Remove Thesafesearch.net Hijacker

This post is committed on getting rid of adware/browser hijacker that goes by the name of Thesafesearch.net. Because of this, the page contains areas for PC Removal Guide, Mac Removal Steps, and ways to Clean the browser settings.

If the Internet browser application such as Safari, Google Chrome and Firefox redirects to Thesafesearch.net, this is a sign computer’s security setup is compromised. So far, this attack has been seen on Mac and Windows operating systems specifically affecting the Google Chrome browser. Even in this case, our guide on this page is not unique to the Chrome browser alone. It also covers malicious browser extension removal for Firefox, Edge, and Safari.

Prior to proceeding with the removal guide, it is also vital to know the basics of how a computer got infected with adware or browser hijacker such as Thesafesearch.net. Typically, it is enclosed to dubious freeware and shareware apps that are masquerading as free games, utilities, media players, or fake updates of Adobe and Google products. However, most victims report that their browser is immediately exceeded by Thesafesearch.net after clicking on a pop-up indicating that Flash Player or Chrome browser requires immediate update. They are totally blinded by the pop-up interface that was made to resemble the valid Adobe update. Hence, they did not bother to check the source website.

Screenshot of Thesafesearch.net

For safety reasons, computer security professionals strongly urge computer owners to get software updates only from official websites. It is also important to refrain from pop-up instant advice alerts to download programs. Since the majority of users are clueless about this technique being used by malware creators, many fall victims to browser hijacker like Thesafesearch.net.

While this threat is not overly damaging, it may still cause damage to the computer. Furthermore, the redirect functions of Thesafesearch.net may lead to an additional download of potentially unwanted programs. So it is better to get rid of Thesafesearch.net before it can further damage Mac system and Internet applications. Run the guide below in exact order to ensure full removal of browser redirection adware.

Thesafesearch.net Removal Procedure for PC

Below is a systematic instruction that is very useful in getting rid of the potentially unwanted program (PUP) from compromised Windows computer. Aside from removing the malicious browser extension, this guide is also helpful in deleting internet hijacker and pop-ups.

In order to totally eliminate the threat, it is vital to follow the process in exact manner.

Step 1 : Delete Thesafesearch.net Browser Extension

Most adware and unwanted programs are using a program called browser extension to be able to take over the settings of internet applications. Therefore, we highly recommend to check and remove the extension that is closely related to Thesafesearch.net.

Remove Thesafesearch.net Extension from Google Chrome

1. Open Google Chrome browser.

2. Type chrome://extensions/ in the address bar and press Enter on keyboard.

Chrome URL

3. Find Thesafesearch.net or relevant entry and remove it from Google Chrome browser.

Uninstall Thesafesearch.net Extension from Mozilla Firefox

1. Open Mozilla Firefox browser.

2. Type about:addons in the address bar and press Enter on keyboard.

Firefox URL

3. Choose Extensions on sidebar menu.

4. Look for object that is pertaining to Thesafesearch.net and remove it from the browser.

After deleting the malicious browser extension, it is expected that the hijacker is also gone from the homepage.

Remove Thesafesearch.net Add-ons from Internet Explorer and Edge Browser

1. Open Internet Explorer program.

2. Go to top Menu and click Tools. Then, select Manage Add-ons from the drop-down list.

Internet Explorer Add-ons

3. Look for and Remove or Disable entries of Thesafesearch.net from Toolbars and Extension. Additionally, delete unwanted URL from Search Providers section.

4. Close the window and restart Internet Explorer.

If Thesafesearch.net is still present on the IE browser and there are still hijacker, redirects, and pop-ups, another option is to remove the adware from Windows Control Panel.

5. Press Windows Key + R and then, type appwiz.cpl command.

6. Program and Features window will open. Arrange the list in chronological manner with recently installed applications on top. To do this, click on 'Installed On' column.

Add-Remove Malware

7. Select Thesafesearch.net or recently installed unwanted entry. Then, click on Uninstall to remove it from Windows system.

Step 2 : Scan the computer with Sophos Antivirus

1. Download Sophos Virus Removal Tool from the link below. Save the file on your computer where you can easily access it.

2. Once the download completes, browse the location of the file. Double-click to run the program and begin the install process.

Screnshot of Sophos Installer

3. On first windows of installation wizard, click Next to continue. Then, it will display the program’s License Agreement. You need to Accept the terms in order to proceed. If Windows prompts for User Account Control, please click Yes to proceed.

Screenshot of Sophos EULA Page

4. On succeeding windows, click Next or Continue to carry on with the installation. After completing the installation process, Launch Sophos Virus Removal Tool.

5. Internet connection is required when running this scanner in order to download important updates. Make sure that everything is up-to-date to effectively remove malicious program like Thesafesearch.net.

6. Click the  button to  carry out the Scan. This will check the system for presence of malicious objects, malware, and viruses. The tool reveals items that were found linked to Thesafesearch.net and other suspicious entities. Be sure to remove all identified threats.

Screenshot of Sophos Virus Scan

The above procedures should have totally eliminated the Thesafesearch.net browser hijacker. However, if you found that there are still remnants of the threat, please proceed to manual removal of associated objects as outlined below.

Step 3 : Scan and Delete Adware with AdwCleaner

In addition to the procedure, we suggest scanning the computer with AdwCleaner tool. Possibly, there are some traces of Thesafesearch.net on the browser that was not deleted during the preceding steps. This tool will scan the computer and check for presence of malicious applications as well as invalid browser entries that produces hijacking, redirects, and pop-ups.

1. Follow the link below to download the tool called AdwCleaner.

2. When the download has completed, please close all running programs on the computer especially browsers affected by Thesafesearch.net.

3. Browse the location of the downloaded file and double-click on adwcleaner_Ver.exe to start running the tool. Then, click on Scan button.

