Phase Search is a type of junkware that targets Mac computers with the goal to infiltrate their browsers and fill them with ads and page-redirects. Phase Search doesn’t give the user an option to stop the flow of ads or to cease the page-redirects.
If a browser hijacker has compromised you, there is no chance this will go unnoticed. The changes this software can impose on your web browser are what give it away. Usually, they involve the installation of a new default search engine, a new homepage or new new-tab page. Also, unauthorized page-redirect activity may start to take place in the browser without your authorization. Almost all popular browsers can get hijacked by a browser hijacker so it doesn’t really matter if you are using Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Opera, or another browser.
Phase Search on Mac
Phase Search for Mac is a form of malware that can infect any Mac browser and force it to redirect your online traffic and searches to different unknown pages and sites. Phase Search for Mac doesn’t damage the computer but it might make it vulnerable.
The purpose of this article is to clarify what this type of software does and, more importantly, how to remove the unwanted changes it makes. So, once you’ve finished reading the information presented here, please, head down to the removal guide below and follow its instructions. With its help, you will quickly be able to locate and uninstall Phase Search from your computer, which will also remove all the unwelcome modifications that have been imposed on your browser.
What is Phase Search?
Phase Search is a page-redirecting browser hijacker that infects Mac browsers and forces them to land the user on sites that the hijacker is supposed to advertise. Apps like Phase Search are considered as unwanted and their presence in the system may jeopardize its safety.
The browser hijackers are pieces of software that have one primary purpose – to generate income for their developers by actively advertising various websites, products, and services on the users’ screen. Every click on the displayed web addresses, ads, banners, and pop-ups will typically generate a small profit for the developers while, at the same time, it will draw traffic to the advertised items.
In order to get more clicks and, respectively, more income, programs like Phase Search typically employ some rather aggressive online advertising tactics. They typically take over the web browser by installing some components that automatically deliver sponsored commercial content during the regular web browsing sessions. For instance, they replace the default search engine with a new one that generates pay-per-click or pay-per-view search results. Or, they change the main homepage to a website that generates revenue every time it gets visited. Also, most browser hijackers can keep track of the users’ web browsing history, their search queries, and even the content they show interest in while spending time on social media and other similar platforms.
The PhaseSearch App
The PhaseSearch app is an ad-displaying browser hijacker known for its ability to tamper with the settings of the browser without asking for permission from the Admin. The PhaseSearch app will display intrusive ads and redirect your searches which may expose your system to harm.
The combination of all of the methods above allows these programs to determine exactly which of its advertisements are more likely to attract the users’ attention and get more clicks. Afterwards, they will try to display more ads of this kind and redirect the users’ searches to similar pages.
Fortunately, programs such as Phase Search have no features that will directly harm your computer and they won’t attempt to damage your files the way Ransomware does or steal sensitive data from you the way a Trojan horse virus would do.
However, it is a good idea to be cautious about hijackers and be particularly careful when coming across their advertisements. The reason is, hackers often use online ads to distribute malicious pieces of software (including Ransomware and Trojans), so it is best to remove any unwanted ads and uninstall any software that uncontrollably gets you exposed to them.
|Danger Level||Medium (nowhere near threats like Ransomware, but still a security risk)|
|Symptoms||Most browser hijackers install a new homepage address and default search engine service.|
|Distribution Method||The file bundling method is the most prevalent one when it comes to spreading hijackers.|
Some threats reinstall themselves if you don't delete their core files. We recommend downloading ComboCleaner to remove harmful programs for you. This may save you hours and ensure you don't harm your system by deleting the wrong files.
Phase Search Mac Virus Removal
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.
WARNING! READ CAREFULLY BEFORE PROCEEDING!
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:
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,
and then again on the Extensions tab,
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,
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
Check if your Homepage is the one you have selected, if not change it to whatever you prefer.
Select the History menu this time, and click on Clear History. This way you will prevent accidentally opening a problematic web page again.
How to Remove Phase Search From Firefox in OSX:
Open Firefox, click on (top right) ——-> Add-ons. Hit Extensions next.
The problem should be lurking somewhere around here – Remove it. Then Refresh Your Firefox Settings.
How to Remove Phase Search From Chrome in OSX:
Start Chrome, click —–>More Tools —–> Extensions. There, find the malware and select .
Click 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!