Here's how to remove VSearch adware from your Mac

What is VSearch?

Adware is a type of virus that hijacks browsers and other software applications that need an internet connection to function. Unlike adverts that you encounter online or within apps, you, as the user of that product, are not given the choice of whether you want even more adverts shown to you. Often they are hidden and may also contain other threats and viruses that can cause more serious damage to your Mac.

VSearch is a part of this family of viruses, also known as OSX/VSearch-A, OSX/VSearch-B, OSX/VSearch-C, OSX/VSearch-D, and Pirrit. It first appeared in 2014 on macOS (OS X at the time), although it is believed to have been around for several years before then.

VSearch can take over web browsers fairly easily. Whether you accidentally download something from a malicious email attachment or it sneaks in via a software download, it hides within browser plug-ins/attachments. Adware, such as VSearch, is known for being placed in legitimate and illegal software downloads, so even if you are careful online, your browsers and Mac can still fall victim to this malware.

What problems can VSearch cause?

Similar to other adware viruses, it creates a backdoor to your Mac that serves adverts from unknown servers — they often change to avoid detection. Adverts are then served to an infected Mac in a number of ways: in this case, creating text links within words on websites or delivering unexpected pop-ups — ones not controlled by a legitimate advertising network.

To make people think these adverts are perfectly normal, adware attempts to make these seem legitimate. Hovering over words on a website with an obvious link may produce more information that might seem worth clicking on. Avoid doing that whenever you can. Clicking on anything that looks remotely unusual could easily cause new, more dangerous viruses to infect your Mac.

How to remove VSearch

Keeping yourself safe from this and other viruses means removing them. There are two ways to do that: manually or using software like CleanMyMac X.

Smart scan

Here is how you manually delete VSearch from Safari, Firefox, and Chrome (it should show up as VSearch or something you don’t recognize and don’t remember installing):

#1: Uninstall VSearch from Safari

  1. Go to Safari > Preferences/Settings.
  2. Click on Extensions.
  3. Pick the extension that you don’t recognize to delete.
  4. Click Uninstall.
  5. Confirm that you want to Uninstall the extension.

#2: Remove VSearch 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 VSearch from Firefox

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

#4: Remove files in your system

Once you’ve done that, you need to search your systems for VSearch, which can be hiding in a whole host of locations. Security experts recommend searching in the following places for application folders relating to this adware:

  • /Library/Application Support/ VSearch
  • /Library/LaunchAgents/com.vsearch.agent.plist
  • /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.vsearch.daemon.plist
  • /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.vsearch.helper.plist
  • /Library/LaunchDaemons/Jack.plist
  • /Library/PrivilegedHelperTools/Jack
  • /System/Library/Frameworks/VSearch.framework

These may not be the only hiding places of this adware, but these are certainly good places to look. If you find anything suspicious, take it to the Trash and empty it. Of course, you should always be careful when doing this. Don’t put anything that you may need later in the Trash.

Is there a safer, quicker way to remove VSearch?

Yes, using an app like CleanMyMac X.

CleanMyMac X is an invaluable tool for improving the overall performance of your Mac. It eliminates junk and malware as well as boosts system performance. 

To remove an adware virus this way, all you need to do is:

  1. Download CleanMyMac X (a free trial version is available).
  2. Open the app.
  3. Choose Malware Removal.
  4. Click Scan to search for infections.
  5. Click Remove to approve the deletion.
Malware scan in process

VSearch is not the worst thing out there, but it is definitely best avoided. Once your browsers have one infection, others soon follow. We know how clever cybercriminals are at convincing people that a download is legitimate. So, if in doubt, scan your Mac and remove any infections and anything else that you don’t want or need anymore.