How to Get Rid of Yahoo Redirect Search Virus on a Mac

If your Mac has been infected with the Yahoo Search redirect virus, follow this step-by-step guide to remove it from your computer.
Juliana Kenny, Author
Catherine McNally, Editor
Last updated Jun 9, 2022

If you attempt to perform a web search in Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or another browser only to be redirected to Yahoo Search, then your Mac has unfortunately contracted the Yahoo Search redirect virus. Although Yahoo is a legitimate search engine, if you haven’t made it the default search homepage on your browsers, it likely means there’s a problem.

All three of those web browsers default to Google as their search engine (yes, even Apple’s Safari), so any search you perform in any of them should produce results in Google. 

Seeing results in Yahoo, despite the default settings of your browser, means your browser has been hijacked. That might not seem like the end of the world — perhaps even just a minor annoyance — but there are several reasons ‌the Yahoo Search redirect virus might negatively affect your Mac.

The Yahoo redirect virus is a form of malware which, in any scenario, is something you’ll want to rid from your computer. Browser hijacker malware such as this may do anything from modifying your browser settings in ways you can’t see, to tracking your browsing history so hackers can collect data on your internet behavior, to redirecting you to sites that produce advertisement revenue for hackers.

In this article, we’ll explain more in-depth about the virus itself and how to rid your Mac of it across Chrome, Safari, and Firefox if your computer is infected.

In this article
What is the Yahoo Search redirect virus?
How to get rid of the Yahoo Search redirect virus on a Mac
How to remove Yahoo Search as the default search engine
Yahoo Search redirect virus FAQs
Bottom line

What is the Yahoo Search redirect virus?

The Yahoo Search redirect virus is a browser hijacker rooted in malware that redirects your browser away from your intended site to search.yahoo.com. On the way to Yahoo search results, the computer virus may bring your browser through several other sites that generate revenue for the hacker.

Although this virus may not look or feel like a particularly malicious brand of malware, it has the potential to continuously interfere with your search engine use—and therefore your browsing history—which directly correlates to what kind and how many advertisements get thrown your way. You could experience an influx of ads because of this adware existing on your Mac.

The latter possibility also means that the virus could redirect your searches to sites that look like Yahoo but aren’t. They may be imposter search engines that provide manipulated results geared to get you to click on links that lead to sites from which the hackers generate ad revenue.

A browser hijacker can also install a "helper object" that could thwart your ability to access your browser's settings.

In more grievous instances, a browser hijacker such as the Yahoo Search redirect virus can potentially expose you to more malware or risk identity theft. Browser hijackers can collect your personal information, such as geolocation or IP addresses, which may lead hackers to discover some of your personally identifiable information.

It’s important to note that this virus is unrelated to Yahoo. You could have unwittingly contracted it by installing free software or extensions that could have come from several software vendors. Or maybe you clicked on something to remove a pop-up on a website, which triggered the infection.

It's easy for anyone to download a browser hijacker accidentally because they disguise themselves as useful tools, such as weather widgets, navigation software, unit converters, coupon providers, and more. The catch is, once you've opted into the software, it likely won't work and will have already infected your computer with the malware.

Being redirected to search.yahoo.com is of no value to you because you can choose to access that site for free. Even if you enjoy searching on Yahoo, the virus violates your privacy, exposes you to identity and financial risk, and should be removed from your Mac.

How to get rid of the Yahoo Search redirect virus on a Mac

Below is a step-by-step guide on how to remove the virus and reset your browsers to their default search engines.

1. Scan with antivirus software

You were likely hoping that getting rid of the virus would be as simple as clicking a few things to reset your browser, but it’s a bit more involved than that. The malware might have infected multiple folders on your computer, so it’s essential to begin by running a scan with antivirus or anti-malware software.

Antivirus software is important because it runs a thorough scan of your hard drive, examining every file and program for out-of-the-ordinary behavior. Leaving no stone unturned, it ensures your computer isn’t harboring malicious code that pops up later to perform some unsavory activity.

Some of the best antivirus programs for macOS include:

ESET

As a world-renowned name in cybersecurity, ESET offers ESET Cyber Security Pro ($49.99 per year for one Mac) and ESET Cyber Security ($39.99 per year for one Mac). Pro is the advanced protection option, which offers features specific to secure web browsing such as a personal firewall, removable media control, and web and email scanning.

Malwarebytes

Malwarebytes is a household name in antivirus protection, and it offers award-winning Mac-specific products. Malwarebytes Premium for Mac scans your computer in under 30 seconds, according to the company, and uses 50% fewer CPU resources doing so. The premium version is $39.99 per year for one Mac, and there is a free version, though it doesn’t come with the same robust security controls.

Avira

Avira Free Security is a solid option if you can’t spare the annual fee. The company’s paid version has received a 6 out of 6, “outstanding” rating across protection, performance, and usability from AV-TEST, a renowned security institute. The free software offers dozens of security functions, such as a VPN (500 MB/month) and password manager. The paid version includes other features, such as unlimited VPN, powerful browser extensions, a password manager tool, VIP customer support, and more.

2. Remove malicious programs

If your antivirus software discovers a problem, it will present you with options ‌of how to proceed. You can quarantine the infected files, which means you opt for the antivirus software to move the files to a place where they simply can’t infect other files. The location is managed by the antivirus software.

