Remove HorizonElite Adware (Virus Removal Guide)

HorizonElite is a potentially unwanted program that injects advertisements into websites you visit and changes your browser’s default search engine and homepage. HorizonElite is commonly bundled with other programs that you download from the Internet.

Image: HorizonElite Mac browser hijacker
Image: HorizonElite Mac browser hijacker
Image: HorizonElite Mac installation
Image: HorizonElite Mac installation

What is HorizonElite?

HorizonElite is a malicious program that hijacks your browser homepage and search engine and displays unwanted advertisements not originating from the sites you are browsing. To do this, HorizonElite uses a browser extension or program.

When installed on a computer, the HorizonElite browser hijacker will redirect your browser search queries through HorizonElite Search, which will redirect to search result pages from This is most likely done to generate advertising revenue by using Yahoo Search for its search results.
HorizonElite will also open new tabs in the browser that display advertisements trying to sell software, push fake software updates, and tech support scams.

When the HorizonElite browser hijacker is installed on a computer, common symptoms include:

  • Your web browser’s default search engine is HorizonElite Search
  • Your browser’s search queries are redirected through HorizonElite Search
  • The “HorizonElite” browser extension or program is installed on your Mac

How was HorizonElite installed on my computer?

HorizonElite is installed by the users, whether that is knowingly or not. Often, this type of program is offered through advertisements or bundled with other software, leaving the user puzzled about where this software came from.
Unfortunately, some free downloads do not adequately disclose that other software will also be installed and you may find that you have installed HorizonElite without your knowledge.

Image: Malicious Ad distributing HorizonElite
Image: Malicious Ads distributing HorizonElite

If you do not know how HorizonElite was installed or are concerned other extensions or unwanted programs may be installed on your Mac, you can use the removal guide below.

Removal instructions for HorizonElite browser hijacker

This malware removal guide may appear overwhelming due to the number of steps and numerous programs that are being used. We have only written it this way to provide clear, detailed, and easy-to-understand instructions that anyone can use to remove malware for free.
Please perform all the steps in the correct order. If you have any questions or doubts at any point, stop and ask for our assistance.
To remove HorizonElite from your Mac, follow these steps:

STEP 1: Remove malicious Profiles from your Mac

Profiles are used by IT admins in businesses to control the behavior of their Macs. These profiles can configure a Mac to do many different things, some of which are not otherwise possible.
When it comes to home users, adware and browser hijackers are using the configuration profile to prevent users from removing malicious programs from the computer. This also prevents the user from changing that behavior in the browser’s settings.
In this first step, we will check your computer to see if any configuration profiles are installed. To do this, follow the below steps:

  1. Open “System Preferences”

    From the Apple menu, select System Preferences.

  2. Search for “Profiles”

    When the System Preferences window opens, search for the Profiles icon.
    Search for Profiles in System Preferences

    If there isn’t a Profiles icon, you don’t have any profiles installed, which is normal and you can continue with the next steps.
  3. Remove the malicious profiles

    If there’s a Profile icon, click on it and select any suspicious profile that you want to remove, and then press the – (minus) button. Click Remove to remove the profile.
    Remove malicious profiles from your Mac

STEP 2: Remove HorizonElite from Mac

In this next step, we will uninstall HorizonElite and remove its files from your computer. Sometimes the HorizonElite browser hijacker can have a usable Uninstall entry that can be used to remove it.

  1. Quit “HorizonElite”

    On the Apple menu bar, in the top-right corner, if you see the HorizonElite icon, click on it and then select Quit.

  2. Open “Finder”

    Click the Finder application on your dock.
    Open Finder

  3. Click on “Applications”

    In the Finder left pane, click on “Applications“.
    Click on Applications

  4. Find and remove HorizonElite.

    The “Applications” screen will be displayed with a list of all the apps installed on your device. Scroll through the list until you find HorizonElite, right-click it, and then click “Move to Trash”.

