CoolWebSearch (Removal Guide) - Mar 2021 update

CoolWebSearch Removal Guide

What is CoolWebSearch?

CoolWebSearch is an infamous browser hijacker that bullies web users

CoolWebSearch browser hijackerCoolWebSearch is a potentially unwanted application which is considered to be one of the most aggressive browser hijackers ever created

CoolWebSearch is a notorious potentially unwanted program that takes place in cybersecurity history as the nastiest browser hijacker[1] ever created. This cyber threat is known to enter Google Chrome or Internet Explorer and modify their settings without warning.

Soon after that, the hijacker redirects all searches to Coolwebsearch.com or other questionable sites. The hazardous program comes in a variety of versions (107 to be precise),[2] all of them using a different code, but behaving very similarly. During its reign in 2005, it infected over 8% of PCs worldwide, which is a massive amount.

Cool Web Search malware is considered to be one of the most aggressive browser hijackers ever made. As soon as it hijacks the browser, it installs multiple dubious bookmarks to porn sites, introduces browser helper objects (BHO) as well as creates shortcuts on the desktop.

Summary
Name CoolWebSearch
Type Browser hijacker
Versions Over 100 created
First appeared in May 2003
Affected browsers Internet Explorer and Google Chrome
Operating system Windows
Distribution Software bundling, fake ads, malicious sites
Symptoms Altered homepage and new tab URL, intrusive adverts and redirects, modify search results, etc.
Main dangers Malware infection, sensitive data leakage, etc.
Elimination You can remove the threat with anti-malware tools and the help of the instructions below
Repair Running ReimageIntego can fix damaged files on the system

What is more, it considerably slows down the browser and internet speed. Thus, security experts[3] advise users to remove CoolWebSearch from their machines immediately. The most annoying feature of this browser hijacker is the advertising content display, as well as its frequency.

Users are often bothered by multiple pop-up windows or redirects that occur on a daily basis and conceal the content of legitimate websites. What is more, CoolWebSearch hijack considerably slows down your computer and may even crash your operating system.

Additionally, internet speed can be affected too, and getting to even the simplest websites might take a substantial amount of time. Just like any other browser hijacker, CoolWebSearch can track a variety of non-personally identifiable information, such as:

  • IP address (note: this data may be considered personal, depending on where you live)
  • Internet service provider
  • Technical information
  • Search queries
  • Websites visited
  • Bookmarks added
  • Links clicked, etc.

This data is invaluable for any marketing firm, as it is used as a tool to generate a virtual ID about every user, and display targeted advertisement, making users buy from sponsored retailers. This way, traffic to unknown websites is boosted, and the sponsors manage to sell their products or services much easier. The sad part is, that a lot of these products may be bogus, or end up being a complete scam.

Developers of CoolWebSearch acted like malware authors – they engaged in DDoS attacks

Adding to all this, there is a much darker side to this browser hijacker. When the unwanted program first appeared on the web, it was challenging to eliminate. Since it modified registry entries, it managed to stay on the PC as long as possible, and users failed to remove Cool Web Search spyware.

No matter what they did. In some cases, only a completed replacement of Windows registry with the previous version helped. What is more, cybercrooks used ByteVerify exploit[4] to inject their malicious software.

Back in 2004, a Dutch student Merjin Bellekom created a CoolWebSearch removal tool called CWShredder. It got rid of the program fast, and developers of the browser hijacker hated it. Therefore, the bad actors used Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks to target websites hosting this anti-spyware tool. Countless versions of the application came out, just to counter CWS malware updates.

Fortunately, the tools created back then are already outdated, and if you need to deal with CoolWebSearch, you can use Malwarebytes or SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner – these anti-malware applications can get rid of the annoying pest in just a few minutes.