Or you can delete the infected files, which rids your computer of the virus, but it has the potential to delete files that affect the operation of your computer‌. Still, this is your preferred option.

3. Run a second full scan

After you’ve removed the infected files, run an additional full scan with your antivirus program. This is an important step because it ensures no bad code leaked during the removal process and no other files were infected.

4. Restart your computer

Restarting your computer is a best practice after removing malicious files so you can proceed to fix your search engines and browsers.

How to remove Yahoo Search as the default search engine

Below are step-by-step instructions on how you can reset your default search engines in Chrome, Safari, and Firefox.

How to reset your search engine on Google Chrome

1. Open Chrome

2. Locate the three vertical gray dots in the top right of your browser. Click on the three dots to open the drop-down menu.

3. Navigate to “Settings”

A screenshot of the main menu for the Google Chrome browser showing Settings highlighted

4. Navigate to the left side of the Chrome settings menu where you see “Advanced.” Open that menu by clicking on the arrow.

A screenshot of the Google Chrome web browser settings menu with Advanced chosen

5. Click “Reset settings”

6. Click “Restore settings to their original defaults”

7. Click “Reset settings” in the pop-up message:

A screenshot of the Google Chrome web browser pop-up window that asks the user if they want to reset settings

How to reset your search engine on Safari

1. Open Safari

2. From the “Safari” menu, open “Preferences”

3. In your Safari preferences menu, select “Privacy” and click “Manage Website Data”

A screenshot of the Apple Safari web browser showing the Privacy settings menu

4. Select “Remove All”

A screenshot of the Apple Safari web browser showing a list of websites that have stored tracking data and the option to Remove All

5. Select “Remove Now”

6. Navigate to “Advanced” in your preferences window: 

A screenshot of the Apple Safari web browser showing the Advanced menu in the browser's preferences window

7. Select “Show Develop menu in menu bar”

8. Navigate to “Develop” at the top of your Safari menu, and select “Empty Caches” 

A screenshot of the Apple Safari web browser's Develop menu and the Empty Caches option highlighted

How to reset your search engine on Firefox

1. Open Firefox

2. Navigate to the top right of the browser to find three horizontal lines. Click on those.

3. Select "Help"

A screenshot of the Mozilla Firefox web browser with the main settings menu open and the Help option highlighted

4. Select "More troubleshooting information"

5. Select "Refresh Firefox" under "Give Firefox a tune up"

A screenshot of the Mozilla Firefox web browser's Troubleshooting Information menu with the option to Refresh Firefox

6. Select "Refresh Firefox" from the pop-up

Yahoo Search redirect virus FAQs

Below we answer some commonly asked questions about the Yahoo Search redirect virus on Mac.


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Why does my Mac keep searching with Yahoo?

If you’re using Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or another browser on your Mac and your browser produces search results in Yahoo without your consent, your computer has likely been infected with the Yahoo Search redirect virus.

If you have not set your default search engine to be Yahoo, then your default search engine should be Google on all three ‌browsers.

If you are constantly being redirected to Yahoo, ‌take steps to rid your Mac of this virus that could track your browsing history, targeting you with spammy ads, and possibly stealing your personally identifiable information.


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How do I stop Yahoo from hijacking my browser?

To get rid of the browser hijacker Yahoo Search redirect virus, there are a few simple steps you should take.

  • First, run an antivirus scan so the software can examine every file on your computer
  • Next, remove the malicious files
  • Run a second scan and restart your computer
  • Finally, restore the settings on your web browser to Google search, Bing, or another preferred search engine

The details involved in these steps are described in-depth above.


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How do I get rid of the Yahoo virus?

You can easily remove the Yahoo Search redirect virus from your Macbook by following a few steps.

  1. Scan your computer using antivirus. This is important to ensure you detect and remove any bad files lingering on your hard drive.
  2. Remove any malicious files. Make sure you actually delete them instead of quarantining them.
  3. Perform a second antivirus scan. Don’t skip this step.
  4. Restart your computer. This prepares your computer for the final step.
  5. Reset your search engines. Step-by-step instructions for how to do this on Chrome, Safari, and Firefox are above.

Bottom line

The Yahoo Search redirect virus is more than just an annoying problem that redirects your searches to search.yahoo.com instead of Google. 

It’s malware that might track what websites you visit, target you with illegitimate advertising, or even plan to steal information from you. It’s not associated with the Yahoo search engine itself, and you should follow the simple steps above to remove it from your computer.

The most important part of the instructions is to begin with running an antivirus scan. 

If you skip this step, there will be no point in resetting your browsers. Antivirus software ensures that malicious files aren’t lying latent in your computer—ready to make themselves known in damaging ways when their code prompts them to. 

And remember, always do a second scan after you’ve cleared the bad files from your computer in your first scan.

Although there is no specific way to ensure that your Mac avoids contracting the Yahoo Search redirect virus — other than researching tools and widgets before you download them — you can easily mitigate its negative effects by starting with the best antivirus programs.

Author Details
Juliana Kenny
Juliana is a professional copywriter and brand strategist with 12 years of experience writing in the technology field. She has led content teams in multiple B2B technology marketing firms as well as managed technology and science channels for a global news start-up, but writing and creating brand stories is where her true passion lies.