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Odd Safari behaviour – is it caused by a virus? Is Smart Web Search a

Safari virus Smartwebsearch

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#1
sue.words

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For several days Safari has been closing itself, opening itself and refusing to be closed some of the time. I'm afraid I can't remember exactly how, but I became aware of the suspicious sounding term "smart web search" just now and tried to google it, but (a) I couldn't pursue my search because of Safari closing down and (b) the first hits I got suggested that we were dealing with a virus (which I had begun to suspect) and talked about downloading ways to combat it which I was suspicious of as well.

 

[I am in Safari as I write this and seem to be ok at the moment – don't know why.]

 

I had a problem with there password manager LastPass recently and their Support directed me in this way:

 

"Can you please record your screen while reproducing the issue? You may use any of these screen recording tools:

 
 
Very nervous about this advice, I followed it to begin with, but not completely. (I think it was inappropriate advice anyhow. My problem was only solved when a more senior Customer Service Representative  got involved and suggested much more conventional actions – which seem to have worked.) But I think the Safari behaviour possibly began round about the time I dabbled in one or two of these "tools".
 
Can anyone throw light on any of this please?

 

 


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#2
Gary R

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Most of the malware we see is Windows based, and so most of the helpers here are trained to remove malware from computers running Windows. The tools we use to analyse a computer for infection are similarly all designed for running on Windows.

 

As a result, the only advice I can give you is fairly generic in nature.

 

There are very few Anti-Malware products designed to run on Macs, the best one I am aware of is  .... https://www.malwarebytes.com/mac/... there is a free download which provides real time protection for the first 14 days, but it expires after that unless you decide to buy it.  You can however run manual scans with it after the 14 days expire.

 

What I'd recommend, is that you download the free copy, and run a scan with it. If it finds anything then please let me know before taking any action.

 

If you need details for how to run a scan with it please let me know and I'll try to provide some. I don't have a Mac, so any instructions I give will be ones based on Malwarebytes for Windows, but as far as I can see the User interfaces seem to be very similar, so hopefully they should work.


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#3
sue.words

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It's very kind of you to help me, Gary.
 
I have downloaded Malwarebytes-Mac-4 and installed it.
 
During the installation I had to allow access to various (all? – can't remember) parts of my computer to Malwarebytes, which was listed along with various other apps, such as Dropbox, each with an empty tick box beside it. I was interested to see that SmartWebSearch was among these, and described as an app. I don't know whether this makes it less or more likely that it is malware.
 
I ticked just the Malwarebytes box.
 
Then I ran a scan, which was easy – and extremely quick – 16 seconds only. It detected 24 threats, but listed only four names (none of those SmartWebSearch). I'm attaching a screenshot of the scan result.

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  • Screenshot 2020-11-07 at 16.30.15.png

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#4
Gary R

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OK, if you haven't already quarantined the items detected, then run the scan again and this time when the Scan results appear click on the Quarantine button to quarantine them.

 

Once that's done, run another scan to make sure that nothing further is detected.

 

If you get a clean scan now, then see whether your machine is running any better and please let me know.


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#5
sue.words

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Gary

Just thought I should get back to you to say that while I'm not super confident I am out of the wood yet, the signs are good. Since I quarantined all the items Malwarebytes detected I don't remember having any of the problems I described above.

Thank you very much for your help!


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#6
sue.words

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Incidentally, as I think you told me to, I did run the scan several times, just to make sure.


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#7
Gary R

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You're welcome, glad to hear that your computer appears to be behaving normally again.

 

If your Malwarebytes scans are now coming back clean, then it is likely that any infection has been removed, and your problems should not recur.

 

You can now either uninstall Malwarebytes, or keep it as an "on demand" scanner, whichever suits you best.

 

I'll leave this topic open for a couple of days, just in case you need to post again, but if I don't hear anything further from you then I'll close it after that time and mark it as solved.


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#8
sue.words

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Thank you, again, Gary. I thought much the same (about waiting a few days, I mean).

I'll keep Malwarebytes on my computer just in case.


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#9
Gary R

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This topic is now closed.

 

If you are the OP and you need it re-opening, please contact me, or a moderator.


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