Privatesearchprotection.com
Browser Hijacker | 06/07/2018

Guide to remove Privatesearchprotection.com redirect

About: Privatesearchprotection.com is a suspicious search tool that takes over the default homepage and floods the web page with intrusive ads and suspicious pop- ups. The search engine is designed with the sole purpose to generate online profits by ...  Read More  

| Browser Hijacker | Guide to remove Privatesearchprotection.com redirect

What is Privatesearchprotection.com Redirect?

Privatesearchprotection.com is a suspicious search tool that establishes its malicious extension on the browser page and takes over the homepage with the sole intention to promote a program called Private Search Protection. This Browser Hijacker redirects all the online queries to Private Search Protection Servers where user’s searches and online activities are monitored.

The search engine is designed with the sole purpose to generate online profits by displaying advertisements on search result pages. Also user’s searched outcomes aim to display links of partner websites to deliver the traffic to the allies to earn profits.

privatesearchprotection

privatesearchprotection

How does your system become a victim of this Malware?

  1. Software Bundles: Privatesearchprotection.com makes use of free software programs to spread its copy. This unwanted program gets installed along with these freeware as they do not disclose the attachment of such dubious browser extensions in their payload files. As a result the malware gets secretly installed on the system without the knowledge of the user.
  2. Spam email attachments: This noxious OS infection can also proliferate via spam email attachments. Downloading infectious files without checking email specs may also lead to infecting the computer with this malicious software.
  3. Accidental click on fake updates, dubious links and sudden pop-ups that force users for immediate software updates can lead to the malware infestation. It is therefore always recommended to install software updates from the official company website.

Threats posed by the virus to the system?

Regardless of the annoying and troublesome actions, Privatesearchprotection.com is not considered as a serious risk to the operating system and installed programs. However, redirection to superfluous web pages is a potential risk where the system may encounter various threats.

  1. Customized Browser Settings: Once the malicious extension is established on the browser, Private.search-protection.com changes the browser settings. As a result the default homepage of the browser is replaced. Search bar along with numerous icons to quickly access popular websites is changed.
  2. Browser flooded with pop- ups and advertisements: Web browsers affected by this infection pester the computer users with suspicious pop-up windows and intrusive advertisements. This affects the computer system and renders the browsing inconvenient.
  3. Affects system Performance and render it sluggish: The malicious system program may affect the computer performance significantly. They may also serve as a gateway to other infections or more severe problems down the line.
  4. Threat to user sensitive data: Once infiltrated, this harmful infection keeps an eye on user browsing activity and collects online banking data, which in turn is used by cyber attackers to access user’s bank accounts.

Threat Summary

Name: Privatesearchprotection.com

Browsers Affected: Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Safari

Targeted Operating System: Windows and MAC

Category: Browser Hijacker

Symptoms: Customized browser settings, appearance of annoying ads, popups that may redirect the user to another webpage and interrupt their browsing activity, unethical network activities, and occasional sluggishness of the infected device.

Browsers will continue to be manipulated by Privatesearchprotection.com as long as the program exists on the browser. If you want to get rid of this infection please execute the removal procedures below as soon as possible.

How to Remove Privatesearchprotection.com redirect from your computer system?

Note: Before we begin, try to remember how the extension got downloaded  on your computer system. Generally, these programs come bundled with free applications that we download off the internet. It is a good practice to locate and uninstall such programs while removing the Browser Hijacker/ Extensions.

Step A: Remove the malicious program from Control Panel

 

Windows XP

  1. Click on the “Start” button on the bottom left corner of your screen. A Start menu will be displayed as shown below. From this menu select the option that reads “Control Panel”.Windows XP start menu image
  2. In the window that will be displayed, click the option “Switch to classic view”.Control panel switch to classic view
  3. This will display all the options/icons available to you. From the displayed icons, click on the icon that reads “Add or Remove Programs”.Windows XP add or remove a program
  4. Select the “Uninstall a program” option from the “Programs” category. A list will populate on the screen displaying all the programs.Uninstall a malicious program
  5. Select the programs related to Privatesearchprotection.com  and click on the Uninstall button.Windows XP confirmation window

Windows 7/Vista

  1. Right click on the “Start” button located at the lower left corner of the screen. From the Start menu, click on “Control Panel”.Windows 7 start menu
  2. The “Control Panel” Window will be displayed on the screen. Click on “Uninstall a Program” option from the “Programs” category.Uninstall a program from windows 7
  3. The “Programs and Features” window will be displayed on the screen. A list will populate on the screen displaying all the programs.
  4. Scroll though the list of programs and select the programs related to Privatesearchprotection.com and then click on the “Uninstall” button.uninstall a program in Windows 7

Windows 8/10

  1. Right click on the “Windows logo” on the lower left side of the computer screen. From the drop down menu, select and click on “Control Panel”.Windows 10 start menu
  2. The “Control Panel” window will be displayed. From this window select “Uninstall a program” option form the “Programs” category.Control panel
  3. A list will populate on the screen displaying all the programs.select programs and features option
  4. Select the programs related to Privatesearchprotection.com and click on the “Uninstall” button.uninstall a program in windows 8
  5. In the confirmation box, click on the box that reads “OK” to save changes.

