Mac was once dubbed as virus-proof and in fact, it held a high reputation for being the safest computer in the planet. However, gone were the days when Mac user does not need to worry of viruses and malware that are lurking the internet. Today, this high-end machine is almost the favorite target of cyber hoodlums especially those that are developers of malicious browser add-ons called adware. One example of dubious browser extension that can affect the operation of Mac user is called VirtualCharacterSearch.
VirtualCharacterSearch refers to browser extension that is very intrusive. It belongs to a large adware group where TotalConsoleSearch and MacWebService came from. Once it sets foot on the internet browser application, Mac user is going to experience different types of misbehaviors on the internet browser program. For example, while surfing the internet, the browser pages suddenly shifts to a different page that is unknown to Mac user. While searching online, VirtualCharacterSearch also intervenes and in fact, the search is always diverted to unusual search engine.
Having VirtualCharacterSearch on the computer is risky to Mac user’s online privacy and security because aside from the redirects and pop-ups, it injects a code to browser application that able it to monitor Mac user’s browsing activities. Thus, web data and even personal information of online user will be exposed to the handlers of VirtualCharacterSearch app.
What is VirtualCharacterSearchDaemon?
The operation of the said adware will not be possible without the relevant hidden process that runs on Mac computer. Therefore, Mac OS may often issue a warning about “VirtualCharacterSearchDaemon will damage your computer.” The system is pertaining to the process of VirtualCharacterSearch and relaying the message to Mac user as a warning that there is a malicious operation on the computer. Therefore, if Mac shows an alert about VirtualCharacterSearchDaemon, immediately scan the computer with valid and effective anti-virus application. Stopping it sooner may prevent the adware from inflicting further harm. The removal of this unwanted app restores security and privacy on Mac computer.
Procedures to Remove VirtualCharacterSearch 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 VirtualCharacterSearch. 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 VirtualCharacterSearch.
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 VirtualCharacterSearch 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 VirtualCharacterSearch or any unwanted program.
4. Drag VirtualCharacterSearch 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 VirtualCharacterSearch
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 VirtualCharacterSearch, 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 VirtualCharacterSearch
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. Attackers may masks the actual name with following:
- Adload, VirtualCharacterSearchDaemon
If you cannot find the specified file, please look for any unfamiliar or suspicious entries. It may be the one causing VirtualCharacterSearch 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 ~):
10. Lastly, go to your Finder and open the Applications Folder. Look for subfolders with the following names and drag them to Trash.
- Adload, VirtualCharacterSearchDaemon
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 VirtualCharacterSearch 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 VirtualCharacterSearch.
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, VirtualCharacterSearch 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 VirtualCharacterSearch 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 VirtualCharacterSearch 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 VirtualCharacterSearch. 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 VirtualCharacterSearch 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 VirtualCharacterSearch. 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 VirtualCharacterSearch 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 VirtualCharacterSearch.
How to protect Mac against VirtualCharacterSearch?
When speaking of computer protection, there is no better way than installing a reputable and effective anti-virus tool. However, Mac user should not rely alone on defense of anti-virus or anti-malware applications. Security programs are not hundred percent perfect and computer viruses are evolving much faster than having an update to AV software. If virus is one-step ahead of the security app, there is a tendency that it can penetrate the computer via exploited system vulnerabilities.
Still, being aware and careful while online is always the first line of defense against virus and malware attacks.