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Remove GoWebSearch (Recovery Instructions Included) - Virus Removal Instructions

removal by Linas Kiguolis - - | Type: Browser Hijackers

GoWebSearch redirect virus displays altered search results to reroute Internet users to affiliate websites

GoWebSearch virus

GoWebSearch is the name of an infamous search engine that can take over web browsers without users’ consent. Although its history may be traced back to 2010, it has been revived for a second life. GoWebSearch virus is classified as a browser hijacker[1] and a potentially unwanted program (PUP) because of unauthorized modifications and advertising campaigns that it implements. To name a few, right after the infiltration, it starts running background processes GoWebSearch.dll, EFOToolbar.dll, tdlwsp.dll, and corrupts default web browser’s settings so that gowebsearch.net or gowebsearch.com appear as a start page. Besides, Google search becomes forbidden because it is replaced by the GoWebSearch engine.

A decade ago, people expressed their concern that GoWebSearch hijacker entered their PCs after using Internet Explorer. However, doing nothing, just opening IE, can hardly be the reason for a hijack. This plug-in-based application is typically launched on the system after reckless freeware install. People should recall the fact that free software download websites get monetized for the distribution of software bundles. In other words, the program that they wish to install may be supplemented by numerous browser add-ons, plug-ins, and other malware. Therefore, the Advanced installation of any software type is a must. That’s the only way to remove the checkmarks that mean consent to install the bundle by default.

The GoWebSearch virus may be found as the GoWebSearch Mac virus that targets Safari and Chrome web browsers. However, since cybersecurity experts did not provide a full analysis of the malware, Windows users, Internet Explorer users, Mozilla Firefox, and, in general, all PC users may be considered as potential GoWebSearch malware targets.

Name GoWebSearch
Classification Potentially unwanted program (PUP), browser hijacker
Infiltration techniques The main backdoor for the GoWebSearch hijacker to enter the system is freeware. It is distributed as plug-in in disguise with infamous freeware and shareware. Alternatively, people may run into this hijacker after clicking on ads or hyperlinks. 
Symptoms

Corruption of the web browser's settings is the first sign showing that the system is infected with a hijacker. Unknown start page, search engine, toolbars installed. Regular pop-ups and new tab ads. Multiple hyperlinks in text, etc. 

Affected browsers Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari
Ways of prevention  To prevent such and similar plug-ins, install freeware carefully, avoid visiting unknown websites, do not click on doubtful ads, install and keep a reliable anti-malware installed
Ways of removal Manual and automatic. This PUP can be eliminated manually. You can find a guide on how to do that at the end of this article or you can download SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner to uninstall GoWebSearch virus automatically.
Ways of fixing damage PUPs may leave various remnants, as well as cause some damage to system files and settings that are not restore by removing it. Thus, it is advisable to use a professional tool to fix any virus damage. We recommend Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego

Even having in mind that malware like this is not dangerous, there is more that one reason why GoWebSearch removal is a must. First of all, the plug-in does not require permission to install the system directly. The stealthy distribution technique is the first indication proving that the app can hardly be trusted.

Upon successful installation, the GoWebSearch virus attacks Chrome, IE, Mozilla, or another web browser that is set as a default web browser. It replaces a search engine, start page, new tab window, and other settings, as well as may drop multiple toolbars, such as weather forecast, questionable maps, recipes, and similar.

Even though GoWebSearch virus may not seem untrustworthy at first, using it for searches can lead to privacy issues. The developers of this app seek to gain pay-per-click revenue, as well as create an artificial route to specific websites for monetization. For this purpose, GoWebSearch hijacker installs cookies or similar tracking software and may accumulate non-personally identifiable information, including mostly visited web domains, clicks, content interacted with, ads viewed, IP address, search queries, approximate location and similar. Even though information like name, surname, credit card details, etc. are can hardly be collected, some pieces of “non-personal” data may be sensitive enough to cause privacy issues.

The sooner you remove GoWebSearch virus, the lower is the risk that it reroutes to potentially dangerous domains. Web browser’s changes are deliberately initiated. As noted before, the main reason of this hijacker and its family members is to help developers promote particular websites. While most of the sites are ordinary domains that, for some reason, mismatch Google’s ranking system, the other part of websites may be potentially dangerous. Redirects to GoWebSearch and its affiliates can expose people to useless content, pornographic websites, intrusive advertising platforms, and similar.

GoWebSearch virusGoWebSearch hijacker spreads in disguise with freeware

Moreover, GoWebSearch malware distorts search results. By setting itself as a default search engine, the plug-in ensures the possibility to display links to affiliated domains on the first page of search results. This way, third parties are increasing visitors’ rate. On various security forums people report:

When I do a google search, if I click any of the links it hijacks it and sends me to gowebsearch.net or other spam search sites.

Thus, having GoWebSearch virus on the system will block peoples’ attempts to perform a regular Google search and turn web browsing experience abnormal.

