Probably the most prevalent malware campaign for Mac computers at the moment is the browser hijacking problem. Because of this unique type of malware, users find themselves unable to customize their browser experience. This includes their internet navigation, directing them to websites other than the ones they requested or searched for.
What is the AnySearch Virus?
The most common type of browser hijacking malware is known as Any Search, AnySearch 1.2.3 or Any Search Manager. This malware affects Firefox, Safari and Chrome alike. If this malware becomes installed, unwanted pages are directed to instead of ones requested. This could either be a redirect to the search.anysearch.net website, or even be something as simple as seeing the search.anysearchmac.com URL show up in their search bar.
This AnySearch malware does not always affect computers on its own, however. Sometimes you can find this malware alongside Safe Finder, a junkyard that changes a browser’s search parameters. It may also come bundled with Advanced Mac Cleaner. This legitimate sounding malware pretends to optimize your Mac and clear out any unwanted files or viruses, when in actuality it tries to trick users into paying an exorbitant amount of money for their license.
Connections between these malwares and Any Search were discovered when comments on security forums noted that Advanced Mac Cleaner was found on systems infected by AnySearch. This is very common. Fake security or optimizing programs have often shown up alongside these hijacking systems.
Where does AnySearch Come From?
Like many malware issues on Mac, bundling seems to be the main source of the problem. It bundles itself alongside a seemingly legitimate or harmless software that, when installed, downloads the malware without the permission of the users. This is often seen in Flash Player downloads that are found on uncertified websites. This shows just how important it is to make sure you are downloading anything from the internet on a trusted and legitimate website.
When installed through bundling, the AnySearch virus can make changes to the Mac system. This is because when the malware is downloaded, it gives the virus essentially complete permission to change the system when the user ticks the “Terms and Conditions” box on the legitimate software. In reality, though, these terms actually give the virus permission to access the system and change browser settings.
This can affect the browser’s home page, search engine, new tab pages, among others. These will be redirected to the search.anysearch.net or search.anysearchmac.com without the permission of the users. It will also affect all of the browsers downloaded to the machine regardless of the browser on which the malware was downloaded.
How to Remove the AnySearch Virus on Mac
These instructions will tell you exactly how to remove the AnySearch virus from your Mac computer on all browsers. Make sure to follow the instructions exactly in the order provided.
- Open the Utilities folder. To find this, open the Finder application. On the grey bar lining the top of the screen, where you’ll see the File and Edit tabs, locate the Go tab and click on it. The Utilities folder will be at the bottom of the list.
- Find the Activity Monitor under the Utilities folder. This should be the first option on the Utilities Screen. Double click on this.
- In the Activity Monitor, locate Any Search or AnySearch 1.2.3. Double click on this entry. A grey box will pop up describing the process. At the bottom of the box you will see two buttons labeled “Sample” and “Quit”. Press the Quit button.
- Another box should pop up asking if you are sure you want to quit the process. Click on “Force Quit” to ensure the application is properly closed.
- Go back to the Finder app and click on the “Go” tab on the grey bar at the top of the screen another time. This time, Select “Applications” which is found on the list right above Utilities. Under Applications, find Any Search or AnySearch 1.2.3 and delete it. It may ask for a password: this is okay. Enter the password to completely delete the application.
- At the grey bar on the top of the screen, click the little Apple icon to locate the Apple Menu. On the list, select System Preferences.
- Under System Preferences, locate the button labeled “Users and Groups”. You will be directed to a page which lists all of the users of the device on the left. In the middle of the screen you will find the user currently logged in. At the top of the main box you will see two tabs, labeled “Password” and “Login Items”. Select “Login Items” to find any applications which automatically open upon starting the computer. Find the Any Search entry, highlight it, then find the minus button below the list and click that.
How to Remove AnySearch Redirects from Web Browser
In order to ensure all AnySearch redirects are removed from your browser, you will have to completely reset all of your browser settings.
- Open the Firefox app. On the grey bar above the screen click on the “Help” tab and select “Troubleshooting information”.
- A page will open in a new tab. To the right of the page is a small box with a button labeled “Refresh Firefox”. Click on this button
- A box will appear describing what refreshing the application will do. Click on “Refresh Firefox” on this box. The application will restart, and you are all set.
- Open the Safari app. On the grey bar above the screen click on the “Safari” tab, found to the left of the “File” Tab. Then select “Preferences” from the list.
- A grey preferences box will open. Find the Privacy tab then click on this.
- In the middle of the screen you will find a box reading “Manage Website Data”. Click on this, and another box will open listing your website data. Click the “Remove All” button at the bottom of the screen. Alternatively, you could select websites and remove these individually. This could be useful as it will log you out of certain websites, however, you may want to click “Remove All” anyway for security reasons.
- A grey box will open asking if you’re sure you want to remove it. Click on “Remove Now”. Now the action is complete.
Resetting Google Chrome:
- Open the Google Chrome app. On the grey bar above the screen click on the “Chrome” tab, found to the left of the “File” Tab. Then select “Preferences” from the list.
- A new tab will open with Google preferences listed. Scroll to the bottom of the page and select on the button labelled “Advanced”.
- Scroll down again until you find the button under the “Reset Settings” tab labelled “Restore settings to their original defaults”. Click on this
- A box will open to describe what will happen when Chrome is reset. Click on the “Reset Settings” button. Now the action is complete.
How to Remove the Any Search Virus Using Freshmac
An alternative solution to the problem surrounding this virus is to use the Freshmac application. This application will clean out unnecessary applications and all malware, and will also improve security, free up storage, and boasts 24/7 support. Here is how to remove Any Search using Freshmac.
- Download the Freshmac application to your computer. This can be done by simply searching for the application on any browsers. Click the Freshmac.pkg file, which will trigger installation. Click Continue, then in the pop up asking for authorization, click “Install Software”.
- After installation, the software will immediately begin a scan of your Mac.
- You will be presented with a scan report of any issues, junk files, and privacy problems. Click “Fix Safely” to remove these issues.
- Check to make sure the problem is fixed. If it is not, find the Uninstaller tab on the left of the application. Locate any suspect entries, highlight them, then click “Fix Safely”.
- Double-check the Temp and Startup Apps tabs to the left of the screen and remove suspicious files just to be sure. The problem should now be resolved.