Mac Research
Mac Security

What is Safe Finder

What is Safe Finder on Mac?

Safe Finder (search.safefinder.com) is a potentially unwanted app developed by Linkury Ltd. that shares traits with the programs from the browser hijacking class of software. 

The intrusive application specializes in ad-generation and page-redirects since 2015 and is known for its ability to interfere with the users’ web browsing activity both in Windows and Mac operating systems. Usually, Safe Finder is promoted as a browser-based plug-in that is designed to enhance the web browsing experience of its users.

However, once it successfully sets inside the browser, this app may replace the start-page address, the main search engine, the new tab page, and a number of other settings. In addition to that, Safe Finder may redirect users to sponsored Yahoo search results and force them to visit questionable websites of third parties by constantly filling their screen with aggressive ads and pop-ups.

Recently, it seems that a growing number of Mac users have been faced with Safe Finder and its intrusive activity. The app does not target a specific browser and may easily get installed inside Safari, Google Chrome, Firefox, and other browsers without requesting permission.

The main thing that should be noted about this app is that it successfully imitates a legitimate search engine and many people install it believing that it is, but in reality, Safe Finder works in a rather deceptive manner.

It redirects browser traffic to Yahoo search through a number of third-party websites (such as search.safefinder.com), adds paid advertisements to search results, and causes noticeable system slowdowns and browser crashes. In addition, Safe Finder makes modifications to custom browsing settings linked to monitoring the Internet activity which is a reason for safety concerns among some Mac users.

The ultimate aim of Safe Finder is to monetize the web surfing activity of infected users at the price of putting their Mac computer protection at risk by introducing unauthorized browser changes, extensions, redirect services, and suspicious advertisements.

Website redirects

Some of the reported URLs that are associated with Safe Finder are:

Here are the serving IP Addresses of some of the bogus redirect sites related to the browser hijacker:

Risks

Just as most browser hijackers, Safe Finder modifies its search results by inserting hideous links which trigger redirects to web pages of third parties. Websites you may be rerouted to may often belong to one of this application’s affiliates. However, while some of the pages may be secure, there might be pages that might be questionable and even malware-infected. If you click on every link or a pop-up that the hijacker promotes to you, you might easily end up on a phishing site or a page that has been compromised by Trojans, Ransomware, and other viruses.

Safe Finder may also often take you to websites that promote bogus software and prompt you to download and install it through the display of fake on-screen advertisements that show numerous error messages or malware warnings inside the browser.

The questionable application also tends to abuse the built-in AppleScript in order to gain access to sensitive data that is entered via the hijacked browser such as search queries, browsing history, login credentials, etc. This being said, users who keep Safe Finder on their Mac may easily be subjected to personal data misuse, potentially harmful websites, or downloads of malware.

How is Safe Finder installed on your Mac?

Safe Finder can be downloaded from its official website where the developers advertise it as a web browser’s helper component that enhances the users’ web browsing. Many users add Safe Finder to their browser believing that this is a trustworthy Yahoo-powered search engine.

However, people in numerous forums say that the intrusive browser hijacker may also be found as a pre-selected free software in different third-party app installers. Researchers are informing that Safe Finder is most widely transmitted through adware-type applications, as well as through bogus Flash update notifications and ads.

How dangerous is Safe Finder for your Mac?

Safe Finder is not a virus that can cause major harm to your Mac computer. However, when installed, this app typically gains access to a number of key browser settings and user configurations. As a result, the hijacker may introduce various changes without asking for approval and may install extensions, redirect user searches and keep track of the web browsing activity without giving the victims an option to restrict or remove those.

Therefore, even though Safe Finder claims to be a Yahoo-powered and reliable search engine, the analysis of its activities indicates that this is a potentially unwanted application that, for the most part, operates as a browser hijacker. If not removed from your Mac, this software may not only disturb your web browsing but also may open the doors to other malware, such as Trojan viruses, spyware, and other harmful apps to the system.

How to remove Safe Finder on Mac?

Safe Finder is typically installed on Mac computers as a browser extension. To remove it, you either need to scan your Mac with a professional removal tool or use a set of manual removal steps like the ones that you can find below:

  1. Launch Safari and click on the Safari menu.
  2. A slide-down menu with options will appear.
  3. Select Preferences and then tap on the Extensions icon.
  4. A window listing all Safari extensions should appear.
  5. In the list, specifically, look for extensions that have a relation to Safe Finder (have the same name or seem to be installed without your knowledge) and delete them from Safari.
  6. If any other extension in the list grabs your attention as potentially unwanted, delete it without hesitation.
  7. After that, go back to Preferences and click on the General icon.  
  8. Scroll to the Homepage section and check if the homepage URL has been changed with search.safefinder.com or another affiliated address. If it is, delete it.
  9. Next, in the empty homepage field type a homepage address that you want to be your default homepage and save the changes.
  10. Once again return to Preferences but choose the Privacy tab this time.
  11. In there, find the “Remove All Website Data” option and confirm it by clicking on Remove Now.  Attention! After you confirm the action all saved data for sites you have recently visited with Safe Finder, as well as your log-in details to legitimate sites will be permanently deleted.
  12. In the final removal step, select the Safari History menu and click the Clear History option. In order to remove all traces of Safe Finder from your browser, we recommend selecting All History from the options that are available.
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