    There may be other malicious programs installed on your Mac. Look out for any suspicious program that could be behind all the drama – anything you don’t remember downloading or that doesn’t sound like a genuine program.

    Find HorizonElite and Remove It

  5. Remove HorizonElite files

    1. Click the desktop to make sure you’re in the Finder, choose “Go” then click on “Go to Folder“.
      Go to Folder mac
    2. Type or copy/paste each of the below paths into the window that opens, then click Go.
      • /Library/LaunchAgents/
      • ~/Library/LaunchAgents/
      • /Library/Application Support/
      • /Library/LaunchDaemons/

      Type the commands in the Go to Folder window

    3. In each of these folders, search for any recently-added suspicious files and move them to the Trash. Usually the name of theses files will contain “HorizonElite”, similar to these : “com.HorizonElite.plist” “installmac.AppRemoval.plist”, “”, “mykotlerino.ltvbit.plist”, or “”.

Now that we’ve uninstalled HorizonElite, in the next step we will scan your computer for any infections, adware, or potentially unwanted programs that may be present on your device.

STEP 3: Use Malwarebytes for Mac to remove HorizonElite and other malware

In this third step, we will download, install and run a scan with Malwarebytes for Mac to remove HorizonElite and other malware from your Mac.

Malwarebytes for Mac is an on-demand scanner that takes out malware, adware, spyware, and other threats before they can infect your machine and ruin your day.

  1. Download Malwarebytes for Mac.

    You can download Malwarebytes for Mac by clicking the link below.

    (The above link will open a new page from where you can download Malwarebytes for Mac)
  2. Double-click on the Malwarebytes setup file.

    When Malwarebytes has finished downloading, double-click on the setup file to install Malwarebytes on your computer. In most cases, downloaded files are saved to the Downloads folder.

    Double-click on setup file to install Malwarebytes

  3. Follow the on-screen prompts to install Malwarebytes.

    When the Malwarebytes installation begins, you will see the Malwarebytes for Mac Installer which will guide you through the installation process. Click “Continue“, then keep following the prompts to continue with the installation process.

    Click Continue to install Malwarebytes for Mac

    Click again on Continue to install Malwarebytes for Mac for Mac

    Click Install to install Malwarebytes on Mac

    When your Malwarebytes installation completes, the program opens to the Welcome to Malwarebytes screen. Click the “Get started” button.

  4. Select “Personal Computer” or “Work Computer”.

    The Malwarebytes Welcome screen will first ask you what type of computer are you installing this program, click either Personal Computer or Work Computer.
    Select Personal Computer or Work Computer mac

  5. Click on “Scan”.

    To scan your computer with Malwarebytes, click on the “Scan” button. Malwarebytes will automatically update the antivirus database and start scanning your computer for the HorizonElite malware.
    Click on Scan button to start a system scan for HorizonElite

  6. Wait for the Malwarebytes scan to complete.

    Malwarebytes will scan your computer for HorizonElite and other malicious programs. This process can take a few minutes, so we suggest you do something else and periodically check on the status of the scan to see when it is finished.
    Wait for Malwarebytes for Mac to scan for HorizonElite browser hijacker

  7. Click on “Quarantine”.

    When the scan has been completed, you will be presented with a screen showing the malware infections that Malwarebytes has detected. To remove HorizonElite and other malicious programs that Malwarebytes has found, click on the “Quarantine” button.
    Review the malicious programs and click on Quarantine HorizonElite browser hijacker

  8. Restart computer.

    Malwarebytes will now remove HorizonElite and other malicious files that it has found. To complete the malware removal process, Malwarebytes may ask you to restart your computer.
    Malwarebytes For Mac requesting to restart computer
    When the malware removal process is complete, you can close Malwarebytes and continue with the rest of the instructions.

STEP 4: Remove HorizonElite from Safari, Chrome, or Firefox

In this final step, we will remove the HorizonElite browser extension, its search engine, and any spam browser notifications.

