Safe Finder is a rogue app for Mac that changes the homepage and/or default search engine of the user’s browser to search.safefinder.com. Safe Finder also causes automatic page-redirects to that site and can collect data from the browser without user permission.
This undesirable app is a typical example of a browser hijacker. The goal of Safe Finder is to earn revenue for its creators through aggressive Pay-Per-Click advertising and Pay-Per-View page-redirects.
The first symptom you are likely to notice if Safe Finder gets added to any of your browsers is the homepage replacement. As mentioned above, once the hijacker gets added to the browser, it will typically change its default homepage and its search engine to search.safefinder.com. Two other possible addresses that this hijacker may use as replacements for your homepage are search.macsafefinder.com and search.safefinderformac.com. All of those sites are basically fake search engines that will reroute you to a Yahoo search page whenever you try to use them to search for something on the Internet. The likely idea behind this is to generate ad and commission revenue by using Yahoo search results. Though the creators of Safe Finder may claim that the search engines they add to the browser are helpful and can make one’s online experience more pleasant and optimized, the truth is that there’s little to no use to any of those search engine pages as they all use Yahoo search to generate their results.
Admittedly, though irritating, the presence of Safe Finder on the computer probably doesn’t sound like a huge deal. After all, if you are getting rerouted to Yahoo, then there’s no harm done, right? Well, truth be told, Safe Finder is not a real virus and it won’t directly harm your Mac. However, the change in the homepage and search engine may not be the only thing that this hijacker does in the browser. It may also make other alterations such as install sketchy extensions in the browser or keep tabs on what you do online and then transfer that information to its creators or to third-parties. On top of that, once the browser changes are introduced, you will not be allowed to revoke them even if you are the computer’s manager. As it turns out, the creators of unwanted software such as Safe Finder have come up with a way to abuse and exploit the built-in enterprise policies that most browsers have. When implemented, those policies allow the administrator of a network to impose rules that can’t be overridden by the admins of the separate computers in that network. While useful under normal circumstances, in the current case this feature is used to restrict the user’s ability to control the settings of their own browser which is why you may see a message that reads “managed by your organization” (or a similar message) when you try to change a setting that has been enforced by Safe Finder. In such cases, the only way to restore control over your browser(s) is to uninstall the hijacker.
Safe Finder cannot be removed from Mac
If Safe Finder cannot be removed from your Mac, you must first delete the files that this hijacker has created in the system. Those files allow it to gain persistence on the computer and without their deletion, you cannot remove Safe Finder from your Mac.
One of the major problems with hijackers like this one is that they can be rather tricky to remove. Though in some cases, users who are lucky may be able to delete a hijacker likely they would remove a regular app, in most instances deleting Safe Finder and other similar software would require you to go through several steps in order to find everything this app has added to your system and remove it before you could finally be sure that the hijacker is gone. One potential obstacle here is not being sure what brought the hijacker into your computer. In most cases, the users have no idea how Safe Finder got installed. This is because apps like it rely on third-party software. With which they get bundled, to distribute them. Once that third-party app is installed, the hijacker component hidden inside it gets added to the system as well and hijacks the user’s browser(s).
If any of your browsers seems to be under the effects of Safe Finder at the moment, we suggest you follow the removal instructions we’ve shared below. If you need extra help, you can also try out the professional malware-removal app that can be found inside the guide – it is a powerful security tool that specializes in finding and deleting browser-affecting malware such as Safe Finder. Also, do not forget about the comments section down below – there you can ask us anything concerning Safe Finder and its removal.
How to remove Safe Finder on Mac
To Remove Safe Finder on Mac, you first have to try to find and delete the rogue app that is responsible for infecting you with this hijacker.
- First, open the Finder app from the menu bar at the top.
- Click on the Applications folder (left panel) and then look for suspicious and unknown applications in that folder.
- If you notice an app that you do not recognize or one that seems unneeded and unwanted, drag said app to the Trash on your Desktop.
- Select the Trash icon with the right-click of the mouse and click on Empty Trash to finish the uninstallation and to remove Safe Finder on Mac.
- Reboot the system to apply the changes and check for any remaining signs of the hijacker’s presence.
Remove Safe Finder from Safari
To remove Safe Finder from Safari, you first need to delete any rogue extensions this hijacker may have added to the browser and then revoke any unwanted changes in the browser’s settings.
- Start the browser, go to Safari from the top, and select Preferences from the drop-down menu.
- Select the Extensions page from Preferences and see if there are any suspicious, unknown, or seemingly unwanted extensions listed there.
- If you notice an extension that shouldn’t be there, click on its Uninstall button to remove Safe Finder from Safari.
- Reboot the computer and go to Safari’s extensions page again to check if the deleted extension(s) is still gone.
- If the extension has returned in the browser, complete the remainder of this guide and then repeat the previous four steps.
Even if the extension that Safe Finder put inside the browser has been successfully deleted, you must still make sure that the rest of the browser is cleaned and that any other changes that the hijacker may have made in the browser are revoked so here’s what you should do:
- For starters, go to Privacy from the Preferences bar.
- Click on the Remove All Website Data and then on Remove Now to perform the command. This command will delete all site cookies and cached data so that the browser doesn’t keep any information related to Safe Finder.
- Next, go to Preferences > General and change back the replaced homepage URL. The current address written in the homepage address field will probably be search.safefinder.com or a similar address – this must be deleted and on its place, you must type the address of a legitimate and reputable site.
