Guide to Remove Ecosia browser hijacker –
Developed by a Germany based IT Firm, the nasty Ecosia browser hijacker first surfaced to the lime-light in year 2009. This browser extension claims to be a relevant search provider, just like Google. It asserts donating 80% of its ad revenue to plant trees & contribute in conserving the Earth.
While the authenticity of developer’s statements is still vague, many users of Ecosia Browser Extension have reported of its malicious behavior. Once installed, it overrides the default browser settings without the user’s consent & provides search results identical to that of Bing.com.
The cyber-security analysts, after detailed study of Ecosia’s behavior, have considered it as a Potentially Unwanted Program (PUP). Software Bundling & malware-laden websites/web-pages are suspected to be the prime spread techniques of Ecosia browser hijacker.
Many users found Ecosia extension added to their browser without their consent.
If you are looking for steps to remove Ecosia virus, you are at the right place. Refer to our comprehensive Ecosia virus removal instructions mentioned below.
Threat Summary of Ecosia Browser Hijacker –
||It alters default browser settings, redirects you to dubious sites & displays intrusive adverts & pop-ups.
||Sluggish PC performance, unable to restore the old settings, tracks your online activities
||Download Removal Tool
Threat Behavior of Ecosia Browser Hijacker –
Ecosia or Ecosia.org is a web search engine that claims to use its revenue to plant trees & contribute in conserving Earth’s environment. According to the description of this website, the developers declare to have planted over 70 million plants in countries such as Indonesia, Peru, Burkina Faso, Tanzania, Madagascar & Nicaragua, all with the help of its active users.
While the intention of the Ecosia’s developers sounds noble, the authenticity of these claims is dubious.
Once installed in the system, Ecosia Browser Hijacker takes over the installed browser completely & modifies the default browser settings without your permission. It controls your web-browsing by not showing you the relevant results, rather redirecting you to results that appear similar to that of Bing.com.
In addition to that, it makes the web browsing infuriating by displaying a lot of ads, pop-ups, discount coupons & links. It is suspected of tracking your online activities, gathering sensitive information & selling it to the third-parties.
Additional Problems found with Ecosia Virus:
While the analysts suspect adverts of causing privacy issues, developers claim that a user’s Personally Identifying Information (PII) is not stored for more than a week or so. Internet is brimming with various kinds of reviews for Ecosia browser Hijacker. Some users claim it to be a better & safe search engine, while others doubt the legitimacy of Ecosia’s Eco-friendly practices.
However, it should be noted that without displaying affiliated content & redirecting searches, planting trees & performing eco-friendly practices is not possible for Ecosia.
One cannot simply close eyes to the fact that Ecosia, in many cases, has stealthily entered the system & altered the default browser settings without the user’s knowledge.
Common Symptoms that validate the presence of Ecosia Browser Hijacker:
Following is the list of some common symptoms that you may observe in case Ecosia Virus has infected your system:
- Web searches are redirected to Bing.com
- Default browser settings are altered without your consent/knowledge
- Browser settings such as home-page & new tab are modified.
- Intrusive ads & pop-ups appear on the screen.
- Sluggish PC’s performance
- Search results are laden with lots of affiliated websites
It is evident by the symptoms that the presence of Ecosia is harmful for the system. Therefore, infected users are advised to immediately follow the instructions to remove Ecosia virus from the system.
UI of Ecosia Browser Extension
The UI of Ecosia Browser Extension clearly shows that it modifies the default browser settings. It changes the search engine & new tab functionality.
The UI contains a search tab, the icon of Ecosia above it & the up-to-minute number of trees planted by the Ecosia users.
Privacy Policies of Ecosia Browser Extension
The question-answers section on the Privacy Policies Page of Ecosia.org reveals its association with Bing Search Provider. It then declared to share user’s information with the third parties in order to address user’s query.
In case, the user does not want to be tracked by Ecosia, he/she can enable “DO NOT TRACK” feature in the user settings. By doing so, Ecosia claims that it will disable the Client ID & stop tracking the user.
Another question concerning the appearance of ads reveal that Ecosia generates income when a user clicks on the ads displaying next to the search results. It states to use the generated income for tree planting in various countries.
It also declares its association with Ad networks such as Bing Ad networks to display ads, which too based on the user’s query.
Distribution Techniques of Ecosia Browser Hijacker –
The developers of Ecosia Browser Extension use various strategies for malware distribution which include –
- Software Bundling: Software bundling is the process in which a malicious program is distributed with other free software, to get an unnoticed entry into your computer system. When a user installs a free application, the malicious programs gains a front door entry with the free application, the user has downloaded. Thus, it is a good idea to keep an eye on the installation screens while installing these free applications.
- Infected Storage Devices: Your system can also get infected by using removable media such as USB hard drives and jump drives without scanning them with an anti-virus.
- Spam Emails – Spamming is the most economic and common method used for the distribution of such malware. The targeted users get genuine looking emails which contain .doc, .txt, and other similar attachments. These attachments can be named as anything which can grab the user’s attention and triggers him/her to open the attachment. As soon as the user opens this attachment, the malware infects the user’s computer system.
- Malicious Websites or Malevolent Advertisements: The malicious websites are the ones which are created just for promoting the malware infections. Such websites include but are not limited to porn sites, torrent sites and other free downloading platforms. By visiting such websites, the adware infects the user’s computer without permission. Fake advertisements and updates like Flash player and windows updates which ask the user to update to the latest version are a few examples. When the users click on such links, their computer system gets infected. That is why, it is highly recommended to resist clicking on such links. Also avoid clicking on advertisements offering free stuff such as Win an iPhones, cars or free overseas trips etc.
Download Vipre Malware Remover
Ecosia browser hijacker removal steps:
STEP A: Remove unwanted & suspicious browser extension
STEP B: Restore the Settings changed by the Browser Hijacker
- Open Google chrome and click on the three vertical dots () located on the top right corner of the Chrome Window.
- From the Drop down menu that appears, click on the “Settings”. A new browser tab will open up, displaying all the settings.
- 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.
- After this, we will go to the “Search Engine “section.
- 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”.
- 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 () and select the option “Remove from list”.
- You can make Google or any other preferred browser as your Default Search Engine by clicking the three vertical dots () and clicking on the “Make default” option.
- 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 () and selecting “Remove”.
- 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”.
- 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 task-bar. Right click on the shortcut and a context menu will appear. On this menu select the last option that reads Properties.
- 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”
- Click OK at the end to save the changes.
How to prevent Ecosia browser hijacker from infecting your system
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Use Anti-Virus Protection- We strongly recommend the use of antivirus protection/internet security in your PC like Vipre and BULL GUARD so that it remains safe.
- 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.