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Remove Holasearch.com (Removal Instructions) - updated Feb 2020

removal by Olivia Morelli - - | Type: Browser Hijackers

Holasearch.com – a browser hijacker that can append a rogue argument to some of the Windows desktop shortcuts  

Hola search engineHolasearch.com is a rogue search engine that can provide misleading search results and start redirecting users to unsecured sources

Holasearch.com is categorized as a misleading search engine that comes together with the Hola Search Toolbar. Users have been complaining that this browser hijacker unexpectedly appears on browser apps such as Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox but it mostly shows up on Internet Explorer. The PUP (potentially unwanted program)[1] leaves a rogue process named holasearch.dll that belongs to its toolbar and acts as an extension for the Explorer browser. Hola Search aims to compromise the default search provider, homepage, and new tab URL bar by setting them to http://www.holasearch.com.

If you are constantly getting redirected to Holasearch.com, this also might be a sign that you have another third-party component such as Certified Toolbar installed on your web browser. However, most of the time it is the browser hijacker that is causing all the trouble. No matter how hard you try to reset the engine back to Google, it only stays for a while until the next time you refresh the web browser and the Hola search engine reappears.

Name Holasearch.com
Type Browser hijacker/potentially unwanted program
Related file This browser hijacker comes together with the Hola Search Toolbar that includes the holasearch.dll file in Internet Explorer
Changes The rogue app can hijack web browsers such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Safari, and append the http://www.holasearch.com search engine, homepage, and new tab URL bar
Activities The browser hijacker can start providing advertisements that carry rogue offers and aim to earn pay-per-click income. Also, the PUP can initiate redirects to other sponsored domains some of which might be potentially dangerous, start collecting browsing-related data by including HTTP cookies, beacons, and pixels into the browser settings
Distribution Suspicious products such as Holasearch come bundled with other freeware and shareware from websites such as download.com, softonic.com, soft32.com, and cnet.com
Elimination If you have been dealing with this browser hijacker lately, you should get rid of it with the help of antimalware software or by employing the step-by-step guidelines that have been added to the end of this article
Fix software If you have discovered any compromised areas on your PC, you can try fixing them with ReimageIntego 

When Holasearch.com virus gets installed on the Windows computer, it might start running questionable processes in the Windows Task Manager and inject bogus keys into the Registry section. Furthermore, you might find the  http://www.holasearch.com argument included in some of the shortcuts on your desktop or on your Windows Startup Menu. If you are employing a Mac device, you might find third-party apps added to the Applications section.

Hola search, also known as ihola!, is a questionable search engine that replaces the default provider such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo. Once the settings are configured, the victim is not able to permanently reverse the engine back to its primary state. So, once the browser hijacker infiltrates your web browser, you are stuck with its new search provider. Keep in mind that you can easily be provided with fake or misleading results if you start initiating search requests.

Holasearch.com might try to fake its useful functionality by providing quick access to e-shopping platforms such as AliExpress, eBay, and other handy websites such as Booking or Tripadvisor. However, you can easily create fast access of your own by including bookmarks to your web browser. There is no need for using the PUP's services when you have other alternatives. Besides, the app will bring you more negative things than positive ones.

Holasearch.com is an unfair search engine, which can easily try to return for your altered search results and, with the help of them, may redirect you to its affiliate websites. Most of these pages are likely to be filled with sponsored advertisements, however, this is not all that you can find there. Sometimes, redirecting sessions are capable of taking the user to potentially malicious domains which often relate in severe malware infections, e.g. ransomware viruses or trojans.

While we cannot claim that this program is a virus or malware, holasearch.com should not be trusted and should never be used instead of the default search engine and the start page. Otherwise, there is no guarantee that you would not be redirected to questionable websites that are promoted just for helping them to increase their page rank or sales. Please, keep in mind that this search engine has been created for monetization purposes.

Holasearch.comHolasearch.com - a browser hijacker that might inject HTTP cookies, pixels, or beacons to track the user's browsing history

Holasearch.com itself can deliver intrusive advertisements during browsing sessions. Most of the time, developers seek to gain pay-per-click[2] income form each click that is performed on the provided ads. However, you should not trust any content that is produced by the browser hijacker as the PUP is likely to bring bogus offers and deals to the surface. Also, you might get provided by various technical support scams, fake reward claims, and other misleading messages.

Hola search can come bundled with other potentially unwanted programs such as adware, scareware, or browser hijackers. When the mentioned app arrives at your computer system, you should initiate a full investigation process and check if has not left any other questionable programs on the device. Nevertheless, the browser hijacker can act as an intermediary for malware distribution and spread dangerous virus forms such as trojans, spyware, ransomware, worms.

Finally, beware that holasearch.com may also try to collect information about your browsing habits. Typically, this program is interested in people's search terms, mostly visited websites, data that they enter when visiting them, the IP address, geographic location, and browser technical information. When this type of information is collected by using HTTP cookies[3] or pixels, beacons, developers can share it with other parties for gaining monetary profit.