- Finally, click on History from the menu bar, and select Clear History from the drop-down menu. In the dialog box that pops-up, select the All History setting and then click on the Clear History button to complete the action.
Remove Safe Finder from Chrome
To remove Safe Finder from Chrome, you should first check the browser’s extensions and delete anything unwanted and then refresh the rest of Chrome’s settings.
- Open the browser and type ://settings/ in its URL bar/omnibar.
- Go to Extensions and look for suspicious items that may have been installed in the browser by Safe Finder.
- Disable the suspected extensions and then uninstall them to remove Safe Finder from Chrome.
- Now go back to the Settings page and select Appearance from the left.
- Look at the new-tab page address – if it is search.safefinder.com or something similar, delete it and replace it with another address from a trusted site.
- Next, select the Search Engine option from the left, expand the Manage search engines settings and look for sketchy search engines listed there. If you see anything that may be related to Safe Finder or anything unfamiliar there, block it by clicking on the three-dots next to it and then on the Remove from list button.
- Finally, go to the Privacy and Security settings, select Clear browsing data, check everything except passwords, and click on Clear data to execute the command.
How to get rid of Safe Finder
To get rid of Safe Finder, you may also have to quit the Safe Finder process from the Activity Monitor.
- Go to Finder from the menu bar again, open Applications, and then go the Utilities folder.
- Start the Activity Monitor app and look for a process named Safe Finder.
- If there isn’t a process with that name, look for another suspicious-looking process with high RAM, CPU, or battery life usage.
- Click on the suspicious process, and then select the X button from the top-left to quit that process and get rid of Safe Finder.
Here are several tips on how you may be able to determine which of the processes in the Activity Monitor might be related to Safe Finder (in case you don’t see a process named Safe Finder):
- As we mentioned, unusually high system resource usage is a potential red flag that a given process might be unwanted, especially if that process has an odd and unfamiliar name.
- It is highly advisable that you always look up the name of the process(es) you deem potentially unwanted – this would usually help you determine their true nature and figure out if you should really quit them.
- Another way to test the process you suspect is to scan a sample of it for malware code. To do this, select the process, go to Information (“i”) from the top, and then go to Sample.
Click on Save and choose an easy-to-reach location and save the sample file there. Then bring that file to the advanced free malware scanner below:
Each file will be scanned with up to 64 antivirus programs to ensure maximum accuracyThis scanner is free and will always remain free for our website's users.This file is not matched with any known malware in the database. You can either do a full real-time scan of the file or skip it to upload a new file. Doing a full scan with 64 antivirus programs can take up to 3-4 minutes per file.Drag and Drop File Here To ScanAnalyzing 0 s
Once the scan is over, you will know if there’s any malware in the sample file. Note, however, that if your online research gave you enough reason to believe the suspected process is linked to Safe Finder, you should quit that process even if scanning its sample file didn’t reveal the presence of malicious code in that file.
After you have taken care of the hijacker process, you should also delete any files that this unwanted software may have added to your Mac. There are several common locations where such files can typically be found so this shouldn’t’ be too difficult. One important thing we ought to mention, though, is that it is best to consult us through the comments section in case you are unsure about whether a particular file needs to be deleted since it is possible that you end up removing some legitimate macOS file that you weren’t supposed to touch.
- The first thing you have to do is press Command + Shift + G from the keyboard to open the Go window.
- Now copy-paste the following folder location in the search field and select Go: /Library/LaunchAgents.
- Check for recently added files that seem suspicious and have appeared around the time Safe Finder got installed. If you suspect a given file, test it with the free scanner we showed you above – this applies to all of the following steps that include finding and deleting suspicious files.
- If any of the files you scanned are flagged as potential threats, delete those files by dragging them to the Trash. Also, delete any of the following files if you find them in that folder:
- Open the Go window again and now copy-paste the next folder location and click on Go: ~/Library/Application Support.
- In this folder, look for suspicious folders instead of files that have been added right after the hijacker appeared in your system. Here are some of the names of hijacker-related folders that you may find in the Application Support folder:
If you see any of these folders or any other suspicious folders, delete them.
- The next folder you must visit is ~/Library/LaunchAgents. In it, you must look for the same files like in Step 4 and delete any of them that you may find.
- /Library/LaunchDaemons is the next folder you must go to so visit it and look for questionable recently added files and delete anything you may find. Some hijacker files you may find here are:
- plist, com.startup.plist
- Next, open Finder, go to the Applications folder and search it for questionable apps that have been installed just before the hijacker took over your browser. If you find an app that looks suspicious and possibly related to Safe Finder, uninstall it. Obviously, if there’s an app called Safe Finder in that folder, you should delete it as well.
- Now select the Apple logo icon from the to-left and go to System Preferences > Users & Groups > Login Items. There, you will see what items are automatically launched when your Mac starts – if any of those items look related to Safe Finder, click on them and then select the minus (-) button to remove them from the list.
- From System Preferences, go to Profiles and if there are any other profiles there aside from the ones you’ve created on your Mac, you should remove them by selecting them and clicking on the minus button. Examples of rogue profiles created by the hijacker that you may find in there are:
- Safari Settings
- Chrome Settings
- Main Search Platform
- Finally, remember that the comments section below is always open for our readers, and in case you face any difficulty completing the guide and/or removing Safe Finder, you are welcome to hit us up and tell us about the problem you are facing.