CoolWebSearch virusCoolWebSearch - a malicious program that can change your homepage and continually display ads

Over 100 versions of CoolWebSearch created

As we already mentioned, there are over a hundred versions of CoolWebSearch, among them being Websearch.helpmefindyour.info, Websearch.eazytosearch.info, Websearch.simplespeedy.info, and many others. Although all of them use a different code, the main goal remains – to redirect users to questionable websites and generate revenue. Here are the two most wide-spread versions on the internet:

CoolWebSearch.control

CoolWebSearch.control is one of the first versions of Cool Web Search, and it aims to infiltrate as many machines as possible using software bundling technique. Additionally, users can obtain it while browsing unsafe websites, such as file-sharing or torrent sites. Just as its original version, it injects several registry entries and avoid removal and proceeds wit hits malicious activities.

As soon as the hijacker modifies Chrome's or Internet Explorer's settings, the homepage is set to Websearch.coolwebsearch.info. Sadly users are unable to revert these changes until a full CoolWebSearch.control removal is performed. What is more, users have to suffer from continual ads and are as well being spied on by this suspicious software developers.

Websearch.coolwebsearch.info

Websearch.coolwebsearch.info is a browser hijacker and as well a homepage which is used by many Web Cool Search virus variants. It usually injects users' machines as a drive-by installation, which means that users are unaware that the unwanted app was installed on their PC. The browser hijacker does now label its affiliates ads, as well as does not provide an EULA or privacy policy, which is a deplorable behavior what pretends to be a legitimate company.

This variant of the virus can bring users to dangerous websites, including those which can use JavaScript to inject malware into users machines. All they need to do is merely get redirected to a malicious site, and the consequences could be disastrous. Victims can get infected with spyware, trojan horse or even ransomware. The latter one can lock up (potentially permanently) files and demand ransom for its release.

Therefore, we advise users to immediately take action if any traces of this dangerous application are noticed on the machine.

Users can inject even the most dangerous browser hijackers without noticing

Typically, potentially unwanted applications spread bundled as an attachment of freeware and shareware. It means that the only way for it to enter the PC is to get user's permission, but since components that spread along with freeware are seldom disclosed explicitly, people who are not keen on checking Advanced/Custom settings can easily end up with various unwanted add-ons, plug-ins, toolbars, and extensions.

CoolWebSearch PUPThe potentially unwanted program injects ads directly into browsers

Thus, if you want to prevent that, you have to check expanded settings carefully and deselect all 'optional downloads' without delay. Note that attachments are set by default, so you will have to untick them before clicking the 'Next' button.

Security researchers noted that suspicious programs could also be obtained on the dubious websites. Therefore, you should avoid file-sharing, torrent, porn, gambling, free online gaming and similar sites. Finally, you should never forget to employ security software with real-time protection feature to be safe.

CoolWebSearch virus removal steps

CoolWebSearch removal used to be extremely complicated when it came out back in the early 2000s. Nevertheless, the security technologies improved over the years and browser hijacker elimination became a relatively easy task. So, you can get rid of the virus either manually or automatically.

Normally, we would assure that both methods are equally effective, as you can remove Cool Web Search via the control panel and then reset each of the installed browsers (instructions are presented below). However, because this browser hijacker modifies registry entries, and it can intentionally install additional components without your knowledge, we highly advise using anti-malware software. This way, you can be sure that all traces of the dubious app are eliminated.

You may remove virus damage with a help of ReimageIntego. SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner and Malwarebytes are recommended to 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 Compatible with macOS
What to do if failed?
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Reimage Intego has a free limited scanner. Reimage Intego offers more through scan when you purchase its full version. When free scanner detects issues, you can fix them using free manual repairs or you can decide to purchase the full version in order to fix them automatically.
Alternative Software
Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Reimage, try running SpyHunter 5.
Alternative Software
Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Intego, try running Combo Cleaner.

