Most of the time, most Macs are relatively free from malware. While our Windows-touting friends install antiviruses and continuously slow down their PCs by running them, we get to enjoy our Macs worry-free, without thinking about any bad actors out there.
Sometimes, however, malware can find its way into a Mac as well. It doesn’t take your Mac by brute force like it happens with Windows. Mac malware is much more sly, installing itself along with legitimate software and gaining admin permissions that way too.
One of the most annoying Mac malware examples is Search Baron, a redirect virus that hijacks your browsers. Luckily, it’s not impossible to delete. Let’s see how to get rid of Search Baron if you find your browser acting weird.
What is Search Baron?
As mentioned above, Search Baron is a redirect virus, which in some ways is both good and bad. The good part is that it’s generally non-destructive the way trojans and other ransomware can be, and it’s also easily detectable. The bad part is that unless you know the answer to “How do I remove Search Baron from my Mac?” your browser will be rendered quite useless.
You don’t need special scanners to detect Search Baron. More likely, you’d be already wondering why does Search Baron keep popping up?
The main indicator that your Mac has been infected with Search Baron is your homepage for all browsers being redirected to searchbaron.com (we don’t advise you to visit that website).
The way Search Baron works is that it masks 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 fraudulent and spammy websites, which pay Search Baron for the traffic.
Since the Mac ecosystem is sandboxed, meaning unauthorized software can’t get access to admin-level processes, malware can’t just install itself. That’s why Search Baron is usually attached to somewhat legitimate apps that you actually want to get, especially if you get those apps for free from torrents or lesser-known app stores. When those apps request and are granted admin access to your Mac, Search Baron walks in together with them.
So how to remove Search Baron malware from Mac? Here are two ways.
How to get rid of Search Baron automatically
Given how annoying Search Baron can be, it’s surprising that there’s a pretty straightforward way for how 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 any files, folders, and apps to find unused and unneeded information, and clears it out. It can optimize your system processes and reset your RAM, making your Mac faster. Finally, it features an always-updating malware scanner, which identifies and removes any malware with ease.
To perform the SearchBaron remove Chrome, Safari, and Firefox at once:
- Launch CleanMyMac X
- Navigate 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 the state of your Mac in real time, such as CPU load, network connection, RAM usage, etc. The best app to help with that would be iStat Menus.
iStat Menus is the highest-rated monitoring solution for Mac. It can track any aspect of your machine — CPU, RAM, GPU, disks, network, sensors, battery, and even the weather — while outputting information in beautiful real-time graphs that live in your menu bar, just a click away.
When you notice your iStat Menus parameters are off, it’s a good signal that something is wrong with your Mac, and it’s time to check it with CleanMyMac X for viruses and more.
If you want to go the alternative route and figure out how to remove Search Baron malware from Mac manually, follow the tips below.
1. Uninstall all unknown apps
When it comes to removing malware, unknown processes and apps should be stopped and deleted first.
Start with unknown processes:
- Launch Activity Monitor
- Search for “search baron” or identify the processes that seem suspicious
- Select the processes and click the stop icon in the top bar
Now, continue to delete unknown apps:
- Go to your Applications folder (⌘ + Shift + A)
- Search the folder as well as Utilities
- Right-click on any apps and select Move to Trash (or use ⌘ + Delete)
2. Remove leftover files
Another issue with trying to get rid of apps manually is that the process of putting them in Trash doesn’t delete lots of their auxiliary files around your Mac. You have to hunt them down on your own.
Since Search Baron likes to leave its files as launch agents, check that folder first:
- From the menu bar, select Go ➙ Go to Folder…
- Type in ~/Library/LaunchAgents
- Find any files related to Search Baron
- Delete them
3. Look into your login items
Besides launch agents, Search Baron is also famous for embedding itself into your Mac’s login items, from which we luckily can manually remove it too.
Here’s how it’s done:
- Go to System Preferences ➙ Users & Groups
- Switch to the Login Items tab
- Select Search Baron if you see it
- Remove it by using the minus sign below
- 4. Reset your browsers
The last place where Search Baron tends to hide and set up camp is your browser (since hijacking browsers is its primary activity). Often you can find Search Baron masking as legitimate extensions, etc.
So let’s delete any extra extensions from your browsers, reset the homepage, and define a default search engine.
- Go to Preferences (⌘ + ,)
- Navigate to Extensions
- Uninstall any extension you don’t need
- Come back to General and define a new homepage
- Go to Search and set a new search engine
- Open Preferences (same ⌘ + ,)
- Go to Extensions & Themes
- Click the menu button next to any extension and select Remove
- Go back to Settings ➙ Home to set your homepage
- Continue to Search to define your search engine
On Google Chrome:
- Switch to Settings (⌘ + ,)
- Proceed 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
At the end let’s recap a few frequently asked questions.
What does Search Baron do?
Search Baron hijacks your browser’s homepage and masks itself as a search engine, directing all your traffic to Bing via redirecting to fraudulent websites that pay Search Baron for such traffic.
Is Search Baron dangerous?
No. Search Baron itself is pretty harmless. Although the websites it redirects you to can try to track you and steal your data. Never click on anything that Search Baron serves you.
How to get rid of Search Baron on your own?
To delete Search Baron, there’s no need to call Apple support. You can go through the manual process of deleting apps, auxiliary files, and login items as well as resetting browsers as described above.
Best of all, iStat Menus and CleanMyMac X are available to you absolutely free for seven days through the trial 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) to translating any language on the fly (Mate Translate). Try every Setapp app at no cost today and see what your Mac is really capable of!