SafariChromeFirefox for Mac

Remove HorizonElite browser hijacker from Safari

To remove the HorizonElite browser hijacker from Safari we will check if there are any malicious extensions installeded on your browser and what settings have been changed by this malicious program.

  1. Go to Safari’s “Preferences”.

    On the menu bar, click the “Safari” menu and select “Preferences”.
    On the Menu bar Click on Safari then Preference

  2. Check Homepage.

    This will open a new window with your Safari preferences, opened to the “General” tab. Some browser hijackers may change your default homepage, so in the Homepage field make sure it’s a web page you want to use as your start-up page.

    Change Homepage in Safari

  3. Click “Extensions”

    Next, click on the “Extensions” tab.
    Click on Extensions MacOS

  4. Find and uninstall HorizonElite.

    The “Extensions” screen will be displayed with a list of all the extensions installed on Safari. Scroll through the list until you find the HorizonElite extension, and then click on “Uninstall” to remove it.

    There may be other malicious extensions installed. Look out for any suspicious browser extension that could be behind all the drama – anything you don’t remember downloading or that doesn’t sound like a genuine extension. By default, there are no extensions installed on Safari so it’s safe to remove any extension.

    Click on Uninstall to remove HorizonElite

  5. Remove spam notifications ads

    Click Preferences, click Websites, then click Notifications. Deselect “Allow websites to ask for permission to send push notifications”.

    Deselect Allow websites to ask for permission to send push notifications

If the above steps didn’t help you remove the HorizonElite browser hijacker from Safari, you can follow the below steps:

  • Workaround for greyed out Safari’s homepage
    In some cases, after being changed by browser hijackers or malware, Safari’s home page can become stuck (greyed out). You will be able to edit the Homepage field in Safari’s preferences, but the change will not stick. This appears to be a bug, and there is an odd workaround. Try this:

    1. In Safari, choose Preferences from the Safari menu.
    2. In the window that opens, click the General icon (if necessary)
    3. Enter your desired home page in the “Homepage” field, but DO NOT press return!
    4. At the top of the window, click any of the other icons (eg, Tabs, AutoFill, etc).
    5. You may see a prompt asking for confirmation for changing the home page. If so, confirm.
    6. Switch back to the General page and check to make sure the home page has been changed.
  • Delete Safari’s preferences file to remove malicious changes
    Some malicious programs are known to install managed preferences to set the homepage and search engine settings in Safari. If the above options didn’t help you remove the malicious redirects, we’ll need to delete Safari’s preferences. To do this, follow the below steps:

    1. Quit Safari
    2. Click the desktop to make sure you’re in the Finder, choose “Go” then click on “Go to Folder“.
      Go to Folder mac
    3. Type or copy/paste the following path into the window that opens, then click Go: ~/Library/Preferences/
    4. If the file is found, delete it, then re-open Safari

Remove HorizonElite browser hijacker from Chrome for Mac

To remove the HorizonElite browser hijacker from Chrome for Mac we will reset the browser settings to its default. Resetting your browser settings will reset the unwanted changes caused by installing other programs. However, your saved bookmarks and passwords will not be cleared or changed.

  1. Click on the three dots at the top right and click “Settings”.

    Click on Chrome’s main menu button, represented by three dots at the top right corner. Now click on the menu option labeled Settings as shown by the arrow in the picture below, which will open the basic settings screen.
    Image - Click on the Chrome menu button then on the Settings button

  2. At the bottom, click “Advanced”.

    Chrome’s “Settings” should now be displayed in a new tab or window, depending on your configuration. Next, scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the “Advanced” link (as seen in the below example).
    Click on the Advanced button MacOS

  3. Under the section “Reset,” click “Reset”.

    Chrome’s advanced settings should now be displayed. Scroll down until the “Reset and clean up” section is visible, as shown in the example below. Next, click on the “Reset settings to their original defaults” button.
    Scroll down and click on the Reset button MacOS

