Ecosia.org virus. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Olivia Morelli - - | Type: Browser hijacker
12

Ecosia virus should never be allowed to change your homepage

The example of Ecosia.org

Ecosia virus is a questionable search engine which has been added to browser hijacker category. Once installed, it changes default search engine to its domain name and starts redirecting its victim to Ecosia.org site.

The main distribution technique used by this hijacker is bundling. Thus, it might be spread together with various free programs that you can download from the Internet. You can also download Ecosia from its official website directly to Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer or other browsers.

Developers present this program as a free search tool that generates advertising-based revenue for planting trees. According to their information, they have already planted more than 9 million trees with the help of 5.5 million active users in Indonesia,[1] Madagascar, Nicaragua, Peru, Burkina Faso, and Tanzania. Despite the ambitious and generous goal to plant a billion trees until 2020, Ecosia.org virus is still considered a potentially unwanted program (PUP).

After taking over the web browser, this hijacker start displaying sponsored content in ones search results. What is more, it can also be used for tracking users' searches, visited sites, IP address, and similar information. Collected data helps in setting the behavioral marketing[2] strategy.

This browser extension might also deliver an intrusive, aggressive, and in some cases, even dangerous commercial content. To protect yourself from redirects caused after clicking one of its ads, you should think about Ecosia.org removal from your computer.

Additional problems caused by this browser hijacker

As we have already mentioned, Ecosia hijack might be followed by misleading or fake ads that might redirect to high-risk websites. These sites might be created by cyber criminals who are looking for naive victims. Apart from redirecting users to suspicious sites and disturbing their browsing sessions with online ads, this search tool has another negative feature related to engine's functionality.

No matter that Ecosia.org claims that it is powered by Bing search, the Privacy Policy of this search site notifies that it might alter search results. Thus, in the top of the search results, you might find plenty of commercial content. As a result, finding useful information might be complicated.

Indeed, the idea of the project is beautiful. However, it’s better to remove Ecosia.org and donate the money directly to organizations that solve various environmental problems. Different researches have revealed that this program generates lots of online ads that might lead you to various cyber threats. Thus, scan your computer with Reimage and make sure that any other suspicious entries haven’t been installed to your PC as well.

The questionable infiltration method of Ecosia.org

No matter that this search engine has an official website, its developers have also been applying a controversial distribution strategy, called as “software bundles” or simply “bundling”.[3] This software marketing method allows adding PUP as an additional component to software packages.

Many programs that can be freely downloaded from P2P networks, file-sharing sites, torrents and other insecure sources are bundles that include various PUPs. Ecosia virus exactly like that. If you have noticed it on your computer, you must have downloaded some freeware or shareware under Quick/Recommended settings.

The problem with such setup is that it rarely inform about third-party applications included in a software package. However, installing programs under these settings, users give indirect permission to download the whole bundle. Meanwhile, Advanced/Custom installation wizard reveals what additional apps were added in the package and allows stopping their installation.

In order to avoid undesired programs, you have to always opt for this setup and carefully follow each of the steps.

Getting rid of Ecosia virus

Technically, Ecosia is not a virus. It’s a potentially unwanted program. However, due to negative features and ability to show up on the browser unexpectedly, this PUP was named as a virus. No matter that it cannot cause huge damage to the computer, you should not keep this hijacker installed on your computer.

To remove Ecosia virus, you have either manual or automatic removal options. You should select one of them as soon as it makes the appearance on your system because it can cause additional problems. Besides, our team has prepared provided illustrated removal instructions. Follow them carefully and make sure that you delete all hijacker-related entries entirely.

If manual Ecosia.org removal seems complicated, you should opt for the second option. Automatic elimination method offers to delete the hijacker with anti-malware program.

You can remove Ecosia.org automatically with a help of one of these programs: Reimage, Plumbytes Anti-MalwareWebroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus, Malwarebytes Anti Malware. We recommend these applications because they can easily delete potentially unwanted programs and viruses with all their files and registry entries that are related to them.

We might be affiliated with any product we recommend on the site. Full disclosure in our Agreement of Use. By Downloading any provided Anti-spyware software to remove Ecosia.org virus you agree to our privacy policy and agreement of use.
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What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove infection using Reimage, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage is recommended to uninstall Ecosia.org virus. Free scanner allows you to check whether your PC is infected or not. If you need to remove malware, you have to purchase the licensed version of Reimage malware removal tool.

More information about this program can be found in Reimage review.

More information about this program can be found in Reimage review.

Manual Ecosia.org virus Removal Guide:

WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Remove Ecosia.org from Windows systems

Reimage is a tool to detect malware.
You need to purchase Full version to remove infections.
More information about Reimage.

To remove this hijacker from Windows, check the list of installed programs and uninstall suspicious entries that might be related to the browser hijacker.

