FlexibleSearch Adware Mac Removal Guide
|Category||Adware, Fake Search Program (detected as MacOS:Agent See Report of VirusTotal)|
|Occurrence||installs via fake update of Adobe Flash Players, clicking on pop-up ads, freeware downloads from unsafe sites.|
|Damages||Changes of browser preferences without user’s consent, data-tracking, search redirects, ads placed on top of search results.|
|Removal||Scan your Mac with Combo Cleaner to detect files related to FlexibleSearch Adware.|
What is FlexibleSearch?
FlexibleSearch may be presented as a useful search tool improve your browsing on Safari or Chrome. However, it is just another Adware that tends to injects all sorts of advertisements while you are browsing.
For this, it manages to take over the browser by attaching itself as an extension. Following which, your browsing preferences will be controlled by FlexibleSearch. As a consequence, you may find your searches being redirected via unknown/fake search engine. Thus, you will unexpectedly land on third-party sites, dubious download pages, and sites loading plenty of commercials. The end goal of FlexibleSearch is to generate their profit by various pay-per-click methods.
Besides delivering ads, you could face random redirects to questionable sites that encourages to download extension, throws fake errors, discounts and surveys. Thus, such activities lowers down the online privacy and security of the device.
So, we strongly recommend you to remove FlexibleSearch adware and its associated files from mac as soon as possible.
How FlexibleSearch Got Inside my Mac?
Generally, users do not download PUAs intentionally. However, they come across via bundling with other software. Actually, this is deceptive distribution tactics known as bundling. So, you should not be in hurry to finish the installation, rather keep an eye on its terms & conditions. Also, opt for custom/advanced installation to avoid installing additional program within the package.
Secondly, you may also get it from updating Flash player from dubious links, torrent downloads, and so on. There are plenty examples of such programs that intends to earn their profit by misleading users. For example QuicklookPI, LeadingSearchService, TabHelper and so on.
So, better to keep a watch on your online activities. Here I explained my users about the 10 Best Ways To Protect A Mac Computer From Viruses.
FlexibleSearch Mac Adware-What It can do?
Adware like FlexibleSearch aims to deliver intrusive advertisements to monetize their presence. So, you are likely to notice the following behavior of your browser:
- Pop-up ads appearing on the pages you visit.
- Automatic new tab redirects that lands to questionable pages.
- Search results loads plenty of Ads and sponsored links.
- In-text links, banners and videos ads keep appearing while you browse.
- Unknown website sends push notifications leading to fake downloads, purchases and scams.
Each click you made to ads by FlexibleSearch, will help the bad actors to earn profit. As well as, some of these ads may also hide malicious scripts that lead to compromised websites, clicks and downloads.
Not only that, applications like FlexibleSearch, have been observed to harvest browsing activities. These data includes:
- Search patterns;
- URLs visits;
- Search queries;
- browsing histories,
- ads clicked;
- IP address;
- geolocation and more.
All these data are then either shared with third-party or misused in scams, identity thefts, phishing and tech scams.
So, only manually removing such adware are not the permanent solution to stop them tracking you. Instead you need to go for thorough cleaning of your browser and Mac to ensure all such tracking objects, malicious files are deleted.
Follow the below removal steps to remove FlexibleSearch adware and its associated search engine.
How To Remove FlexibleSearch From Mac
If you see a pop-up message “FlexibleSearch will damage your computer” text, then quickly click on “move to trash” or “Show in finder”. If found delete the files.
For manual removal, you need search for the app in question to your Application folder and trash it. Next, you will need to locate launchAgents and launchDeamons associated with the program and remove them. Also, some adware create fake profiles to set rules for the specific URL to open automatically. Thus, it is important to delete such settings.
In this guide, we are going to explain both the methods one-by-one.
For automatic and safe removal, scan with Combo Cleaner and get rid of it quickly.
How To Remove FlexibleSearch From Mac Manually
To remove FlexibleSearch extension, follow the steps:
- Open your Safari browser, From top menu, choose Safari > choose Preferences.
- Go to Extensions tab.
- Locate FlexibleSearch extension.
- To remove FlexibleSearch click on “uninstall” button.
To completely remove FlexibleSearch from Mac, follow these steps carefully:
1Remove FlexibleSearch Adware From Applications Folder
- On the Finder window, click Go→ Applications;
- Look through the Application window to find FlexibleSearch app;
- To remove FlexibleSearch from Mac, right-click on it and choose “Move To Trash”;
- After that, Click on the “Empty Trash” by right-click on the Trash icon on your dock.
- Restart your Mac to make changes into effect.
2Remove FlexibleSearch LaunchAgents and LaunchDaemons
To Remove FlexibleSearch LaunchAgents and LaunchDaemon, follow the steps here:
- Open Finder window and then select: Go → Go to Folder;
- Now, you need find any malicious agents related to FlexibleSearch within the following locations, and delete if find any;
- Enter the path to the “Go To Folder” and click “Go”;
- Now, check, if there is any FlexibleSearch related entries, if found delete them one-by-one.