  4. Confirm by clicking “Reset”.

    A confirmation dialog should now be displayed, detailing the components that will be restored to their default state should you continue with the reset process. To complete the restoration process, click on the “Reset Settings” button.
    Click on Reset Settings to restore Google Chrome to its default settings MacOS

If the above steps didn’t help you remove the HorizonElite browser hijacker from Chrome, you can follow the below steps:

  • Remove the unwanted policies created by malware from Chrome
    In many cases, changes to Chrome may not be fixed with a simple browser reset. In such a case, a malicious program may have created unwanted policies on your browser. You can check if any unwanted policies are loaded into the browser by typing chrome://policy into the URL bar.
    To reset these policies, follow these steps:

    1. Open a new Terminal window. To do this, go to Finder > Go > Utilities > Terminal
    2. Enter the following commands, pressing enter after each line:
      • defaults write HomepageIsNewTabPage -bool false
      • defaults write NewTabPageLocation -string “”
      • defaults write HomepageLocation -string “”
      • defaults delete DefaultSearchProviderSearchURL
      • defaults delete DefaultSearchProviderNewTabURL
      • defaults delete DefaultSearchProviderName
      • defaults delete ExtensionInstallSources
    3. After running these commands, quit Chrome if you haven’t already done so, then launch it again and check chrome://policy to see if the same keys are still present (you may need to click the “Reload policies” button for changes to show up). If they’re gone, you should be able to change your search engine and home page back to your preferred defaults in Chrome’s settings.
  • Remove the “Managed by your organization” policy from Chrome
    Some malicious programs are known to install managed preferences to set the home page and search engine settings in Chrome. To check for these, do the following:

    1. Quit Chrome
    2. Click the desktop to make sure you’re in the Finder, choose “Go” then click on “Go to Folder“.
      Go to Folder mac
    3. Type or copy/paste the following path into the window that opens, then click Go: /Library/Managed Preferences/
    4. Paste the below path into the window that opens, then click Go:
      Look for the following files, where [username] is your username:

      • [username]/
      • [username]/complete.plist

      These may be legitimate, so open these files with TextEdit and see if they have links to the troublesome site in them. If they do, delete them and restart Chrome.

  • Uninstall Google Chrome from your computer
    If the above options didn’t help you remove the malicious redirects, it is easier to completely remove Chrome and all data, then reinstall the browser. To do this, click the Finder icon, from the menu bar. Choose Go, and click Go to Folder, then paste one of the below paths into the window that opens.
    You will need to delete all of the below items, but before doing this be aware that this will delete all data for all Google apps you have installed, such as your bookmarks, so you will need to export them before doing this.

    • /Applications/
    • /Library/Application Support/Google/
    • /Library/Google/
    • ~/Library/Application Support/Google/
    • ~/Library/Google/
    • ~/Library/Preferences/

    Note: The “~” indicates that it’s the current user’s Library which is often invisible in recent versions of macOS. To get to it you must hold down the Option (sometimes labeled Alt) key and select Library from the Finder’s Go menu.

    After deleting all of the above files, restart your device. You can now download and re-install Google Chrome on your device. You will need to import any exported bookmarks or other data and may need to reinstall any other Google apps that you use.

Remove HorizonElite browser hijacker from Firefox for Mac

To remove the HorizonElite browser hijacker from Firefox for Mac we will reset the browser settings to its default. The reset feature fixes many issues by restoring Firefox to its factory default state while saving your essential information like bookmarks, passwords, web form auto-fill information, browsing history, and open tabs.

  1. Go to the “Help” menu.

    Click on Firefox’s main menu button, represented by three horizontal lines. When the drop-down menu appears, select the option labeled “Help“.
    Click on the Firefox Menu button then select Help MacOS

  2. Click “Troubleshooting Information”.

    From the Help menu, click on “Troubleshooting Information“.

