Mac Virus

Formal Search Mac

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Formal Search

Formal search is a rogue search engine that hijacks users’ searched for monetary compensation. Formal search is typically installed with other malware.

formal search

Formal Search

A browser hijacker is a software tool used for the promotion of different products, sites, pages, Internet stores, software programs and apps, services, and others. To operate, a hijacker needs a browser host, and most hijackers are compatible with popular browsing programs the likes of Firefox, Safari, Chrome, and Edge. However, it is not excluded that you may get a hijacker installed inside another browsing program. The majority of browser hijackers are multi-compatible, and do not discriminate between the different browsers users may have on their machines.

Formal Search targets Mac

The Formal Search web page primarily targets mac users on the safari and chrome native browsers. We advise Mac users to avoid downloading anything they cannot personally verify as a safe download.

 Once such an app gets added to a given browser, it is likely to make some changes in that browser’s settings. The aspects of the browser that are most likely to get affected are the homepage, the toolbar, and the search engine that the browser uses as its default. A service that automatically page-redirects the user under certain circumstances or between certain time periods may also be added to the browser. All of this is aimed at making the hijacker more effective with the execution of its main task – promotion. In many cases, the homepage and/or the search engine that get added to the browser are the main things that the hijacker is supposed to advertise. In other cases, however, those are either helper elements that would redirect the user to other sites, or a type of cover for the real purpose of the invasive app. For example, the new search engine that gets added to your browser may seem useful, but at the same time, the app responsible for its addition to your browser may carry out other activities, which may actually decrease the quality of your online experience.

Is Formal Search a virus?

While not technically a virus, Formal Search is a malware, making it practically indistinguishable from a virus for everyday users. The proper denomination for Formal Search is a browser hijacker.

Formal Search is one of the numerous representatives of this software group, and this article is mainly targeted at users who currently have it in their machines. Our goal is to help those users remove the invasive software piece and restore their browser to its normal and stable. To do that, we have created a guide with manual instructions in it, as well as a linked professional and tested removal tool, which can allow our readers to uninstall the Formal Search hijacker. Before you try out the guide and the tool, however, stay with us a little more in order to learn what the dangers related to the hijacker category are.

Delete the Formalsearch App

Formalsearch drops an App on user’s desktops aside from hijacking all incoming searches. We advise you to delete the Formalsearch App before proceeding with the removal instructions below.

In and of itself, a hijacker app like Formal Search is not a very harmful piece of software. Its advertising activities may slow down your browser and computer, but that’s about it in most cases. Formal Search, and other hijackers, are certainly different from viruses, Trojans, Spyware, Ransomware, and other similar threats, when it comes to how harmful they can be. However, if you aren’t careful with all those random ads, redirects, and clickbait pop-ups that a hijacker may place on your screen, you may risk landing on some malicious phishing page, or may be on a site that is used to spread viruses and malware. If this happens, you may indeed get your system infected by some nasty Ransomware cryptovirus or Trojan Horse. This is why it is always better to not allow an app like Formal Search to freely operate in your system and browser.


Name Formal Search
Type  Browser Hijacker
Danger Level Medium (nowhere near threats like Ransomware, but still a security risk)
Symptoms  Hijackers normally reveal themselves by replacing the browser’s starting page or search engine.
Distribution Method Misleading ads, clickbait download buttons, software, bundles, spam, and more.
Detection Tool

Remove Formal Search


We get asked this a lot, so we are putting it here: Removing parasite manually may take hours and damage your system in the process. We recommend downloading ComboCleaner to see if it can detect parasite files for you.

The first thing you need to do is to Quit Safari (if it is opened). If you have trouble closing it normally, you may need to Force Quit Safari:

You can choose the Apple menu and click on Force Quit.

Alternatively you can simultaneously press (the Command key situated next to the space bar), Option (the key right next to it) and Escape (the key located at the upper left corner of your keyboard).

If you have done it right a dialog box titled Force Quit Applications will open up.

In this new dialog window select Safari, then press the Force Quit button, then confirm with Force Quit again.

Close the dialog box/window.



To remove parasite on your own, you may have to meddle with system files and registries. If you were to do this, you need to be extremely careful, because you may damage your system.

If you want to avoid the risk, we recommend downloading ComboCleaner
a professional malware removal tool.

More information on ComboCleaner, steps to uninstallEULA, and Privacy Policy.

Start Activity Monitor by opening up Finder, then proceed to activity-monitor

Once there, look at all the processes: if you believe any of them are hijacking your results, or are part of the problem, highlight the process with your mouse, then click the “i” button at the top. This will open up the following box:


Now click on Sample at the bottom:


Do this for all processes you believe are part of the threat, and run any suspicious files in our online virus scanner, then delete the malicious files:

Drag and Drop Files Here to Scan
Maximum file size: 128MB.

This scanner is free and will always remain free for our website's users. You can find its full-page version at:

Scan Results

Virus Scanner Result


The next step is to safely launch Safari again. Press and hold the Shift key while relaunching Safari. This will prevent Safari’s previously opened pages from loading again. Once Safari is opened up, you can release the Shift key.

On the off chance that you are still having trouble with scripts interrupting the closing of unwanted pages in Safari, you may need to take some additional measures.

First, Force Quit Safari again.

Now if you are using a Wi-Fi connection turn it off by selecting Wi-Fi off in you Mac’s Menu. If you are using a cable internet (Ethernet connection), disconnect the Ethernet cable.


Re-Launch Safari but don’t forget to press and hold the Shift button while doing it, so no previous pages can be opened up. Now, Click on Preferences in the Safari menu,

Preferences in Safari

and then again on the Extensions tab,

extensions in safari

Select and Uninstall any extensions that you don’t recognize by clicking on the Uninstall button. If you are not sure and don’t want to take any risks you can safely uninstall all extensions, none are required for normal system operation.

The threat has likely infected all of your browsers. The instructions below need to be applied for all browsers you are using.

Again select Preferences in the Safari Menu, but this time click on the Privacy tab,
Privacy in Safari

Now click on Remove All Website Data, confirm with Remove Now. Keep in mind that after you do this all stored website data will be deleted. You will need to sign-in again for all websites that require any form of authentication.

Still in the Preferences menu, hit the General tab

General Tab in Safari

Check if your Homepage is the one you have selected, if not change it to whatever you prefer.
Default Home Page

Select the History menu this time, and click on Clear History. This way you will prevent accidentally opening a problematic web page again.

firefox-512 How to Remove Formal Search From Firefox in OSX:

Open Firefoxclick on mozilla menu (top right) ——-> Add-onsHit Extensions next.

pic 6

The problem should be lurking somewhere around here –  Remove it. Then Refresh Your Firefox Settings.

chrome-logo-transparent-backgroundHow to Remove Formal Search From Chrome in OSX:

 Start Chrome, click chrome menu icon —–>More Tools —–> Extensions. There,  find the malware and  select  chrome-trash-icon.

pic 8

 Click chrome menu icon again, and proceed to Settings —> Search, the fourth tab, select Manage Search Engines.  Delete everything but the search engines you normally use. After that Reset Your Chrome Settings.

If the guide doesn’t help, download the anti-virus program we recommended or try our free online virus scanner. Also, you can always ask us in the comments for help!

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