  1. Click Start Control Panel Programs and Features (if you are Windows XP user, click on Add/Remove Programs).Click 'Start -> Control Panel -> Programs and Features' (if you are 'Windows XP' user, click on 'Add/Remove Programs').
  2. If you are Windows 10 / Windows 8 user, then right-click in the lower left corner of the screen. Once Quick Access Menu shows up, select Control Panel and Uninstall a Program. If you are 'Windows 10 / Windows 8' user, then right-click in the lower left corner of the screen. Once 'Quick Access Menu' shows up, select 'Control Panel' and 'Uninstall a Program'.
  3. Uninstall Ecosia.org and related programs
    Here, look for Ecosia.org or any other recently installed suspicious programs.
  4. Uninstall them and click OK to save these changes. Right click on each of suspicious entries and select 'Uninstall'
  5. Remove Ecosia.org from Windows shortcuts
    Right click on the shortcut of Mozilla Firefox and select Properties. Right click on browsers' icon and select 'Properties'
  6. Go to Shortcut tab and look at the Target field. Delete malicious URL that is related to your virus. Select 'Shortcut' tab and delete 'http://isearch.babylon.com...' or other suspicious URL

Repeat steps that are given above with all browsers' shortcuts, including Internet Explorer and Google Chrome. Make sure you check all locations of these shortcuts, including Desktop, Start Menu and taskbar.

WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Remove Ecosia.org from Mac OS X system

Reimage is a tool to detect malware.
You need to purchase Full version to remove infections.
More information about Reimage.

In order to protect Mac and remove Ecosia from your computer, you have to delete suspicious applications from the system.

  1. If you are using OS X, click Go button at the top left of the screen and select Applications. Cick 'Go' and select 'Applications'
  2. Wait until you see Applications folder and look for Ecosia.org or any other suspicious programs on it. Now right click on every of such entries and select Move to Trash.Click on every malicious entry and select 'Move to Trash'
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Remove Ecosia.org from Internet Explorer (IE)

Reimage is a tool to detect malware.
You need to purchase Full version to remove infections.
More information about Reimage.

Reset IE browser in order to get rid of hijacker-related entries.

  1. Remove dangerous add-ons
    Open Internet Explorer, click on the Gear icon (IE menu) on the top right corner of the browser and choose Manage Add-ons. Click on menu icon and select 'Manage add-ons'
  2. You will see a Manage Add-ons window. Here, look for Ecosia.org and other suspicious plugins. Disable these entries by clicking Disable: Right click on each of malicious entries and select 'Disable'
  3. Change your homepage if it was altered by virus:
    Click on the gear icon (menu) on the top right corner of the browser and select Internet Options. Stay in General tab.
  4. Here, remove malicious URL and enter preferable domain name. Click Apply to save changes. Delete malicious URL, enter your desired domain name and click 'Apply' to save changes
  5. Reset Internet Explorer
    Click on the gear icon (menu) again and select Internet options. Go to Advanced tab.
  6. Here, select Reset.
  7. When in the new window, check Delete personal settings and select Reset again to complete Ecosia.org removal. Go to 'Advanced' tab and click on 'Reset' button. Now select 'Delete personal settings' and click on 'Reset' button again
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Remove Ecosia.org virus from Microsoft Edge

Reimage is a tool to detect malware.
You need to purchase Full version to remove infections.
More information about Reimage.

To clean Microsoft Edge after the hijack, follow the steps below.

Reset Microsoft Edge settings (Method 1):

  1. Launch Microsoft Edge app and click More (three dots at the top right corner of the screen).
  2. Click Settings to open more options.
  3. Once Settings window shows up, click Choose what to clear button under Clear browsing data option. Go to Settings and select 'Choose what to clear'
  4. Here, select all what you want to remove and click Clear. Select 'Clear' button
  5. Now you should right-click on the Start button (Windows logo). Here, select Task Manager. Open the start menu and select 'Task Manager'
  6. When in Processes tab, search for Microsoft Edge.
  7. Right-click on it and choose Go to details option. If can’t see Go to details option, click More details and repeat previous steps. Right-click 'Microsoft Edge' and select 'Go to details' Select 'More details' if 'Go to details' option fails to show up
  8. When Details tab shows up, find every entry with Microsoft Edge name in it. Right click on each of them and select End Task to end these entries. Find Microsoft Edge entries and select 'End Task'

Resetting Microsoft Edge browser (Method 2):

If Method 1 failed to help you, you need to use an advanced Edge reset method.

  1. Note: you need to backup your data before using this method.
  2. Find this folder on your computer: C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge_8wekyb3d8bbwe.
  3. Select every entry which is saved on it and right click with your mouse. Then Delete option. Go to Microsoft Edge folder on your computer, right-click every entry and click 'Delete'
  4. Click the Start button (Windows logo) and type in window power in Search my stuff line.
  5. Right-click the Windows PowerShell entry and choose Run as administrator. Find Windows PowerShell, right-click it and select 'Run as administrator'
  6. Once Administrator: Windows PowerShell window shows up, paste this command line after PS C:\WINDOWS\system32> and press Enter:
    Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers -Name Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register $($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml -Verbose}
    Copy and paste a required command and press 'Enter'

Once these steps are finished, Ecosia.org should be removed from your Microsoft Edge browser.

WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Remove Ecosia.org from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

Reimage is a tool to detect malware.
You need to purchase Full version to remove infections.
More information about Reimage.

Remove Ecosia browser extension, as well as other add-ons that may have been installed to Firefox. Then reset the browser. It helps to delete tracking cookies.

  1. Remove dangerous extensions
    Open Mozilla Firefox, click on the menu icon (top right corner) and select Add-ons Extensions. Click on menu icon and select 'Add-ons'
  2. Here, select Ecosia.org and other questionable plugins. Click Remove to delete these entries. Select 'Extensions' and look for malicious entries. Click 'Remove' to get rid of each of them
  3. Change your homepage if it was altered by virus:
    Click on the menu (top right corner), choose Options General.
  4. Here, delete malicious URL and enter preferable website or click Restore to default.
  5. Click OK to save these changes. When in 'General' tab, delete malicious URL from 'Home Page' section or click on 'Restore to Default' button. Click 'OK' to save changes
  6. Reset Mozilla Firefox
    Click on the Firefox menu on the top left and click on the question mark. Here, choose Troubleshooting Information. Click on menu icon and then on '?'. Select 'Troubleshooting Information'
  7. Now you will see Reset Firefox to its default state message with Reset Firefox button. Click this button for several times and complete Ecosia.org removal. Click on 'Reset Firefox' button for a couple of times
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Remove Ecosia.org from Google Chrome

Reimage is a tool to detect malware.
You need to purchase Full version to remove infections.
More information about Reimage.

To fix Chrome, look up for suspicious extensions and uninstall them. There might be installed some tracking cookies. Thus, you should remove them as well by resetting the browser.

  1. Delete malicious plugins
    Open Google Chrome, click on the menu icon (top right corner) and select Tools Extensions. Click on menu icon. Select 'Tools' and 'Extensions'
  2. Here, select Ecosia.org and other malicious plugins and select trash icon to delete these entries. Look for malicious entries and delete each of them by clicking on the Trash bin icon
  3. Change your homepage and default search engine if it was altered by your virus
    Click on menu icon and choose Settings.
  4. Here, look for the Open a specific page or set of pages under On startup option and click on Set pages. After clicking on menu and 'Settings', select 'Set pages'
  5. Now you should see another window. Here, delete malicious search sites and enter the one that you want to use as your homepage. Click 'X' to remove malicious URLs
  6. Click on menu icon again and choose Settings Manage Search engines under the Search section. When in 'Settings', select 'Manage search engines...'
  7. When in Search Engines..., remove malicious search sites. You should leave only Google or your preferred domain name. Click 'X' to remove malicious URLs
  8. Reset Google Chrome
    Click on menu icon on the top right of your Google Chrome and select Settings.
  9. Scroll down to the end of the page and click on Reset browser settings. When in 'Settings', scroll down to 'Reset browser settings' button and click on it
  10. Click Reset to confirm this action and complete Ecosia.org removal. Click on 'Reset' button to complete your removal
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Remove Ecosia.org from Safari

Reimage is a tool to detect malware.
You need to purchase Full version to remove infections.
More information about Reimage.

Follow the steps below to terminate the hijacker from Safari entirely.

  1. Remove dangerous extensions
    Open Safari web browser and click on Safari in menu at the top left of the screen. Once you do this, select Preferences. Click on 'Safari' and select 'Preferences'
  2. Here, select Extensions and look for Ecosia.org or other suspicious entries. Click on the Uninstall button to get rid each of them. Go to 'Extensions' and uninstall malicious add-ons
  3. Change your homepage if it was altered by virus:
    Open your Safari web browser and click on Safari in menu section. Here, select Preferences as it was displayed previously and select General.
  4. Here, look at the Homepage field. If it was altered by Ecosia.org, remove unwanted link and enter the one that you want to use for your searches. Remember to include the "http://" before typing in the address of the page. When in 'General', delete malicious URL and enter your desired domain name
  5. Reset Safari
    Open Safari browser and click on Safari in menu section at the top left of the screen. Here, select Reset Safari.... Click on 'Safari' and select 'Reset Safari...'
  6. Now you will see a detailed dialog window filled with reset options. All of those options are usually checked, but you can specify which of them you want to reset. Click the Reset button to complete Ecosia.org removal process. Select all options and click on 'Reset' button
After uninstalling this potentially unwanted program (PUP) and fixing each of your web browsers, we recommend you to scan your PC system with a reputable anti-spyware. This will help you to get rid of Ecosia.org registry traces and will also identify related parasites or possible malware infections on your computer. For that you can use our top-rated malware remover: Reimage, Plumbytes Anti-MalwareWebroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus or Malwarebytes Anti Malware.

About the author

Olivia Morelli
Olivia Morelli - Ransomware analyst

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