Most of the time most Macs are relatively free of malware. While our Windows-promoting friends install antivirus and constantly slow down their computers by running them, we can enjoy our Macs carefree, without thinking about bad actors.
Sometimes, however, malware can find its way to the Mac. It doesn’t take your Mac by brute force like it does with Windows. Mac malware is much more tricky, it is installed along with legitimate software and thus also gets administrator permissions.
One of the most annoying examples of malware for Mac is Search Baron, a redirect virus that robs your browsers. Fortunately, it is not impossible to delete. Let’s see how to get rid of Search Baron if your search engine is behaving strangely.
What is Search Baron?
As mentioned above, Search Baron is a redirect virus, which is in some ways both good and bad. The good part is that it is generally non-destructive in the way that Trojans and other ransomware can be, and can also be easily detected. The downside is that unless you know the answer to “How do I remove Search Baron from my Mac?” your search engine will seem pretty useless.
You do not need special scanners to detect the Search Baron. More likely, you would already be wondering why Search Baron keeps popping up?
The main indicator that your Mac is infected with Search Baron is your homepage for all search engines that redirect to searchbaron.com (we do not advise you to visit that website).
The way the Search Baron works is to disguise itself as a fake search engine (searchbaron.com), where all queries will lead to Bing. In the meantime, however, each query will be redirected multiple times between other fake and unwanted websites, which pay the Search Baron for traffic.
Because the Mac ecosystem is protected, which means that unauthorized software cannot gain access to administrator-level processes, malware cannot just be installed. That’s why Search Baron is usually tied to the somewhat legitimate apps you actually want to get, especially if you get those apps for free from torrents or lesser-known app stores. When these applications request and gain administrator access to your Mac, Search Baron enters with them.
So how do you remove Search Baron malware from a Mac? Here are two ways.
How to Automatically Get Rid of a Search Baron
Given how annoying Search Baron can be, it’s surprising that there’s a fairly simple way to remove Search Baron from Safari, Chrome, Firefox, and other browsers. The only thing you need is a robust malware removal tool like CleanMyMac X.
CleanMyMac X is the best cleaning software for Mac. It quickly scans all files, folders and applications to find unused and unnecessary information and deletes them. It can optimize your system processes and reset your RAM, making your Mac faster. Finally, it features an ever-updating malware scanner that easily identifies and removes malware.
To run SearchBaron, remove Chrome, Safari, and Firefox all at once:
- Start CleanMyMac X
- Go to the Malware Removal tab
- Click Scan
- When the scanner fines Search Baron, click Remove
Another important thing to do to detect Search Baron and other malware in time is to monitor your Mac’s status in real time, such as CPU load, network connection, RAM usage, and more. The best app to help you with that would be iStat Menus.
iStat Menus is the top rated tracking solution for Mac. It can track any aspect of your machine – CPU, RAM, GPU, drives, network, sensors, battery, and even weather – while broadcasting information in beautiful real-time charts that live in your menu bar, with just one click.
When you notice that your iStat menu parameters are turned off, it’s a good signal that something is wrong with your Mac and it’s time to check it using CleanMyMac X for viruses and more.
If you want to go the alternative route and figure out how to manually remove Search Baron malware from your Mac, follow the tips below.
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1. Uninstall all unknown applications
When it comes to removing malware, unknown processes and applications should first be stopped and deleted.
Start with unknown processes:
- Start the Activity Monitor
- Look for a “search baron” or identify processes that look suspicious
- Select processes and click the stop icon in the top bar
Now continue deleting unknown applications:
- Go to the Applications folder (⌘ + Shift + A)
- Browse the folder as well as the Utilities
- Right-click any application and select Move to Trash (or use ⌘ + Delete)
2. Remove the remaining files
Another problem with trying to get rid of apps manually is that the process of putting them in the trash doesn’t delete many of their help files around your Mac. You have to hunt them yourself.
Because Search Baron likes to leave its files as startup agents, check that folder first:
- In the menu bar, select Go ➙ Go to Folder…
- Type ~ / Library / LaunchAgents
- Find all files related to Search Baron
- Delete them
3. View your login items
In addition to launching agents, Search Baron is also known for being built into your Mac’s login items, from which, fortunately, we can also remove it manually.
Here’s how it’s done:
- Go to System Preferences ➙ Users and Groups
- Switch to the Login Items tab
- Select Search Baron if you see it
- Remove it using the minus sign below
- 4. Reset your browsers
The last place the Search Baron tends to hide and set up camp is your search engine (since hijacking a search engine is its primary activity). You can often find masking the Search Baron as a legitimate extension, etc.
So let’s delete all the extra extensions from your browsers, reset the homepage, and define the default browser.
- Go to Preferences (⌘ +,)
- Go to Extensions
- Uninstall any extensions you do not need
- Go back to General and define a new homepage
- Go to Search and set up a new search engine
- Open Preferences (same ⌘ +,)
- Go to Extensions and Themes
- Click the menu button next to any extension and select Remove
- Return to Settings ➙ Home to set your home page
- Continue to Search to define your search engine
On Google Chrome:
- Switch to Settings (⌘ +,)
- Go to Extensions
- Click Remove on any extensions you don’t need
- Then go to “On Startup” to set a new homepage
- Visit “Search Engine” to define a new search engine
Finally, to summarize a few frequently asked questions.
What does Search Baron do?
Search Baron hijacks the homepage of your search engine and disguises itself as a search engine, directing all your traffic to Bing by redirecting it to fake websites that pay Search Baron for such traffic.
Is Search Baron Dangerous?
No. The Search Baron is pretty harmless in itself. Although the websites it redirects you to may try to track and steal your information. Never click on anything that Search Baron serves you.
How to get rid of Search Baron yourself?
There is no need to call Apple Support to delete Search Baron. You can go through the manual process of deleting applications, help files and login items, as well as resetting the browser as described above.
Alternatively, you can install iStat Menus to monitor your Mac and CleanMyMac X to scan your computer for malware and remove it.
Best of all, iStat Menus and CleanMyMac X are available to you absolutely free for seven days through a trial version of Setapp, a platform with more than 230 highly curated Mac and iOS apps that can solve any problem, from preventing your Mac from going to sleep (Lungo) for translating any language in progress (Mate Translate). Try every Setapp app for free today and see what your Mac is really capable of!
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