AdwCleaner

4. AdwCleaner searches the computer for malicious programs, extensions, plug-ins, adware, and any items that may be associated to Thesafesearch.net. It will also check for suspicious entries on browser settings that is associated with the hijacker.

5. Clean or Remove all suspicious and harmful items identified after the thorough scan.

6. After the cleanup procedure, rebooting the computer is required to finalize the removal of detected threats.

In addition to the procedures above, resetting the affected browser program and clearing the cache are extra methods to completely eliminate Thesafesearch.net. You can execute the guide on resetting internet browser below.

Procedures to Remove Thesafesearch.net from Mac

This section contains comprehensive guide for Mac users. It will help you remove the subject malicious browser extension from internet software. In the same manner, the procedure is helpful in stopping redirects, pop-ups, and browser hijacking activities.

Procedures 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 malicious browser extension like Thesafesearch.net that is responsible for displaying unknown homepage and pop-ups. 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 Thesafesearch.net.

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. The following guides are also vital in deleting malicious items from the browser configuration.

Step 1 : Delete Thesafesearch.net 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 Thesafesearch.net or any unwanted program.

Delete Unwanted App

4. Drag Thesafesearch.net 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 Thesafesearch.net

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 Thesafesearch.net or any relevant 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 Thesafesearch.net

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
  • com.unknown

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

- TheSafeSearch

On some occassions, the malware is represented by a domain name that is closely related to the subject. Like in this case, it can be Thesafesearch.net with associated .com, .net, .org, and so on .

If you cannot find the specified file, please look for any unfamiliar or suspicious entries. It may be the one causing Thesafesearch.net 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
/Library/Preferences

Optional : For locked files that cannot be removed, do the following:

1. Go to Launchpad and open Activity Monitor (Under Utilities or Other Folder).

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 Thesafesearch.net browser extension or 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 the Thesafesearch.net malware and browser hijacker and pop-up provider.

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, Thesafesearch.net is surely part of it. Be sure to select all items in the list. Then, click Remove button to clean the computer.

Step 5 : Delete Thesafesearch.net Login Items

Some browser hijacker may also install login item into compromised account under System Preferences. This object automatically runs Thesafesearch.net 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 Thesafesearch.net.

5. Click on Login Items tab.

6. Select Thesafesearch.net, , 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 Thesafesearch.net. 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 , Thesafesearch.net 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 Thesafesearch.net.

There's More... Reset Internet Browser Apps (PC and Mac)

Cleaning your internet browser from clutter and unwanted add-on/extension is a must when dealing with Thesafesearch.net. The procedure below discuss on resetting various browsers to its default state.

Restore Google Chrome to Default Settings

Resetting Google Chrome to default settings is helpful in deleting hard-to-remove extension such as from Thesafesearch.net. This method is highly advisable to perform if you have difficulty in removing unwanted extension.

1. Open Google Chrome Internet browser.
2. On the address bar, type chrome://settings/reset and press Enter key.
3. Under Reset and clean up section, choose Restore settings to their original defaults.
4. Click Reset settings button to clear all entries of Thesafesearch.net.
5. Close the existing tab and restart Google Chrome. That should have removed Thesafesearch.net extension and associated objects.

Reset Mozilla Firefox to Default

This section describes how to remove unwanted extension from Firefox that may be related to Thesafesearch.net. This process can fix many browser issues by restoring Firefox to factory settings without affecting your essential information (bookmarks, browsing history, passwords, and Internet cookies) on the browser. If you desire to remove only specific extension, please see manual removal of add-on from Firefox.

1. Input the string about:support on Firefox web address and press Enter on keyboard.
2. You will now see the Troubleshooting Information page of Mozilla Firefox.
3. You will notice a section on upper-right corner of the screen stating Give Firefox a tune up. Click the Refresh Firefox button.
4. If confirmation window appears, click Refresh Firefox to continue.
5. Firefox browser will close and start the resetting process. When done, it will display a list of restored data. Thesafesearch.net should be gone by now. Click Finish to open a fresh version of Firefox.

Restore Internet Explorer to Default Settings

1. Open Internet Explorer and navigate to top menu. Click Tools, and then Internet Options.
2. Select Advanced tab on Internet Options window.
3. On lower part of the window, under Reset Internet Explorer Settings area, click the Reset button. Please see image for reference. Your data like favorites, bookmark, and history will remain in the browser. However, this process may delete add-ons by Thesafesearch.net and other unknown objects. If you prefer to carry out the procedure manually, please add-on removal from Internet Explorer.

Clear the Safari Internet Browser (Mac)

1. Open your Safari browser application.
2. In the Safari menu, click on Preferences from the drop-down list.
3. On Preferences window, please select the Privacy tab.
4. Click on Manage Website Data button.
5. Select unwanted entry like Thesafesearch.net and click the Remove button. If you choose to Remove All, you may be logout from most visited websites and online services. Therefore, we advise to remove suspicious item one at a time to prevent changing behavior towards your favorite websites.
6. If it prompts, please confirm your actions.

7. Next, we will need to clear the Cache. Back at the Safari Preferences window, choose Advanced tab.
8. Navigate to the bottom and activate Show Develop menu in menu bar.
9. Go to Safari menu, choose on Develop from the drop down list and click on on Empty Caches.
10. Next thing to do is to restore the Homepage to your preference and remove the one from Thesafesearch.net.
11. Back at the Safari Preferences window, click on General tab.
12. Under Homepage section, type your desired URL to be the default start-up page.
13. Lastly, make sure to have the right Search Engine.
14. Go back to Safari Preferences window and click on Search tab.
15. Select your desired Search tool under the Search engine section.
16. You may not restart Safari browser.

About the author

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Copy link