Remove Search Alpha virus from Mac
Have you recently noticed suspicious browser redirects through “search-alpha.com” on your Mac? If the answer is yes, your Mac has contracted a Search Alpha virus, a browser hijacker that redirects web traffic to Microsoft's Bing search engine.
This nasty piece of malware can fill your screen with unwanted ads, modify default browser settings, and direct you to shady websites filled with more dangerous viruses. This can lead to even more threats to your device and sensitive information.
In this article, we'll explain step by step how to remove Search Alpha from your Mac. We’ll also offer the best Search Alpha removal tool.
What is search-alpha.com?
Search-alpha.com is a browser hijacker virus that redirects users' web traffic to the Bing search engine.
The data flow is first redirected through “search-location.com” and then jumps to “api.lisumanagerine.club”, which are well-known hijacking domains. Finally, the user is landed on the Bing search engine with unwanted ads or modified results.
Although Search Alpha is primarily designed to monetize web traffic on a Mac environment, browser hijackers are capable of more serious damage. They can collect private information like the original IP address, browsing, and search histories. Unwanted ads can contain spyware or keyloggers to extract online account credentials for possible financial damages.
|Name||Search Alpha virus|
|Affected devices||Mac computers|
|Symptoms||Unwanted redirects through “search-alpha.com”, altered browser default settings (home and new tab pages, default search engine), intrusive ads and pop-ups, unwanted apps and/or browser extensions, general decrease in device performance|
|Damage||Personal data leak, increased risk of future contaminations, decrease in device and browser performance, identity theft|
Similar scam examples
The Search-Alpha virus did not surprise our malware analyst because it's a variant of the well-known Search Marquis browser hijacker. In fact, it only changes its primary domain that handles the redirects, while the end goal so far looks the same.
Because Search-Alpha is relatively new, it's hard to predict the possible threat level. Removing the infection as soon as possible is best because the criminal minds behind it can have more nefarious goals than with the older Search Marquis version. For example, a particularly nasty Conduit browser hijacker could modify system files, and it's too early to tell what Search Alpha can and cannot do.
Why does my computer keep going to Search Alpha?
Your Mac is infected with a Search Alpha browser hijacker if it keeps going to the “search-alpha.com” domain. This malware is designed to stay in the system for as long as possible and uses several tools to achieve that.
Firstly, it modifies the default Mac browser settings to initiate redirects on specific user queries. But a more malign second step creates a fake configuration profile in the System Preferences that restores malware tasks even if the user has sanitized the browser environment. Visit our guide to learn more about browser hijackers and their removal.
Symptoms of Search Alpha virus
Luckily, identifying Search Alpha malware on Mac is easier than removing it, although you'll know how to do both by the end of this article.
Here are the distinct symptoms you can tell by that your Mac is infected:
- Redirects to “search-alpha.com”. Your Mac is infected with this virus if you notice a redirect through the “search-alpha.com” domain before landing you on the Bing search engine.
- Tampered search engine results. Search Alpha can display unwanted search results to drive more traffic to shady websites or even lead users to virus-infected domains.
- Annoying ads. Catching this virus increases the number of unwanted ads and frustrating pop-ups that could contain more dangerous infections.
- Unwanted add-ons. Browser hijackers often come in fraudulent software bundles that also include other malicious browser add-ons and unwanted applications.
- Decreased device performance. Like most viruses, Search Alpha initiates dozens of additional processes that will slow down your Mac..
How to get rid of Search Alpha on Mac?
Luckily, there are a couple of ways you can remove Search Alpha from your Mac device. They are:
- The easiest solution is to use an antivirus program, like our top-rated TotalAV antivirus.
- Alternatively, you can remove the malware threat manually.
To help you out, we have prepared detailed guides for you to follow. Take a look below:
Remove Search Alpha automatically with an antivirus
- Subscribe to a reliable Mac Antivirus. We recommend TotalAV for Search Alpha removal
- Download the app and install it
- Perform a full system scan
- Follow your antivirus instructions to neutralize and remove the infection
Remove Search Alpha from your Mac manually
Things get a bit tricky here because Search Alpha is developed to infect the Mac for as long as possible. Here's how to remove Search Alpha from your Mac in four steps.
