How to get rid of Safari virus
Even the macOS is vulnerable to browser hijackers, adware, and other malware these days. If you consider intrusive pop-ups or strange extensions showing up in your Safari browser, you’re almost certainly dealing with the Safari virus.
Although this virus is not so harmful to your computer as a Trojan, it still brings potential security risks. That’s the bad news. The good news is that you can remove the virus from Safari manually and with a cleaner tool like CleanMyMac X.
In this article, we’ll show you what Safari virus is, how to remove it for good, and protect your Mac from future threats.
What is a Safari virus?
Safari virus on Mac is a browser hijacker that targets the same-name browser. This type of malware is called to generate web traffic and collect sales leads for suspicious websites.
How to find out that your Safari has a virus? Here are the main symptoms:
- Ads show up more often than it should be, usually in unexpected places
- Pop-ups and banners that advertise fake updates or software regularly arise
- Your homepage redirects to a website different from what you expect
- The link you click in search results redirects to dubious or possibly malicious websites
- Unwanted extensions appearing in your browser
- Your computer performance decreases.
This virus can also ask you to update Adobe Flash Player or download any other program that would help you fix the problem. But such warnings don’t always mean that you have issues with the browser in the first place.
If you notice any of these signs, your Mac is likely to be infected with the Safari virus. Watch out for it as this malware can turn your web-browsing experience into a nightmare.
A virus or an extension?
Safari viruses often pose as extensions. In 2021, a security writer and researcher Patrick Wardle reported a “come-back” of a dangerous extension GoSearch 22 that previously went under the name of Pirrit Mac adware. Now it has been revamped in order to target the new Apple-Silicon Macs.
Potential risks of Mac Safari virus
As a browser hijacker, Safari pop-up virus is categorized as a potentially unwanted app (PUA). Once the malicious program attacks your Mac, it starts modifying browser settings. For instance, it changes the default search engine and homepage, without even asking for your permission.
The main hazards of having this virus are web tracking and data leak. Safari virus scam is all about collecting personal details (IP address, geolocation, search queries, etc.) and sharing them with third parties. This may cause serious problems related to privacy and data security.
How did the Safari virus get on Mac?
Generally, users install the Safari virus on their Mac by mistake. The primary sources of this PUA are:
- deceptive pop-up ads that, once clicked, execute scripts developed to download the virus
- fake flash player installers
- torrent file downloads
- freeware installers (bundling)
How to get rid of the Safari virus on Mac
There are several steps on how to get rid of the Safari virus.
Step 1. Remove malicious apps from Mac manually
- Go to the Applications folder and find any suspicious software. It may disguise as a legit app, so search for anything you don’t remember downloading or the last program you downloaded before noticed the virus.
- Once you detect the malware, drag it to Trash and empty it.
- Choose Go > Go to Folder in the Finder.
- Go to the folders listed below and delete any files related to the browser hijacker:
Step 2. Delete unrecognized extensions
- Go to the Safari menu on the menu bar and choose Preferences.
- Click on the Extensions tab.
- Look for any extensions that shouldn’t be there. If you find anything, select it and hit the Uninstall button to remove it.
Step 3. Check homepage and search engine settings
- Go to the General tab, enter the preferred website in the Homepage field and click the Set to Current Page button.
- In the same way, go to the Search tab and choose the search engine you like the most.
Step 4. Get rid of every trace of malware
Initiate a Safari virus scan to be on the safe side and make sure that no harmful elements are left on your Mac. For this purpose, I prefer to use CleanMyMac X as it can detect Mac-related threats in no time and prevent them from obtaining user data. It makes a folder-by-folder scan to block any suspicious activity so that no malware will go unnoticed.
Here is how to remove a virus from Safari with CleanMyMac X:
- Download the free version of CleanMyMac X and launch it.
- Select the Malware Removal module on the left-side panel.
- Push the Scan button.
- If the tool detects any malware on your Mac, it’ll give you the all-clean.
- If it finds anything, press Remove.
What I like the most about CleanMyMac X is that it can scan my computer in the background and immediately inform me when it finds something harmful.
A non-privileged user account: The simplest way to keep viruses out
This tip gets rarely mentioned nevertheless it's probably the single most effective way to combat computer viruses. The advice is to use a non-administrative account on your Mac.
Thing is, most viruses are designed to hijack the admin privileges so they can do whatever operations they want. But if your account is not an admin on this Mac, the harmful activity is reduced to minimum.
Go to System Preferences and choose Users & Groups.
There, create a Standard user account and use that one
How to protect your Mac from Safari Virus
To avoid getting the Safari “Warning! Virus detected” sign, pay attention to websites you visit, files you download, and apps you install. Avoid using third-party software downloaders and installers as they usually include PUA. Never ignore the warnings if the Safari browser alerts you that a website is not secure.
Still, it’s always better to prevent the problem then trying to deal with it. Regular malware checks will help you repel any attack. That’s why I use real-time malware monitor from CleanMyMac X. This feature is created to automatically eliminate all kinds of threats, even without running a malware scan. Let it monitor your Mac to keep it clean of malware and protected.