3Remove FlexibleSearch Fake Profiles From Mac
Often malicious programs like Safe Finder, Search Mine, Advanced Mac Cleaner leverages this setting to configure profile settings that connect to specific URL, restrict removal and so on. Thus, you should check for any profile configuration created by malicious programs. So you need to find and remove fake profiles.
To do so, you must login to your Mac as administrative account. By deleting the malicious profiles , you will be able to make changes to restricted settings.
- Choose Apple menu→ System Preferences → Profiles .
Note: If there is no profiles on your Mac, then you may not see the profile icon. Then skip to the next step.
- Once the profile Windows opens, check for unknown Profile.
- To Remove FlexibleSearch Profile, select it and click the Remove button (—) minus button in the bottom.
4Remove FlexibleSearch Extensions From Web browsers
Next, step is to find unwanted extension, fake search engine and revoke other settings that happens due to any Adware. So, most of the users use Safari, Chrome and Mozilla browsers on their Mac OS.
So, here we are going to explain all the three one-by-one.
Delete FlexibleSearch Extensions From Safari
FlexibleSearch may install as extensions which triggers pop-up ads, homepage redirects and so on. So, it is important to find and remove adware extensions.
- Click on Safari menu →Preferences → go to Extensions Tab;
- Look for FlexibleSearch unwanted extensions active on your Safari;
- To remove FlexibleSearch extension from Safari, Select it and click on “Uninstall”.
Restore Your Homepage
Many time, FlexibleSearch promotes fake search engine, so they set unknown URL as default homepage. So, if you don’t want them, then here is what to do to remove them:
- Click on Safari menu →Preferences → go to General Tab;
- Under the “Homepage” field, remove unknown URL related to FlexibleSearch and enter address of your choice like “google.com” as click “set as default”.
This should help fix your issue, but if not, then here is the guide explaining to reset Safari browser.
Remove FlexibleSearch Extension
- To open Extensions page on Chrome type
chrome://extensions/on your address bar;
- Now, check for FlexibleSearch extension active on the browser;
- To remove FlexibleSearch Extension from Chrome, click on “Remove” beside it.
Restore Your Homepage
- To access Homepage setting on Chrome type
- Here you see default homepage URL that opens every time you launch your browser. Remove FlexibleSearch related URL and type the new one you want.
- Next, remove fake search engine promoted by FlexibleSearch, by typing
- Under “Manage search engines”, click on the search engine you want to remove;
- To remove FlexibleSearch search engine from Chrome, click on the 3-vertical dots beside its name and click on “Remove from list”.
Here is the guide on how to Reset Chrome Browser on Mac and Windows.
Remove FlexibleSearch Extension From Firefox
- To open Extension menu, type
about:addonson your Firefox address bar;
- Choose “Extensions” from the left menu;
- To remove FlexibleSearch extension from Firefox browser, click on “Remove” beside the extension name.
- To access Homepage Setting on Firefox, type
about:preferences#homeon the address bar;
- Under “New Windows and Tabs” field, enter your favorite URL to set as homepage and New tab.
- To Remove Fake search engine from Firefox
about:preferences#search, under search shortcuts section, click on the URLs you want to remove;
- Next click on the “Remove” button on the bottom.
To completely Reset Mozilla Firefox Browser on Safari and Windows click here.
Remove FlexibleSearch Adware From Mac Using Combo Cleaner
- Follow the link to Download Combo Cleaner“;
- A .dmg file will download, double-click on it to start installation process;
- Once you see the below window, drag and drop the Combo Cleaner icon to your “Applications folder”;
- Click on the “Combo Cleaner” icon from the “Launchpad” on your dock;
- Follow the on-screen instruction to finish the setup. The combo cleaner will quickly update its Virus database. After which, Combo cleaner will launch the program;
- You can either click on “Start Combo Scan” or click on the “Antivirus” tab and choose various scan options. There are 3 scan options: Quick, Full, and custom. (We will recommend to do full scan for first time)
- After the scan completes, it will show the threats if found. So, click on “Remove All Threats”;
- Next, go to “Uninstaller” Tab to find and remove malicious extensions and other programs from web browsers and Mac. Select unwanted program and also their related files and then click on “Remove Selected Items“
How to avoid installing FlexibleSearch Adware On Mac?
You should follow the proactive approach to restrict adware-type applications like FlexibleSearch from getting installed.
- Always, visit official website and trusted sources to download and install applications.
- Do a little research before downloading or clicking on any ads, commercials or pop-ups that come in your way.
- Avoid peer-to-Peer file sharing networks, torrents, freeware downloads and software crack tools and so on. As these are often carry payloads of additional malware.
- Always, read the terms and conditions, before installing any software. As, the default installation comes with additional components that get easily installed. So, better opt for “Custom/Advanced” option during the set-up.
- Most importantly, avoid click on redirect pages or ads driven by unsafe sites, as well as do not click on push notification pop-ups. As they start to directly deliver unstoppable ads on the browser. Often accidental clicks leads of adware/malware infiltration.
Finally, if you think you Mac is infected with adware/malware, then we recommend to scan it with Combo Cleaner Antivirus. This will ensure complete removal of threats and safeguard from future risks.
So, this is how to remove FlexibleSearch adware from your Mac.