STEP B: Reset your browser to the default settings

Google Chrome

  1. Open Google chrome and click on the three vertical dots (Chrome menu icon) located on the top right corner of the Chrome Window.Settings-Chrome
  2. From the Drop down menu that appears, click on the “Settings”. A new browser tab will open up, displaying all the settings.Settings-Chrome
  3. Now, we will make changes to the appearance section. Under the “Appearances” section, we will enable the “Show Home Button” option. You can select New Tab page or can add Google or any of your preferred browsers under the “Show Home Button” option.Appearance- Chrome
  4. After this, we will go to the “Search Engine “section.
  5. Here, make Google or any of your preferred browsers as your default browser in the drop-down menu under the option “Search engine used in the address bar”.Search Engine- Chrome
  6. After this click on Manage Search Engines. Now you can remove Other Search Engines that were added by the browser hijacker. Simply click the three vertical dots (Chrome menu icon) and select the option “Remove from list”. Other Search Engines-Chrome
  7. You can make Google or any other preferred browser as your Default Search Engine by clicking the three vertical dots (Chrome menu icon) and clicking on the “Make default” option.
    Manage Search Engines- Chrome
  8. At the end, we will go to the section “On Startup”. You can select the “Open the New Tab page” or can “Continue where you left off”.  If you want to open a specific page or set of pages, select the option “Open a specific page or set of pages”  and remove any pages added by the browser hijacker by clicking on the three vertical dots (Chrome menu icon ) and selecting “Remove”.On startup-Chrome
  9. Then, add Google or any of your desired URL in “Add a new page” option under the “Open a specific page or set of pages”.Add a New Page- Chrome
  10. This is a very important step and we would like you to pay very close attention here. This step has to be repeated with all the shortcuts to the browser that you can locate; like your desktop, start menu and the shortcut pinned to your taskbar. Right click on the shortcut and a context menu will appear. On this menu select the last option that reads Properties.
    Reset Chrome properties
  11. A Google Chrome Properties Dialogue box will appear as below. Replace whatever is there in the text box next to the label Target with the following: Make sure that inverted commas are included.“C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe”
    Chrome target location
  12. Click OK at the end to save the changes.

Mozilla Firefox

  1. Open Mozilla Firefox and click on the three horizontal lines (Mozilla Firefox menu icon ) i.e. Open Menu located on the top right corner of the Firefox Window.
  2. From the drop down menu that is displayed, we have to right click on the (IE Gear icon Options to open the window.Firefox menu options
  3. Now, we will click Search, under the given options that are displayed in the left corner of the screen.
  4. You can choose Google or any of your preferred browsers as your default search engine to use in the address bar and search bar.Search-Firefox
  5. Then, you have to go to the (IE menu icon General and under “startup” section to make sure that Firefox is your default browser.
  6. At the end, we have to add Google or your preferred URL in the box given under Home Page.Startup-Firefox
  7. After this, you have to right click on the browser shortcuts that you can locate like your desktop, start menu and taskbar to which the application is pinned. A context menu will appear. On this menu select the last option that reads Properties.
    Properties in Mozilla Firefox
  8. A Firefox Properties Dialogue box will appear as below. Replace whatever is there in the text box next to the label Target with the following: Make sure that inverted commas are included.“C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe”
    Mozilla Firefox target location
  9. Click OK at the end to save the changes.