Getting rid of CoolWebSearch. Follow these steps

Uninstall from Windows

To eliminate Web Cool Search virus from Windows, follow these steps:

Instructions for Windows 10/8  machines:

  1. Enter Control Panel into Windows search box and hit Enter or click on the search result.
  2. Under Programs, select Uninstall a program. Uninstall from Windows 1
  3. From the list, find the entry of the suspicious program.
  4. Right-click on the application and select Uninstall.
  5. If User Account Control shows up, click Yes.
  6. Wait till uninstallation process is complete and click OK. Uninstall from Windows 2

If you are Windows 7/XP user, proceed with the following instructions:

  1. Click on Windows Start > Control Panel located on the right pane (if you are Windows XP user, click on Add/Remove Programs).
  2. In Control Panel, select Programs > Uninstall a program. Uninstall from Windows 7/XP
  3. Pick the unwanted application by clicking on it once.
  4. At the top, click Uninstall/Change.
  5. In the confirmation prompt, pick Yes.
  6. Click OK once the removal process is finished.

Delete from macOS

Remove items from Applications folder:

  1. From the menu bar, select Go > Applications.
  2. In the Applications folder, look for all related entries.
  3. Click on the app and drag it to Trash (or right-click and pick Move to Trash) Uninstall from Mac 1

To fully remove an unwanted app, you need to access Application Support, LaunchAgents, and LaunchDaemons folders and delete relevant files:

  1. Select Go > Go to Folder.
  2. Enter /Library/Application Support and click Go or press Enter.
  3. In the Application Support folder, look for any dubious entries and then delete them.
  4. Now enter /Library/LaunchAgents and /Library/LaunchDaemons folders the same way and terminate all the related .plist files. Uninstall from Mac 2

Remove from Microsoft Edge

Delete unwanted extensions from MS Edge:

  1. Select Menu (three horizontal dots at the top-right of the browser window) and pick Extensions.
  2. From the list, pick the extension and click on the Gear icon.
  3. Click on Uninstall at the bottom. Remove extensions from Edge

Clear cookies and other browser data:

  1. Click on the Menu (three horizontal dots at the top-right of the browser window) and select Privacy & security.
  2. Under Clear browsing data, pick Choose what to clear.
  3. Select everything (apart from passwords, although you might want to include Media licenses as well, if applicable) and click on Clear. Clear Edge browsing data

Restore new tab and homepage settings:

  1. Click the menu icon and choose Settings.
  2. Then find On startup section.
  3. Click Disable if you found any suspicious domain.

Reset MS Edge if the above steps did not work:

  1. Press on Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open Task Manager.
  2. Click on More details arrow at the bottom of the window.
  3. Select Details tab.
  4. Now scroll down and locate every entry with Microsoft Edge name in it. Right-click on each of them and select End Task to stop MS Edge from running. Reset MS Edge

If this solution failed to help you, you need to use an advanced Edge reset method. Note that you need to backup your data before proceeding.

  1. Find the following folder on your computer: C:\\Users\\%username%\\AppData\\Local\\Packages\\Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge_8wekyb3d8bbwe.
  2. Press Ctrl + A on your keyboard to select all folders.
  3. Right-click on them and pick Delete Advanced MS Edge reset 1
  4. Now right-click on the Start button and pick Windows PowerShell (Admin).
  5. When the new window opens, copy and paste the following command, and then press Enter:

    Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers -Name Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.InstallLocation)\\AppXManifest.xml” -Verbose Advanced MS Edge reset 2

Instructions for Chromium-based Edge

Delete extensions from MS Edge (Chromium):

  1. Open Edge and click select Settings > Extensions.
  2. Delete unwanted extensions by clicking Remove. Remove extensions from Chromium Edge

Clear cache and site data:

  1. Click on Menu and go to Settings.
  2. Select Privacy and services.
  3. Under Clear browsing data, pick Choose what to clear.
  4. Under Time range, pick All time.
  5. Select Clear now. Clear browser data from Chroum Edge

Reset Chromium-based MS Edge:

  1. Click on Menu and select Settings.
  2. On the left side, pick Reset settings.
  3. Select Restore settings to their default values.
  4. Confirm with Reset. Reset Chromium Edge

Remove from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

Remove dangerous extensions:

  1. Open Mozilla Firefox browser and click on the Menu (three horizontal lines at the top-right of the window).
  2. Select Add-ons.
  3. In here, select unwanted plugin and click Remove. Remove extensions from Firefox

Reset the homepage:

  1. Click three horizontal lines at the top right corner to open the menu.
  2. Choose Options.
  3. Under Home options, enter your preferred site that will open every time you newly open the Mozilla Firefox.