If you are willing to receive legitimate search results, you should remove Holasearch.com form each of your web browsers (Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, and other ones). This will also help you to avoid redirects to unknown websites, slowdowns, various pop-up ads, and similar inconveniences. Get rid of the PUP with the help of a reliable antimalware tool or by using the manual step-by-step guidelines that have been added to the end of this article.

Holasearch.com removal also includes fully cleaning web browser apps such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, and Safari as they might also be filled with various bogus extensions, plug-ins, and add-ons. If the browser hijacker has brought other suspicious or malicious programs to your computer system, you should check it for possible damage. If you discover any altered areas, try repairing them with a tool such as ReimageIntego.

Holasearch.com virus

Browser hijackers employ stealth techniques to occupy browsers

Browser-hijacking applications can be easily downloaded to the system manually. However, the most used method for its distribution is called bundling and the PUP can easily infiltrate your computer in a bundle with freeware and shareware. If you do not want to download a rogue app accidentally, you should start monitoring the installation of third-party software.

You should try to pay more attention to the installation process of download managers, PDF creators and similar programs by selecting Custom or Advanced installation of the freeware. After doing so, you should deselect all suspicious checkmarks that can appear during the installation of the software. Also, avoid downloading products and services from unsecured third-party downloading sources such as cnet.com, download.com, softonic.com, and soft32.com.

According to LosVirus.es specialists,[4] browser hijackers can also invade the computer system through fake software updates. If you are browsing the Internet and get provided with a rogue update request, do not rush to agree with it. First, take your time for searching the recently released updates of the app. Then, get all required upgrades only from the official developers and original Internet sources.

Removing Holasearch.com virus permanently

Holasearch.com removal should be taken care of as soon as you see the hijacked search engine in your web browser. Keep in mind that the longer you postpone the elimination, the worse the annoying activities might get. For this process, we recommend employing reliable antimalware software that will scan your entire operating system, check it for rogue apps, and eliminate all the suspicious products that were included by the browser hijacker.

If you want to remove Holasearch.com by yourself and already have experience in this type of field, you can go for it. Below we have provided some manual guiding steps that should be helpful while trying to clean your Windows, Mac operating systems and web browser applications such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, and Safari.

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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Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Intego, try running Combo Cleaner.

To remove Holasearch.com, follow these steps:

Delete Holasearch.com from Windows systems

To properly clean your Windows operating system from suspicious programs and products installed, you should apply the following instructing steps.

  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 Holasearch.com and related programs
    Here, look for Holasearch.com 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 Holasearch.com 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 Holasearch.com from Mac OS X system

If your macOS is displaying some infection symptoms, proceed with the following guide:

Remove Holasearch.com from Applications folder:

  1. From the menu bar, select Go > Applications.
  2. In the Applications folder, look for Holasearch.com-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 Holasearch.com, 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 related to Holasearch.com and then delete them.
  4. Now enter /Library/LaunchAgents and /Library/LaunchDaemons folders the same way and terminate all the Holasearch.com-related entries.Uninstall from Mac 2

Get rid of Holasearch.com from Internet Explorer (IE)

To erase all questionable browser helper objects from Internet Explorer and bring the web browser back to its previous state, use these guidelines.

Remove dangerous add-ons:

  1. Open Internet Explorer, click on the Gear icon (IE menu) on the top-right corner of the browser
  2. Pick Manage Add-ons.
  3. You will see a Manage Add-ons window. Here, look for Holasearch.com and other suspicious plugins. Click on these entries and select Disable.Remove add-ons from Internet Explorer

Change your homepage if it was altered:

  1. Open IE and click on the Gear icon.
  2. Select Internet Options.
  3. In the General tab, delete the Home page address and replace it by your preferred one (for example, Google.com).
  4. Click Apply and then select OK.Reset IE homepage

Delete temporary files:

  1. Press on the Gear icon and select Internet Options.
  2. Under Browsing history, click Delete…
  3. Select relevant fields and press Delete.Clear temporary files from Internet Explorer

Reset Internet Explorer:

  1. Click on Gear icon > Internet options and select Advanced tab.
  2. Select Reset.
  3. In the new window, check Delete personal settings and select Reset again to complete Holasearch.com removal.Reset Internet Explorer

Remove Holasearch.com 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 Holasearch.com-related 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

Reset MS Edge if that 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 DeleteAdvanced 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” -VerboseAdvanced 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

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

Eliminate Holasearch.com from Google Chrome

To make sure that the browser hijacker is no longer active on your Google Chrome web browser, you should apply the below-provided instructions.

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

Delete Holasearch.com 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 Holasearch.com 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 Holasearch.com, 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 Holasearch.com removal process. Select all options and click on 'Reset' button

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About the author
Olivia Morelli
Olivia Morelli - Ransomware analyst

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References
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