Also, people may also notice an increased amount of ads, pop-ups, banners, and other commercial content. Due to the usage of cookies, this shady search engine is capable of generating appealing ads. However, such and similar ads may redirect to irrelevant websites, fake web domains, third-party sites promoting questionable security programs, useless software updates, pornography, and so on.

To sum up, this web browser’s hijack may have various potential dangers, which is why GoWebSearch removal is strongly recommended. Do not allow a shady third-party app to ruin your daily web browsing routine and pose you risk of ending up on a dangerous website or downloading misleading programs. You can follow a guide submitted by our security experts on how to remove GoWebSearch for good or perform a full system scan with a professional antimalware program. We recommend using SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes.

PUPs inject unwanted plug-ins into web browsers upon reckless installation of freeware

Computer virus experts from LosVirus.es[2] keep warning people about software bundling. According to them, any questionable third-party freeware[3] and shareware can be disseminated with additional components. Usually, free apps like converters, unknown ad blockers, video streaming software, download assistants, etc. contain more that one additional application disguised under the Quick installation technique.

Antivirus and antimalware programs are not programmed to block the installation of bundles, so the only way to prevent unwanted programs on the system is to pay close attention to the freeware installation process. Advanced or Custom installation methods should exchange quick and Recommended options. Although such a technique will ask to accomplish more installation steps, it will disclose “offered” plug-ins and allow deselecting them.

Aside from bundling, PUPs can also be distributed via infectious advertisements, hyperlinks, or fake web domains. Therefore, we strongly recommend bypassing questionable content and avoid downloading freeware before getting more information about it. Plus, make sure to keep a reliable antimalware tool installed. If the PUP is included into the malware database, you will be informed that a PUP is about to enter the system.

Ways to remove GoWebSearch virus

When you notice sighs of browser hijacker on the system, make sure that it has been installed along with other PUPs, such as adware. Besides, it might have initiated multiple browsers and system changes that you may not see at first. Therefore, to finish up unapproved activities, remove GoWebSearch hijacker right away.

GoWebSearch malwareGoWebSearch virus can expose people to potentially dangerous websites that exhibit pornographic content

For GoWebSearch removal, we recommend using a professional antimalware tools. This tool will initiate a full system scan, detect software that got inside the system via freeware, and ensure full GoWebSearch removal. However, you can also try to remove GoWebSearch redirect manually with the help of the below-given guide. In the end, do not forget to reset settings of the hijacked web browser. Otherwise, you may keep seeing the unwanted search engine and start page on it. Last but not least, we recommend downloading a powerful tool for fixing any damage that the GoWebSearch virus and other PUPs might have caused. For this, you can use Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego.

You may remove virus damage with a help of Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego. 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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What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove virus damage using Reimage Intego, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
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.

To remove GoWebSearch, follow these steps:

Get rid of GoWebSearch from Windows systems

  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 GoWebSearch and related programs
    Here, look for GoWebSearch 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 GoWebSearch 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.

Erase GoWebSearch from Mac OS X system

Based on peoples' reports, it seems that GoWebSearch hijacker can infiltrate Mac OS. This operating system may be the primary target. If you fall victim to this intruder, follow this guide:

  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 GoWebSearch 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'

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

Uninstall GoWebSearch 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, GoWebSearch should be removed from your Microsoft Edge browser.

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

Delete GoWebSearch from Google Chrome

If Google has been hijacked by the browser hijacker, restore its settings with the help of this guidance

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

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

Access your website securely from any location

When you work on the domain, site, blog, or different project that requires constant management, content creation, or coding, you may need to connect to the server and content management service more often. It is a hassle when your website is protected from suspicious connections and unauthorized IP addresses.

The best solution for creating a tighter network could be a dedicated/fixed IP address. If you make your IP address static and set to your device, you can connect to the CMS from any location and do not create any additional issues for server or network manager that need to monitor connections and activities. This is how you bypass some of the authentications factors and can remotely use your banking accounts without triggering suspicious with each login. 

VPN software providers like Private Internet Access can help you with such settings and offer the option to control the online reputation and manage projects easily from any part of the world. It is better to clock the access to your website from different IP addresses. So you can keep the project safe and secure when you have the dedicated IP address VPN and protected access to the content management system.

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

Computer users can suffer various losses due to cyber infections or their own faulty doings. Software issues created by malware or direct data loss due to encryption can lead to problems with your device or permanent damage. When you have proper up-to-date backups, you can easily recover after such an incident and get back to work.

It is crucial to create updates to your backups after any changes on the device, so you can get back to the point you were working on when malware changes anything or issues with the device causes data or performance corruption. Rely on such behavior and make file backup your daily or weekly habit.

When you have the previous version of every important document or project you can avoid frustration and breakdowns. It comes in handy when malware occurs out of nowhere. Use Data Recovery Pro for the system restoring purpose.

About the author
Linas Kiguolis
Linas Kiguolis - Expert in social media

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