperative or any unwanted program.

Delete Unwanted App

4. Drag SearchOperative 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 SearchOperative

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 SearchOperative, 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 SearchOperative

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.SearchOperative
  • 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:

- Search Operative Daemon

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

- Search Operative 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 SearchOperative 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 SearchOperative.

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, SearchOperative 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 SearchOperative 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 SearchOperative 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 SearchOperative. 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 SearchOperative 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 SearchOperative. 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 SearchOperative 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 SearchOperative.

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