How to Remove SphinxLookup (Mac OS)

By reading this post, you will know the risks of having SphinxLookup app adware on the browser. We include Quick Fix to get rid of the threat, Removal Steps, as well as Homepage and Search Cleanup to help you fix the issue.

SphinxLookup is a browser extension for internet programs operating on Mac OS environment. This is considered malicious and actually placed under the category of potentially unwanted application (PUA). If browser app is contaminated with this adware, Mac OS may occasionally issue a pop-up warning stating “SphinxLookup will damage your computer.” On this note, Mac user should make all necessary measures to prevent this browser extension on inflicting further damage and immediate removal is crucial.

How SphinxLookup infects Mac?

Nearly all unwanted application including BrowserActivity and GeneralObject finds their way inside the Mac computer through the assistance of dubious software installers. In most infection cases, SphinxLookup is integrated to a freeware that Mac user has downloaded from distrusted source. Upon setup process, it is with complete secrecy that SphinxLookup also gets onboard. All that is visible on the screen is the installation process of freeware and this gives Mac user some comfort that it is legitimate and clean.

Another approach to penetrate Mac computer that most adware makers favored is malicious ad campaign. While browsing the internet, online user may sometimes see an ad promoting SphinxLookup as a browser enhancement tool. It claims to improve online searching and browsing experience of Mac user. The pop-up may contain different enticing messages to persuade web users to download and install SphinxLookup. On the darker side, makers of this PUA also resort to a much deceitful tactics by making the ads to appear as system alert. This disguise of the pop-up advertisements frequently identifies obsolete application that needs to be replaced with updated one. As soon as Mac user accepts this bogus software update, SphinxLookup will be installed on the computer instead of the expected update.

The moment that SphinxLookup is operating on the browser, Mac OS will repeatedly witness pop-up alerts stating “SphinxLookup will damage your computer.” This implies that SphinxLookup is already a process that runs invisibly on Mac device and therefore, removal may be quite difficult.

Screenshot of SphinxLookup Adware

Is there a way to remove SphinxLookup?

It is obvious that the process SphinxLookup is relevant to installed dubious browser extension. Therefore, Mac user should focus on eliminating this PUA first. By scanning the computer with valid and powerful anti-malware tool, there is a high chance of deleting both the adware and the hidden process from Mac computer.

Avoid SphinxLookup Infection

Staying away from malicious websites especially Torrents and distrusted file-sharing network is a good start to prevent any adware or malware infections on Mac. However, there is no better way to protect the computer other than having an effective anti-virus or anti-malware application. This reliable security software is not only useful in removing SphinxLookup, it is also helpful in shielding Mac against online virus attack.

Procedures to Remove SphinxLookup 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 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 adware like SphinxLookup. 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 SphinxLookup.

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 SphinxLookup 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 SphinxLookup or any unwanted program.

Delete Unwanted App

4. Drag SphinxLookup 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 SphinxLookup

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 SphinxLookup, 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 SphinxLookup

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.SphinxLookup
  • 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:

- Sphinx Lookup Daemon

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

- Sphinx Lookup 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 SphinxLookup 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 SphinxLookup.

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, SphinxLookup 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 SphinxLookup 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 SphinxLookup 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 SphinxLookup. 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 SphinxLookup 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 SphinxLookup. 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 SphinxLookup 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 SphinxLookup.

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