How to Remove Safe Finder Virus on Mac?

Since you’re here, your internet browser’s default landing page has likely changed to Safe Finder, and your search queries are being redirected through search.safefinder.com or a similar unwanted site. Super annoying, right?

It’s a pretty common issue that happens when you unknowingly install a browser hijacker on your Mac through an extension. And the worst part is you can’t just remove it like a regular extension while it keeps messing with your browsing.

Thankfully, though, there are some handy workarounds. Like, you can block suspicious processes in Activity Monitor, delete any associated malware files manually, or use third-party antivirus software to make sure it’s totally gone from your system.

Curious to learn how to remove Safe Finder virus on Mac using these methods? Then, keep reading for the step-by-step instructions to get your browsing back to normal working order.

At a Glance:

What is the Safe Finder virus?A browser hijacker/adware that changes browser settings, redirects searches, tracks activity, and collects personal info without permission.
Signs of infectionChanged default search/homepage, unwanted redirects, excessive ads, and slow performance.
How to remove itForce quit suspicious processes, uninstall apps, manually delete files from Library folders, remove unknown login items, and use Malwarebytes scan.
Additional tipsCreate a new user profile, roll back with Time Machine backups, and uninstall/reinstall browsers.
Prevent future infectionsKeep software updated, only download from trusted sources, read app permission requests, back up the system regularly, use a firewall, and beware of phishing links.

What Is the Safe Finder Virus on Mac?

Safe Finder isn’t actually a virus like we usually think of, but it’s dubbed so due to its invasive behavior. It’s technically an ‘adware’ or ‘spyware,’ a browser hijacker that primarily targets macOS users.

Typically, it gets onto your computer in sneaky ways, like being bundled with other programs you download without knowing or pretending to be updates for Adobe Flash or Java.

And once it’s installed, it can mess with your browser settings without asking. For example, it might change your homepage or search engine, or keep redirecting you to ads as you browse.

But an even bigger issue is how it tracks everything you do online and collects your personal info. And who knows what it does with all that sensitive data – probably shares it with other companies, which is a massive threat to your privacy.

Signs of Safe Finder Adware Infection on Mac

If your Mac is infected with Safe Finder, you may notice the following signs:

  • Your default search engine has got changed to Safe Finder.
  • Your homepage and new tab page have been replaced with Safe Finder.
  • Unwanted browser redirects to unfamiliar websites, like search.safefinder.com.
  • Excessive display of pop-up ads and banners.
  • Slow browsing speed and overall system performance.

How to Remove Safe Finder Virus on Mac?

While Safe Finder remains on your system as an unwelcome extension, you cannot simply disable or remove it from your browser settings like the regulars. After all, the extension name never appears in plain sight as the rest.

However, you should still try to locate it from your browser’s extension page by looking for something that seems unfamiliar or you can’t remember installing it.

But whether you can remove it from there or not, getting rid of it completely will need a little more digging. Here’s how you can do that:

Step 1: Force Quit Suspicious Background Processes

Let’s start with shutting down any background processes that the Safe Finder hijacker might be using. To do this, you’ll want to open Activity Monitor, which you can find by going to Finder > Applications > Utilities, or by using Spotlight Search.

open Activity Monitor

Once you have Activity Monitor open, look through the list for any unfamiliar or suspicious-looking processes that may be related to the hijacker. If you spot any, select each one and click the X button at the top of the window, then choose “Force Quit” to stop the process.

choose Force Quit to stop the process

Be careful though – only force quit things that look fishy or you’re certain are from Safe Finder. If you’re not sure, do a quick search online to verify before ending the process.

Step 2: Uninstall Suspicious Applications

Open up your Applications folder in Finder and scan through for anything you don’t remember downloading or looks fishy. If you find some suspicious stuff, right-click on “Move to Trash” – that dumps them in the garbage can. And don’t forget to fully remove them by emptying your trash afterward.

Uninstall Suspicious Applications

Also, even though you already tried removing it from the Safari browser, you might want to consider deleting it from Safari’s logbook as well. Just look for the Safe Finder extension or items related to it in that logbook folder and delete it right away.

To do this, open Finder, and then go ahead and click on “Go” in the menu bar followed by “Go to Folder.” Then, type in ‘~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.Safari.plist’ and delete the extension file if it’s there.

Step 3: Manually Delete Remaining Adware Files

Despite the steps you took above, simply uninstalling and removing the history logs don’t quite always cut it as adware can leave files that hang around. To really make sure you’ve cleaned the house, you’ll need to go digging for any leftover files related to Safe Finder.

So, open Finder again, choose Go >> Go to Folder, and check some common hideout spots for any traces of Safe Finder and delete them altogether.

Manually Delete Remaining Adware Files

Looking at dozens of Apple Community discussions and Reddit threads, like this one here, it appears these pesky files can be found in the following locations:

  • ~/Library/ApplicationSupport
  • ~/Library/Frameworks
  • ~/Library/Webkit
  • ~/Library/LaunchAgents
  • ~/Library/Caches
  • ~/Library/Preferences
  • ~/Library/LaunchDaemons
  • ~/Library/containers
  • ~/Library/Logs

Carefully scan each folder looking for anything with “Safe Finder”, “searchprotect”, or “Conduit” in the name. You may also find things like com.pplauncher.plist, com.avickUpd.plist, com.startup.plist, or something otherwise unfamiliar.

And if not sure, do a quick search online to see if it’s malware-related before deleting it.