Clear cookies and site data:

  1. Click Menu and pick Options.
  2. Go to Privacy & Security section.
  3. Scroll down to locate Cookies and Site Data.
  4. Click on Clear Data…
  5. Select Cookies and Site Data, as well as Cached Web Content and press Clear. Clear cookies and site data from Firefox

Reset Mozilla Firefox

If clearing the browser as explained above did not help, reset Mozilla Firefox:

  1. Open Mozilla Firefox browser and click the Menu.
  2. Go to Help and then choose Troubleshooting Information. Reset Firefox 1
  3. Under Give Firefox a tune up section, click on Refresh Firefox…
  4. Once the pop-up shows up, confirm the action by pressing on Refresh Firefox. Reset Firefox 2

Remove from Google Chrome

Delete malicious extensions from Google Chrome:

  1. Open Google Chrome, click on the Menu (three vertical dots at the top-right corner) and select More tools > Extensions.
  2. In the newly opened window, you will see all the installed extensions. Uninstall all the suspicious plugins that might be related to the unwanted program by clicking Remove. Remove extensions from Chrome

Clear cache and web data from Chrome:

  1. Click on Menu and pick Settings.
  2. Under Privacy and security, select Clear browsing data.
  3. Select Browsing history, Cookies and other site data, as well as Cached images and files.
  4. Click Clear data. Clear cache and web data from Chrome

Change your homepage:

  1. Click menu and choose Settings.
  2. Look for a suspicious site in the On startup section.
  3. Click on Open a specific or set of pages and click on three dots to find the Remove option.

Reset Google Chrome:

If the previous methods did not help you, reset Google Chrome to eliminate all the unwanted components:

  1. Click on Menu and select Settings.
  2. In the Settings, scroll down and click Advanced.
  3. Scroll down and locate Reset and clean up section.
  4. Now click Restore settings to their original defaults.
  5. Confirm with Reset settings. Reset Chrome 2

Delete from Safari

Remove unwanted extensions from Safari:

  1. Click Safari > Preferences…
  2. In the new window, pick Extensions.
  3. Select the unwanted extension and select Uninstall. Remove extensions from Safari

Clear cookies and other website data from Safari:

  1. Click Safari > Clear History…
  2. From the drop-down menu under Clear, pick all history.
  3. Confirm with Clear History. Clear cookies and website data from Safari

Reset Safari if the above-mentioned steps did not help you:

  1. Click Safari > Preferences…
  2. Go to Advanced tab.
  3. Tick the Show Develop menu in menu bar.
  4. From the menu bar, click Develop, and then select Empty Caches. Reset Safari

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 CoolWebSearch 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: ReimageIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes.

How to prevent from getting browser hijacker

Do not let government spy on you

The government has many issues in regards to tracking users' data and spying on citizens, so you should take this into consideration and learn more about shady information gathering practices. Avoid any unwanted government tracking or spying by going totally anonymous on the internet. 

You can choose a different location when you go online and access any material you want without particular content restrictions. You can easily enjoy internet connection without any risks of being hacked by using Private Internet Access VPN.

Control the information that can be accessed by government any other unwanted party and surf online without being spied on. Even if you are not involved in illegal activities or trust your selection of services, platforms, be suspicious for your own security and take precautionary measures by using the VPN service.

Backup files for the later use, in case of the malware attack

Computer users can suffer from data losses due to cyber infections or their own faulty doings. Ransomware can encrypt and hold files hostage, while unforeseen power cuts might cause a loss of important documents. If you have proper up-to-date backups, you can easily recover after such an incident and get back to work. It is also equally important to update backups on a regular basis so that the newest information remains intact – you can set this process to be performed automatically.

When you have the previous version of every important document or project you can avoid frustration and breakdowns. It comes in handy when malware strikes out of nowhere. Use Data Recovery Pro for the data restoration process.

About the author
Jake Doevan
Jake Doevan - Computer technology expert

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