What you need to know about the Mac Search Pulse virus

What is Search Pulse?

Search Pulse - also known as search.searchpulse.net or home.searchpulse.net - is a browser hijacker, designed to take over whichever browser you are using. It is capable of taking over any, including Safari, Firefox and Chrome. Unusually for browser hijackers, this is created in the Microsoft .NET coding language, and with a .net URL it attempts to appear legitimate.

In a further attempt to appear genuine, Search Pulse tries to look similar to other search engines, such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. In reality, this browser hijacker is collecting user data and injecting adverts and pop-ups into your web browsing experience that can cause a significant nuisance.

What sort of threat is Search Pulse?

Some adware viruses don't go so far as to include a browser hijacker component. Many are satisfied with injecting popups, special offers, vouchers, “try this software” deals and other forms of advertising. Whereas Search Pulse directs search queries through search.searchpulse.net and then onto search.yahoo.com, a legitimate search engine (Yahoo).

Now Yahoo is of course no threat to anyone. Yahoo is a genuine search engine with its own advertising network. But when someone enters a search term in Search Pulse, that data is recorded and sent to the creators, and with it being a browser hijacker, you’ve got no way to reconfigure this unless you reset your browser and remove this unwanted extension.

Until removed, Search Pulse collected IP addresses, system information and whenever possible, any unencrypted passwords and passwords sent over an insecure network connection.

Alongside those associated risks, Search Pulse will input the following into your web browser:

  • Unexpected adverts injected into web pages, wherever you are online;
  • Text - keywords - in web pages turned into links, generating unexpected popups, opening new pages, or adverts that are created within the page from those links;
  • Recommendations appearing for fake - and often dangerous software - appearing unexpectedly;
  • Banner adverts and other ads appearing when you are online, even redirecting you after you've filled in a web form or entered a password.

All of this is designed to generate the creators of this adware pay-per-click advertising revenue, while causing as much annoyance as possible for anyone who's got this or a similar program infecting one or more web browser. It also acts as an unsafe backdoor into your Mac, presenting an ongoing security risk. The best thing you can do for your Mac is remove this virus as soon as possible.


How to remove Search Pulse

To do this manually, start in the browser that has been infected. Then look at the other browsers you have, to make sure they're clear of the infection too.

#1: Delete Search Pulse from Safari

  1. Go to Safari > Preferences
  2. Click on Extensions
  3. Pick the Extension that you don't recognise to delete
  4. Click Uninstall
  5. Confirm that you want to Uninstall the extension

#2: Delete Search Pulse from Chrome

  1. Open Chrome
  2. Go to the Menu in your browser
  3. Click on More Tools > Extensions
  4. Pick the Extension that you don't recognize to delete
  5. Click Remove
  6. Confirm that you want to Remove the extension

#3: Delete Search Pulse from Firefox

  1. Open Firefox
  2. Go to the Menu in your browser
  3. Click on the Add-ons manager tab
  4. Select the Extension you want to remove
  5. Click Remove
  6. Confirm that you want to delete it

Once you’ve removed the extension, make sure your Home page and search engine preferences are restored to your previous default options.

Next, make sure you've removed it from the files that the application is living in.

#4: Remove SearchPulse from system files

In order to remove it, you need to check in the following locations:

  • /Library/Application Support/
  • /Library/LaunchAgents/
  • /Library/LaunchDaemons/
  • /Library/LaunchDaemons/
  • /Library/LaunchDaemons/
  • /Library/PrivilegedHelperTools/
  • /System/Library/Frameworks/

Whenever removing viruses manually is a necessity, always take care to avoid putting anything in the trash that you need to run legitimate software programs. Be careful what you delete.

Another way to remove Search Pulse is with CleanMyMac X. It is a safer, quicker and guaranteed way to clear out the infection.

Remove Search Pulse easily with CleanMyMac X

CleanMyMac X is a popular app for clearing out loads of junk and malware, speeding up the system, and monitoring your Mac's health. It has a Malware Removal tool that detects thousands of threats, including adware, spyware, viruses, and miners, and allows to remove them in a click of a button. 

Follow these steps to clear Search Pulse out of your macOS and browsers:

  1. Download CleanMyMac X.
  2. Click on Malware Removal
  3. Click Scan.
  4. Click Remove.

After that, your Mac will be operating at peak performance again. As good as new, without any browser hijackers, unwanted adware or any other viruses you may not have known about.

Stay safe!

CleanMyMac X
CleanMyMac X

Your Mac. As good as new.