Step 1: Stop Search Alpha processes
- Select Utilities in the Mac's Finder's bar Go menu
- Open the Activity Monitor
- Look for suspicious processes that require a lot of system resources or look related to the Search Alpha virus
- Select a dubious process and click the Stop icon in the upper left corner
- Click on Force Quit in the dialogue box
Step 2: Remove Search Alpha files
- Open the Go menu and select Go to Folder
- In the search bar, type /Library/LaunchAgents and click Go
- Look for recently added and suspicious files. Browser hijacker examples include 'myppes.download.plist', 'com.readerupdate.plist', but this one could have new ones
- Delete suspicious files
Repeat with the following directories:
Step 3: Remove the Search Alpha application
- Click on Applications on the Go menu
- Similar to files, search for recently added and suspicious applications you did not install
- Drag the selected apps to the trash bin
- Empty the trash bin
Step 4: Remove Search Alpha Login Items
- Go to Apple menu options and click on System Preferences
- Navigate to Users & Groups and select the Login Items tab
- Find related to Search Alpha or suspicious entry
- Click on the minus icon below to remove it
- Go back to System Preferences and choose Profiles
- Inspect the profiles on the left side and select the one directing to “search-alpha.com”
- Click on the minus icon below to remove it
Remove Search Alpha from web browsers
Sometimes Search Alpha virus can infect only the browser without spreading system-wide. Although we still recommend scanning your device with an antivirus, like our recommended TotalAV, here's how to get rid of Search Alpha from three major browsers.
- Expand the Safari menu and select Preferences
- Go to the Advanced tab and enable the Show Develop menu in menu bar checkbox
- You can now expand the Develop entry in the browser's menu and click on Empty Caches
- Go back to the browser's menu, select History, and choose Clear History
- Select All history and then Clear History again
- Go to Safari Preferences and choose the Privacy tab
- Select Manage Website Data
- Choose the Remove All option
- Restart Safari browser
- Click the three dots in the upper right and go to Settings
- Navigate to the Reset Settings on the left
- Select Restore settings to their original defaults
- Confirm by clicking on the Reset Settings option
- Restart Chrome browser
- Click the three horizontal lines in the upper right
- Select Help and choose More Troubleshooting Information
- Choose Refresh Firefox and confirm it
- Restart Firefox
How can I protect my device against browser hijacking?
Infecting Macs is hard due to their built-in protection tools, and viruses like Search Alpha rely on human error to do the job. You will significantly decrease the chances of contamination if you follow the tips below:
- Use a robust antivirus. The best way to neutralize the threat is before the infection happens. An antivirus software for Mac like TotalAV scans the web for malicious elements and alerts users before anything bad happens.
- Practice safe browsing. Refrain from visiting illegal torrenting or adult content websites, which often contain dangerous malware. It's essential not to click any backlinks or accept downloads from suspicious and unverified sources.
- Avoid software bundles. Don't rush clicking 'Next' when installing a new app; you might get more than you requested! Many browser hijackers come in software bundles hidden beneath legitimate programs.
- Update software. Software updates occasionally include cybersecurity patches you need to apply as soon as possible. Ensure your operating system, Antivirus, and other essential software are up-to-date to prevent unnecessary risks.
Browser hijackers often remain undetected because unintentional redirects aren't that obvious. However, they might be silently collecting personal information or leading to dangerous websites, so removing them immediately is the best for your device's security.
The easiest way to get rid of the Search Alpha virus on Mac is by using an antivirus like TotalAV. A full system scan identifies, neutralizes, and removes the malware threat. Simultaneously, its WebShield feature blocks access to malicious websites, preventing further infections from Search Alpha and other malware threats.
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How do I get rid of Search Alpha on Safari?
Why is Safari redirecting to Search Alpha?
Your web traffic is redirected through the Search Alpha domain if you have contracted this browser hijacker. It's best to remove the infection from the browser environment and operating system using a reliable Mac antivirus that offers real-time online threat protection. For that, we recommend our top-rated TotalAV.
Is Search Alpha a virus?
Search Alpha is a fraudulent search engine that is classified as a browser hijacker. The latter, in turn, are classified as viruses aimed to modify browser settings, collect user data, or redirect them to third-party websites.