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How to remove (removal guidelines)

removal by Gabriel E. Hall - - | Type: Browser Hijackers

Alhea is a browser hijacker that affects most of the popular web browsers with sponsored content

Alhea browser hijacker 

Alhea is the program that categorizes as potentially unwanted due to the activities on the machine and shady distribution technique. This browser hijacker takes over the homepage, new tab settings and replaces the default search engine with on every browser that runs on the affected device. This PUP runs in the background, and the first symptoms people can notice are the changes in the web browser settings. 


Name Alhea
Type Browser hijacker 
Developer Ego Cognito
Main danger As any other PUP, it tracks and collects information about the online browsing preferences and all the content delivered by this hijacker exposes the user to possibly dangerous content
Symptoms Homepage, new tab, and search engine settings get altered. Various commercial content that shows up on the screen redirects to shady pages
Distribution Freeware installations, other PUPs, deceptive websites
Elimination Anti-malware tools are designed to remove Alhea and other PUPs

Once Alhea virus comes to the targeted machine, it starts ensuring the persistence first by changing Windows Registry entries or adding new keys to the startup preferences. This application tries to make the fake search engine running each time the machine gets rebooted. Unfortunately, all these additional changes affect the whole elimination process and create more frustration

Alhea also redirects your online traffic by delivering various pop-up ads, banners, and other commercial content that leads to unwanted visits on advertising domains. This way, all views and page visits get generated, and later on, advertisers can create revenue by monetizing the traffic. This is the main goal of any potentially unwanted program because commercial content creators sponsor the distribution of such applications.

If you have already been forced to use instead of Google, Bing, Yahoo! or another reputable search site within Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Internet Explorer (Microsoft Edge), then you should better put some effort to reset the settings because by keeping this browser hijacker you may push yourself into further troubles. You can find a few tips for such manual changes below the article.

Because Alhea virus can display altered search results, you may be presented with the links to affiliated websites in priority. This way, third-party advertisers earn money by boosting traffic to the websites that are at the bottom of the page rank.

Unfortunately, these additional Alhea redirects are more than annoying and disruptive. Each time you click on the link provided by this search, you risk exposing your computer to unsafe websites that are involved in the distribution of other PUPs. Moreover, security experts[1] have noticed the tendency of this hijacker to fill sites with commercial advertisements.

That's another marketing technique allowing advertisers to gain money via pay-per-click (PPC) model[2], as well as help promoting various merchandise. Not to mention, it may also engage in tracking software and start analyzing your browsing habits.
Alhea is the search engine that claims to improve time online with altered search results, but it injects every search with commercial content and causes redirects to advertising pages this way.

Once a targeted system is affected, Alhea automatically installs cookies on all the browsers and starts collecting personally non-identifiable information (IP address, PC's location, email address, search terms, most visited websites, data entered in them, clicks, etc.) with an intention to send it to third-party advertisers who will analyze it and later provide the user with a customized content.[3]

This issue regarding the PUP advertising tracking is disclosed on the Alhea website. In the Privacy Policy developers, Ego Cogito states about advertising cookies and other methods used to collect your data:

We do not collect your IP address and you do not have to register with Ego Cogito before we can collect this anonymous information. Ego Cogito websites do not require you to share personally identifiable information, such as your name or email address, for you to use Ego Cogito websites. Ego Cogito websites allocate an anonymous identification number to your requests and link the following information to that number: the date and time at which you visited the Ego Cogito website, the search terms, and the links which you clicked through.

If you are not keen on sharing information about you with third parties, as well as visiting doubtful websites on a daily basis, we highly recommend you to remove Alhea from the system. For that, our recommendation would be anti-malware tools, system cleaning utilities like Reimage.

Focus on Alhea removal and clean the system thoroughly with an anti-malware program, so all the virus damage can be fixed and additionally installed programs terminated. Rely on professional anti-malware tools and get rid of the intruder that tracks data about you.

Keep in mind that Alhea has been labeled as a browser hijacker due to its capabilities to corrupt web browser's settings and initiate doubtful activities during people's browsing. One of the most prominent features that will leave no doubts that your web browser has been hijacked is a modification of a search provider and a default start page.

Alhea is the PUP designed to alter homepage, new tab and search engine settings on the infected machine and show advertisements to redirect online traffic.

PUP delivery methods include third-party installation setups

Browser hijacker modifies web browser's settings without computer user's knowledge. That's because it is usually spread in a bundle with freeware. This is because people still tend to install freeware without checking Advanced settings.

To prevent this cyber infection from happening, you should be more careful when installing anything on the system. It's a mistake to consider that free software downloaded from file sharing websites are entirely safe. Actually, such websites spread software packages by far the most frequently.

So whenever you decide to install freeware from the internet, make sure that you check Advanced/Custom options and untick all add-ons and plug-ins that are set to get installed by default on the initial installation setup. Also, pay attention to sources you get applications from, read the EULA of the website that promotes tools or programs.

Make sure to get rid of Alhea from the browser and system completely

Alhea removal is highly recommended to maintain your computer PUP-free, fast, stable, and secure. Potentially unwanted programs can affect the performance significantly with all those intrusive redirects and additionally installed programs and in-browser content.

The easiest way to remove Alhea is to check the system using a reputable anti-malware tool. This way, your device gets thoroughly checked, and all the possible issues can be detected and indicated. When the list of issues, possible intruders and other files appear, you can clean the PC automatically.

Since Alhea virus is the potentially unwanted program, you should pay close attention to the process and eliminate all the programs and files. Also, your machine may have more useless programs than this one browser hijacker, so double-check and clean the computer entirely.

You can remove virus damage automatically with a help of one of these programs: Reimage, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner, Malwarebytes. We recommend these applications because they detect potentially unwanted programs and viruses with all their files and registry entries that are related to them.

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Compatible with Microsoft Windows Supported versions Compatible with OS X Supported versions
What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove virus damage using Reimage, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage is recommended to remove virus damage. 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.
Alternative Software
Different security software includes different virus database. If you didn’t succeed in finding malware with Reimage, try running alternative scan with SpyHunter 5.
Alternative Software
Different security software includes different virus database. If you didn’t succeed in finding malware with Reimage, try running alternative scan with Combo Cleaner.

To remove hijack, follow these steps:

Get rid of from Windows systems

Clean the system fully and remove

  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 and related programs
    Here, look for 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 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 '' 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.

Erase from Mac OS X 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 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'

Delete from Internet Explorer (IE)

  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 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 removal. Go to 'Advanced' tab and click on 'Reset' button. Now select 'Delete personal settings' and click on 'Reset' button again

Remove hijack from 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, should be removed from your Microsoft Edge browser.

Uninstall from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

  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 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 removal. Click on 'Reset Firefox' button for a couple of times

Eliminate from Google Chrome

Make sure to change all the settings that has made and block the notifications from this or any other associated site

  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 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 removal. Click on 'Reset' button to complete your removal

Get rid of from 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 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, 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 removal process. Select all options and click on 'Reset' button

About the author

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

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