SafeSearch. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Gabriel E. Hall - -   Also known as SafeSear.ch | Type: Browser hijacker
12

SafeSearch started spreading as a SafeSearch Incognito extension via Chrome web store

The image of SafeSear.ch

SafeSearch (or SafeSear.ch) is known for security experts since 2014. However, recently researchers noticed a new browser hijacker’s [1] distribution campaign. This bogus search engine started spreading via Chrome store as a SafeSearch Incognito extension.

The major features of this potentially unwanted program (PUP) barely differs from other infections that belong to the same category. It might:

  • affect Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer and Safari browsers;
  • replace default homepage, search engine and/or new tab URL address;
  • block well-known search engines;
  • alter search results;
  • redirect to predetermined websites;
  • install tracking cookies.[2]

The first task the hijacker does on the targeted device is system modifications. It might alter Windows Registry and various shortcuts to prevent people from taking back control over the browser. Then it changes current startup page and search engine to its domain.

SafeSearch virus is mostly used for promoting third-party websites and increasing their sales or page rank on Google. However, you can hardly know how trustworthy these websites are because the developer of this hijacker fails to guarantee their trustworthiness. As a result, you can find another PUP or even virus[3] on your computer.

Besides, this questionable search engine may also block the access to some of your Internet resources without your permission asked and then cause unexpected advertisements or pop-ups with commercial or pornographic content.

The most disturbing fact which is related to SafeSear.ch is that it can track its victims. Just like a typical browser hijacker, it collects users' search terms, information about most visited websites, and similar information which is related to browser habits. However, we cannot guarantee that this hijacker is not capable of tracking personal information as well.

Beware that security experts have revealed this PUP can update itself via the Internet, so it may also be used for tracking people and stealing personal information. If you want to keep your PC secure, you should get rid of this search engine without wasting your time. Why do you need a search provider that claims in its Terms of Use:

“SafeSear.ch does not warrant or make any representations concerning the accuracy, likely results, or reliability of the use of the materials on its Internet web site or otherwise relating to such materials or on any sites linked to this site.”

This search tool does not perform its primary function properly. It might alter search results in order to include sponsored links at the top of the results page. Therefore, it might take a while to find useful and reliable information.

What is more, SafeSearch removal can help to protect your computer from cyber threats. Some of the content provided by this search provider lead to potentially dangerous sites. Thus, you might get infected with Trojan, malware or suffer from other cyber crime.[4]

You can remove SafeSear.ch from your computer with the help of Reimage. As an alternative, we suggest you scroll down and check the manual removal guide which was designed by 2-spyware.com researchers. However, if you are not an experienced PC user, you should select the first option.

Safe.Search.Tools virus – a new variant of the browser hijacker

On July 2017, researchers noticed a new distribution method of the SafeSearch. This bogus search engine becomes a default after the installation of SafeSearch Incognito browser extension. It is available on Chrome web store and is compatible with both Windows and Mac OS X.

According to the developers, this tool protects users’ privacy:

Browse and search privately, without sharing personally identifiable information.

Nevertheless, developers talk about major search providers that collect some information about users; they do the same. According to their Privacy Policy, this search program might use cookies to collect non-personally identifiable information, such as:

  • IP address,
  • browser type,
  • internet service provider (ISP),
  • cookie information,
  • and the webpage that a user visits.

Therefore, you should not be tricked by the beautifully written description of the browser extension. If it managed to sneak inside your computer with a software bundle and hijacked your browser, you should get rid of it immediately. Undoubtedly, the best way to remove Safe.Search.Tools is to use reputable security software.

Browser hijacker might sneak into device silently

This PUP spreads using questionable and doubtful methods. One of such methods is known as “bundling.” Beware that you can end up with unwanted system changes and similar problems after installing freeware and shareware without monitoring its installation process.

To stay safe and prevent infiltration of such problems as the SafeSear.ch redirect to sponsored websites; you should start checking what programs you use. Please, avoid questionable, illegal and suspicious programs.

If you decide to install a free program from the Internet and think that it is safe, select Custom or Advanced installation method. After that, follow every installation step of the freeware and opt out of such potentially unwanted programs like this one. You need to uncheck all checkboxes that offer you to change your start page and default search engine because this may easily allow installation of SafeSearch.

A new variant of the hijacker, known as Safe.Search.Tools virus, has been noticed spreading via Chrome web store as well. We highly recommend staying away from SafeSearch Incognito Chrome extension. Keep in mind that other extensions might distribute this cyber threat too. Thus, always do your research before installing them.

Uninstall SafeSearch virus

To avoid dangerous programs or even viruses on your computer, you should act now and remove SafeSearch. For that, you can use updated anti-spyware software or a guide given below. The hijacker mostly attacks French computer users; thus, if you are one of them you can visit our colleague’s site for more information.[5]

If you prefer to get rid of the virus manually, you have to uninstall unknown programs and browser extensions. Make sure that you delete all hijacker-related entries. Leaving some entries on the system may lead to the re-hijacked browser.

If you want to avoid failure and speed up elimination process, you should opt for automatic SafeSearch removal. As we have mentioned, you can do it with the help of updated security software. Just run a system scan and wait until the program finishes the task.