    If you’re unable to access the “Help” menu, type about:support in your address bar to bring up the Troubleshooting information page.

    Troubleshooting Information option in Firefox MacOS

  3. Click on “Refresh Firefox”

    Click the “Refresh Firefox” button in the upper-right corner of the “Troubleshooting Information” page.
    Click on the Refresh Firefox button MacOS

  4. Confirm.

    To continue, click on the “Refresh Firefox” button in the new confirmation window that opens.
    Click again on Refresh Firefox button macos

  5. Click on “Finish”.

    Firefox will close itself and will revert to its default settings. When it’s done, a window will list the information that was imported. Click on the “Finish“.

Your old Firefox profile will be placed on your desktop in a folder named “Old Firefox Data“. If the reset didn’t fix your problem you can restore some of the information not saved by copying files to the new profile that was created. If you don’t need this folder any longer, you should delete it as it contains sensitive information.

Your computer should now be free of the HorizonElite browser hijacker. If your current antivirus allowed a malicious program on your computer, you might want to consider purchasing Malwarebytes Premium to protect against these types of threats in the future.

If you are still experiencing problems while trying to remove a malicious program from your computer, please ask for help in our Mac Malware Removal Help & Support forum.

How to stay safe online

Here are 10 basic security tips to help you avoid malware and protect your device:

  1. Use a good antivirus and keep it up-to-date.

    Shield Guide

    It's essential to use a good quality antivirus and keep it up-to-date to stay ahead of the latest cyber threats. We are huge fans of Malwarebytes Premium and use it on all of our devices, including Windows and Mac computers as well as our mobile devices. Malwarebytes sits beside your traditional antivirus, filling in any gaps in its defenses, and providing extra protection against sneakier security threats.

  2. Keep software and operating systems up-to-date.


    Keep your operating system and apps up to date. Whenever an update is released for your device, download and install it right away. These updates often include security fixes, vulnerability patches, and other necessary maintenance.

  3. Be careful when installing programs and apps.

    install guide

    Pay close attention to installation screens and license agreements when installing software. Custom or advanced installation options will often disclose any third-party software that is also being installed. Take great care in every stage of the process and make sure you know what it is you're agreeing to before you click "Next."

  4. Install an ad blocker.

    Ad Blocker

    Use a browser-based content blocker, like AdGuard. Content blockers help stop malicious ads, Trojans, phishing, and other undesirable content that an antivirus product alone may not stop.

  5. Be careful what you download.

    Trojan Horse

    A top goal of cybercriminals is to trick you into downloading malware—programs or apps that carry malware or try to steal information. This malware can be disguised as an app: anything from a popular game to something that checks traffic or the weather.

  6. Be alert for people trying to trick you.

    warning sign

    Whether it's your email, phone, messenger, or other applications, always be alert and on guard for someone trying to trick you into clicking on links or replying to messages. Remember that it's easy to spoof phone numbers, so a familiar name or number doesn't make messages more trustworthy.

  7. Back up your data.

    backup sign

    Back up your data frequently and check that your backup data can be restored. You can do this manually on an external HDD/USB stick, or automatically using backup software. This is also the best way to counter ransomware. Never connect the backup drive to a computer if you suspect that the computer is infected with malware.

  8. Choose strong passwords.

    lock sign

    Use strong and unique passwords for each of your accounts. Avoid using personal information or easily guessable words in your passwords. Enable two-factor authentication (2FA) on your accounts whenever possible.

  9. Be careful where you click.

    cursor sign

    Be cautious when clicking on links or downloading attachments from unknown sources. These could potentially contain malware or phishing scams.

  10. Don't use pirated software.

    Shady Guide

    Avoid using Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file-sharing programs, keygens, cracks, and other pirated software that can often compromise your data, privacy, or both.

To avoid potential dangers on the internet, it's important to follow these 10 basic safety rules. By doing so, you can protect yourself from many of the unpleasant surprises that can arise when using the web.

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