Step 4: Remove Unknown Login Items

Often, adware tries to sneak itself into your startup items, which can cause your Mac to slow down and those annoying redirects to happen as soon as you log in. To stop this, go to System Preferences > Users & Groups.

Users & Group option

Click your username on the left, then hit the ‘Login Items’ tab. Now, look out for any unusual or unknown applications listed there. If you find something that doesn’t belong, click on the ‘-‘ button to remove it from your list of login items.

Click your username on the left, then hit the ‘Login Items’ tab

Step 5: Run a Malware Scan with a Third-Party Software

Even after our careful manual sweep, sneaky adware can still lurk hidden. So, as the last step, consider downloading and running a scan using a reputable malware removal tool tailored for Mac.

We came across this helpful Reddit thread where someone shared their experience talking to an Apple representative guy who recommended using Malwarebytes for your last line of defense.

So, just go ahead and download the free Malwarebytes software and run a system scan to track down any leftovers you may have missed. The program will scour your system thoroughly, but you should still double-check those folders one last time.

Run a Malware Scan with a Third-Party Software

Malwarebytes should find and remove anything dangerous it discovers. You just need to follow the on-screen prompts and let it do its job.

Step 6: Reset the Browser Settings

With the pesky adware now gone from your computer, it’s time to reset your browsers to their default settings. Since the Safe Finder adware alters the browser settings, resetting them is crucial to ensure there’s no residual impact.

So, on your Safari browser:

  • Go to Safari > Preferences and click “Advanced.”
Go to Safari Preferences and click Advanced
  • Check the box to “Show Develop menu.”
Check the box to Show Develop menu
  • Then click “Develop” and select “Empty Caches” to flush anything stored.
click Develop and select Empty Caches
  • After that, go back to “Safari” and choose “Clear History and Website Data” to wipe it clean.
choose Clear History and Website Data to wipe it clean

Now you’re free to manually set your favorite homepage and search engine how you want within Safari preferences.

More Ideas to Try

While the preceding steps usually handle the issue effectively, there are other things you could try to get  rid of the hijacker:

  • Create a new Mac profile – Sometimes these extensions can attach themselves to certain user settings, and creating a fresh user profile on your Mac can give you a clean slate.
  • Roll back the saved state with TimeMachine – You can use TimeMachine backups to roll back to a point before the adware infection occurred. This can be incredibly effective as it restores your system to a time when Safe Finder was not installed.
  • Uninstall and reinstall the browsers – If you’ve got other browsers, like Chrome or Firefox, installed on your Mac aside from Safari, you might want to uninstall and reinstall them with new profiles as well.

How to Prevent Future Adware Infections?

It’s always good to stay one step ahead of any nasty bugs that might try creeping into your computer. Making protection a priority now means fewer headaches later. Here are a few simple things you can do:

  • Keep your software up to date – Installing updates regularly for your MacOS and programs like your browser closes security holes before hackers can take advantage.
  • Watch where you download from – Only get apps from reputable places like the App Store or directly from developers you trust.
  • Pay attention to permissions – Always read what access an app is asking for carefully before allowing it. If a program needs more than it should, that’s a red flag to reconsider installing it.
  • Regularly back up your system – Take your time to set up the TimeMachine for backups and run it often. That way if something slips past your defenses, you’ve got a clean version of your system to restore.
  • Activate your firewall – Turning on your Mac’s built-in firewall blocks unauthorized access that could let viruses sneak in.
  • Be wary of phishing attempts – Don’t get tricked by phishing scams. Don’t open weird email attachments or click links from people you don’t know.
  • Stay informed – Keep an ear to the ground on the latest threats out there so you recognize them before they recognize you.

If you’re dealing with the frustration of Safe Finder or similar browser hijackers on your Mac, take a look at our simple guide on “Get Rid of Browser Hijackers on Mac.” to safeguard your browsing experience and keep your Mac secure.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have more questions regarding the Safe Finder virus on Mac? Here, we’ve answered a few commonly asked questions that might help.

How to remove Safe Finder on Chrome?

Removing Safe Finder from Chrome is pretty straightforward compared to getting it out of Safari. Just go into your Chrome settings, take it off the extensions page, then click ‘Advanced.’ From there, select ‘Reset and Clean up’ and choose the option to go back to the default settings.

Is the Safe Finder virus dangerous for Mac?

While Safe Finder itself probably won’t outright damage your Mac, it’s still pretty bad. It changes your browser settings without asking, redirects your searches to rack up ad views, and could potentially expose you to other spammed stuff. Besides, there’s that privacy threat we discussed earlier.

I’ve followed all the steps, but the adware is still there. What should I do next?

If you went through the steps and Safe Finder is stubbornly hanging on, try doing it all again in Safe Mode. That prevents any unnecessary programs or plugins from launching so it’s easier to delete adware. To get into Safe Mode, just restart your Mac and keep holding the Shift key down until the Apple logo shows up.

Wrapping It Up

So, that’s that. Now that you know how to remove Safe Finder virus on Mac, you’ll hopefully feel more at ease and in control of your computer’s security.

Remember, the key to keeping your Mac clean is vigilance and timely action. If you suspect something fishy, don’t ignore it—take the steps we’ve outlined as soon as possible.

Practice safe browsing habits, keep your software updated, and don’t hesitate to use trusty tools like Malwarebytes to help keep your system clean. Stay safe out there.

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