You can remove SafeSearch 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 SafeSearch 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 SafeSearch. 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.

Note: Manual assistance required means that one or all of removers were unable to remove parasite without some manual intervention, please read manual removal instructions below.

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

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

SafeSearch manual removal:

Kill processes:
aanyvkcf.exe,safesearch.exe,rgzcdhtn.exe

Delete registry values:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionRunaanyvkcf

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionRunSafeSearch

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionRunrgzcdhtn

HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwarePrimeSoft

HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareSafeSearch

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT.QSCH

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTQSCH File

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTSafeSearch.SafeSearchBHO

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTSafeSearch.SafeSearchBHO.1

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTCLSID{00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000001}

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTInterface{28E6CCE2-3F2C-4B3D-9CB4-2FC8715A3ECE}

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTTypelib{82E9DE01-D860-40E4-B9C1-91F0E8272962}

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTTypelib{CB5006EE-F57D-4116-B7B6-48EB564FE0F0}

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTmimedatabasecontent typeapplication/x-QSCH

HKEY_USERS.defaultSoftwareNetscapeNetscape NavigatorTrusted External Applications%System%aanyvkcf.exe=yes

HKEY_USERS.defaultSoftwareNetscapeNetscape NavigatorSuffixesApplication/x-QSCH

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESoftwareMicrosoftInternet ExplorerToolbar{00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000001}

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionUninstallaanyvkcf

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionUninstallrgzcdhtn

Unregister DLLs:
safesearch.dll,_safesearch.dll

Delete files:
aanyvkcf.exe,safesearch.exe,rgzcdhtn.exe,safesearch.dll,_safesearch.dll

Delete directories:
C:Program FilesPrimesoftSafeSearch

Manual SafeSearch Removal Guide:

WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Remove SafeSearch from Windows systems

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You need to purchase Full version to remove infections.
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To remove SafeSearch virus from the system and avoid its appearance on it in the future, you must remove every program which is related to it. You need to try to find SafeSearch, SafeSearch ToolbarSafeSear.ch, Trovi, Music Search App, Genieo, and SafeSearch Incognito.

  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 SafeSearch and related programs
    Here, look for SafeSearch 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 SafeSearch 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 SafeSearch from Mac OS X system

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You need to purchase Full version to remove infections.
More information about Reimage.

If this program hijacked your device, please follow the steps to get rid of it.

  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 SafeSearch 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 SafeSearch from Internet Explorer (IE)

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You need to purchase Full version to remove infections.
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The hijacker may have altered settings of Internet Explorer. Follow the steps to get rid of all the changes caused by the hijacker.

  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 SafeSearch 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 SafeSearch 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 SafeSearch from Microsoft Edge

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You need to purchase Full version to remove infections.
More information about Reimage.

After the hijack, you have to follow the instructions and fix Microsoft Edge.

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, SafeSearch should be removed from your Microsoft Edge browser.

WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Remove SafeSearch from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

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You need to purchase Full version to remove infections.
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In order to uninstall SafeSearch virus from Firefox, you need to remove questionable extensions and reset the browser.

  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 SafeSearch 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 SafeSearch removal. Click on 'Reset Firefox' button for a couple of times
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Remove SafeSearch from Google Chrome

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You need to purchase Full version to remove infections.
More information about Reimage.

To fix Google Chrome and SafeSearch infiltration, you should remove all add-ons that are related to this hijacker. 2-spyware security researchers found these apps to be related to this hijacker: SafeSearch, SafeSearch ToolbarSafeSear.ch, Trovi, Music Search App, Genieo and SafeSearch Incognito. Once you find an add-on which belongs to the same developer, make sure you delete it. 

  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 SafeSearch 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 SafeSearch removal. Click on 'Reset' button to complete your removal
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Remove SafeSearch from Safari

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

These guidelines will help you to get rid of all hijacker-related components and set your preferred startup page/search engine on Safari.

  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 SafeSearch 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 SafeSearch, 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 SafeSearch 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 SafeSearch 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

Gabriel E. Hall
Gabriel E. Hall - Passionate web researcher

If this free removal guide helped you and you are satisfied with our service, please consider making a donation to keep this service alive. Even a smallest amount will be appreciated.

More information about the author

References

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  • Safesearch

    Painfull and hard to rid of!

  • Mike

    Please disable safsearch

  • James

    How would you do this on windows 8.1? I Just got it and got safe search XD

  • rome

    I did the manual and it worked, but a bit otherwise.

    I almost didnt find any of the registry stated above, but I did find 2 others in one of the stated directories. I also searched for all the files in “search”, I let it finish, bit long searches. It found me 2 more files, and I deleted them, and from recycle bin.
    Probably should say, I also disabled them through firefox addons (that was my contaminated browser), and tried to uninstall through programs, but dont remember if there was anything to uninstall. Also probably should check “Program Files” or/and “Program Files (x84)” for folders with these names and delete them (be careful not to delete other things that are not connected).

    Good luck everybody.

  • thief

    spyhunter tells you false things, then tells you have to but it It is also a SCAM!