Internet Explorer

  1. Open Internet Explorer and click on the gear icon (Internet Explorer gear icon )which is at the top right corner of the Internet Explorer Window.Manage Add-Ons -Internet Explorer
  2. From the Drop down menu that appears, click on the “Manage add-ons” A new browser tab will open up, displaying all the add-on types.Manage Add-Ons- Internet Explorer
  3. Now, we will click on the “Search Providers” option from the list of options displayed on the left hand side of the screen. Then we will click “Find more search providers” option given at the lower left corner of the Manage add-onsFind More Search providers-Internet Explorer
  4. This will open an Internet Explorer Gallery; from here you can add Google search or any of your preferred add-ons as your default browser.Internet Explorer Gallery
  5. Next, you are required to go to the “Manage add-ons” window and click on the “Search Providers” option under the Add-on Types.
  6. Here, you can enable Google Search or any of your preferred browsers as your default browser in the list of search providers.Search Providers- Internet Explorer
  7. At the end, we will click on the gear icon (IE gear icon )which is at the top right corner of the screen and select “Internet Options” from the drop-down menu.Internet Options- Internet Explorer
  8. A new window will open displaying the Internet options. In the “Internet Options” window, add Google or any of your desired URL under the Create Home Page option and click OK.Create Home Page- Internet Explorer
  9. After this, you have to right click on the browser shortcuts that you can locate like your desktop, start menu and taskbar to which the application is pinned.  A context menu will appear. On this menu select the last option that reads Properties.
    Settings for Internet Explorer
  10. An Internet Explorer Properties Dialogue box will appear as below. Replace whatever is there in the text box next to the label Target with the following: Make sure that inverted commas are included.“C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe”Target column in Internet Explorer
  11. Click OK at the end to save the changes.

STEP C: Reset Your Browser’s Home and Search pages

Mozilla Firefox

  1. Open Mozilla Firefox and click on the three horizontal lines (Mozilla Menu icon ) which are at the top right corner of the computer screen.
  2. A Drop down menu will be displayed. On this menu click on the “Help” (Mozilla help icon) button as shown in the image below. The Help menu will be displayed on the screen.Mozilla firefox menu screenshot
  3. From this menu click the option that reads “Troubleshooting information“. A new tab will open up with the <strong”>Troubleshooting information.
    Choose troubleshooting information from Mozilla Firefox menu
  4. On the Troubleshooting Information page, click on the button that reads “Refresh Firefox” as shown in the image below.Mozilla reset option
  5. The “Refresh Firefox” message box will pop up on the screen. On this message box click on the “Refresh Firefox” button.Refresh Firefox
  6. After this Firefox will close itself and a new window will be displayed which will list the information that is imported. Click on the option that reads “Finish” to complete the task.

Google Chrome

  1. Open Google chrome and click on the three vertical dots (Menu Icon-Chrome ) which is at the top right corner of the computer screen. A drop down menu will appear on the screen. From this menu choose the option that reads “Settings”.Google Chrome menu
  2. The Chrome’s settings window will be displayed on the screen. On this screen scroll through the bottom of the page and click on the option that reads “Advanced option” as shown below.Google Chrome advance settings
  3. The Advanced setting options will be displayed on the screen. Scroll through the list of options till you find the “ Reset browser settings” section. Click on the icon as shown below.Reset Chrome option
  4. The reset dialogue box will pop up on the screen. From this dialogue box click on the button that reads “Reset”.

Internet Explorer

  1. Open Internet Explorer and click on the gear icon (Internet explorer gear icon ) which is at the top right corner of the browser screen. A drop down menu will be displayed on the screen. From this drop down menu, click on the option that reads “Internet options”.IE - internet options
  2. The “Internet options” dialogue box will be displayed. Click on the “Advanced” tab. In the Advanced tab click on the button that reads “Reset” as shown in the image below. The “Reset Internet Explorer Settings” section will be displayed on the screen. Now click on the button that reads “Reset” .Precautions: In this dialogue box make sure to uncheck the “Delete Personal settings” option to save your passwords and other important data.Reset Internet Explorer settings
  3. When it’s done, click on the button that reads “Close” to complete the task. Now close and reopen your browser.Close Reset Internet Explorer

STEP D:  Remove malicious extensions from your browser

Google Chrome

  1. Open Google Chrome and click on the three vertical dots (Google chrome menu icon ) i.e.Menu option which are located at the upper right corner of the Chrome Window.
  2. Find and click on More tools from the drop down menu that is displayed & select Extensions or you can open a Chrome window and type “chrome://extensions” in the address bar.google chrome menu options
  3. Check the developer mode option which is located opposite to extensions heading on the top of the Chrome window. By enabling the developer mode, additional details and option related to all the installed extensions will be displayed. One of the details that will be displayed is the ID. ID is the folder name created by the extension at the location “C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions”.enable chrome developer mode
  4. Locate the extension you want to uninstall or delete. Copy and paste the folder name opposite to the ID Tag of that extension into a notepad file. In this case the folder name is “ealkbpibdmampgblpnainfmihpofjjgn”.copy the extension folder name in Chrome
  5. Now, uncheck the enabled option next to the extension in question. Make sure you also click the trash icon to delete the extension from the browser. It is important to note that even after uninstalling and deleting the extensions from the browser, the extension might not uninstall properly. Thus, it is a good practice to make sure that we have deleted the folder as mentioned in step 3.delete the malicious extension from Chrome
  6. Make sure that you have made the hidden files and folders visible.
  7. Open My Computer and go to “C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions”. Now, look for folder with the name as specified in Step 4 i.e. “ealkbpibdmampgblpnainfmihpofjjgn”. Delete the folder if present.show hidden files and folder
  8. Close and reopen the browser. It is also advisable to restart your computer once done.

Mozilla Firefox

  1. Open Mozilla Firefox, click on three horizontal lines (Mozilla icon ) at the top right corner of the Firefox Window and select the Add-ons option.Mozilla Firefox menu
  2. On the Add-ons manger page, select and click on the Extensions tab as shown below.FireFox manage Add-ons
  3. Find the extensions related to Privatesearchprotection.com and click on the remove button.
  4. In addition, try to remember how the extension got downloaded on your computer system. If this extension was bundled with some other software, then make sure to delete that as well.

Internet Explorer

  1. Open Internet Explorer, Click on the Gear icon (IE menu icon ) which is at the top right corner of the Internet Explorer Window.
  2. From the newly appeared dropdown menu, click on the option that reads Manage Add-ons.Internet explorer settings menu
  3. A new window will appear on the screen. On this window choose the option that reads Toolbar and Extensions. Under the Show option, select the option that reads “All add-ons”. This option will allow you to see all the browser extensions. Mozilla-manage add-ons toolbars and extensions page
  4. Select the Extension related to Privatesearchprotection.com and click on the Disable button which is at the bottom right of the computer screen.

IE toolbar and extensions in Manage add-ons

Apple's Safari

  1. On your Mac Desktop, click on the option that reads “Safari”.
  2. A drop down menu will appear as shown below. From this menu chose the option that reads “Preferences”.Safari menu extension options
  3. The Preferences window will appear on the screen, where the list of all your safari extensions will be shown.Safari extensions window
  4. On the list displayed at the left side of the screen, select the Extension you want to uninstall.
  5. Click on the Uninstall button to get rid of the extension.uninstall a program from Safari

STEP E:  Remove the Privatesearchprotection.com  from the task manager

  1. Launch the Task Manager Window by pressing Ctrl+ Shift+ Escape simultaneously. (The task manager window may vary depending on the OS ) OR bring the mouse cursor on the Task Bar (which is present at the bottom of the computer screen), right click on the empty space  and click on Task Manager.

                              Task Manager window for Windows 10

                                             Task Manager window for Windows 7

2 Right Click on the Suspicious File and select Open file Location.

3 In the File Location Screen that appears, Right click on the File and click on Delete, to delete the File permanently from the location.

OR

  1. Open Task Manager window again by following the  steps mentioned above.
  2. Click on the Startup tab.
  3. Select the suspicious entry and click on the Disable button present at the bottom right corner of the window

OR

  1. Open Task Manager window again by following the  steps mentioned above.
  2. Click on Services tab.
  3. Right click on the suspicious entry and click on Stop.

STEP F: Removing infection from the Target link:

The Malware may have hijacked your web browser’s desktop shortcuts. In this case we will need to manually clean them by removing any links within the startup argument.

  1. Locate your web browser shortcuts (Desktop, Taskbar or Start Menu), then right-click on it and select Properties. To view the Properties menu for the browser shortcut pinned to your Taskbar, right-click on the browser shortcut from the Taskbar. Right-click again on the browser icon and Select Properties.
  2. In the Shortcut tab, in the Target field, remove the url argument for Privatesearchprotection.com which starts with “http”. There should be only the path to the browser’s main file and end with .exe such as iexplore.exe, chrome.exe or firefox.exe These are the default shortcut path that should be there in your Target box, if there is anything else  you should remove it.

Tips to prevent your computer system from getting infected –

  1. Keeping the Operating System Updated- In order to remain protected and avoid such infections, it is recommended to keep your Operating System updated by enabling the automatic update on your system. The systems with outdated or older versions of Operating System become an easy target for the attackers.
  2. Resist clicking on spam emails – One of the major techniques used for malware distribution is forwarding spam emails to the user. The system gets infected as soon as the user clicks on the attachment. These mails appear to be genuine, so be aware and resist falling for these tricks.
  3. Keep an eye on third party installations- It is quite important that you take due care while installing any third party applications for they are major source of such infections. Such malware programs come bundled with the free applications thereby requiring the user to remain cautious.
  4. Regular periodical backup- In order to keep your data and files safe, it is recommended to take regular back up of all your data and files either on an external drive or cloud.
  5. Use Anti-Virus Protection- We strongly recommend the use of antivirus protection/internet security in your PC like Sophos and Hitman pro so that it remains safe.
  6. Enable the Ad Blocker/Popup Blocker in your browser- Enabling the popup blocker/ ad blocker in your chosen browser will help you to stay protected from annoying adware.

 

 

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