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Remove iStart123 virus (Removal Guide) - updated Aug 2019

removal by Ugnius Kiguolis - -   Also known as iStart123 redirect, iStart123 hijack | Type: Browser Hijackers

iStart123 – a browser hijacker set to place its own engine on your browser app

iStart123 PUPiStart123 is considered to be a potentially unwanted program that can appear on the system with the help of bundling

iStart123 is a browser hijacker, which is capable of taking over all web browsers that can be found on the system. It is compatible with Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer and other web browsers, so don't be surprised after discovering that you can't avoid this search engine. Also, you may start noticing continuous redirects to istart123.com and other unknown web sites, annoying pop-up ads,[1] slowdowns, changes of your homepage and default search engine to http://www.istart123.com, etc.  No matter that such activities look harmless, you should always keep in mind that iStart123 redirects may end up on a suspicious website that may be filled with questionable content. 

Name iStart123
Type Browser hijacker
Sub-type Potentially unwanted program
Search engine http://www.istart123.com
Activities Modifying the default engine and homepage, placing advertising content on your desktop, redirecting you to promoted sources
Compatible with Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, and other browsers
Distribution process Bundled programs are the most popular locations of browser hijackers and other potentially unwanted content
Removal tip Before you opt for the removal of this app, scan your system with Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego to find all possibly infectious content on your computer system

iStart123 browser hijack is a process that you will possibly experience while dealing with this potentially unwanted program. Of course, the changes will not be satisfying. Every time you launch your hijacked browser app, you will be forced to use the modified engine and perform search requests via the new search zone.

It is known that iStart123 virus takes the user straightly to Google-provided search results when making a request via the http://www.istart123.com engine so it looks like the described usefulness of this app does not make any sense. Developers might promote it as a way to browse the Internet sphere in a faster and easier way.

Furthermore, you might find content related to iStart123 all over your computer and browsers. The app might add registry keys, files, and shortcuts on your system and include suspicious extensions, add-ons in your browser settings. Note that if you are keen on removing the browser hijacker, you will need to clean ALL affected locations.

iStart123 browser hijackeriStart123 - a browser hijacker that can provoke the appearance of third-party ads

Another activity of iStart123 is redirecting the user to affiliate websites. However, these redirects might appear dangerous as you might easily end up on a malware-laden source. Besides, the developers themselves claim that their services might include third-party links injected as they are found useful:

Our Services make use of links to other sites on the Internet that are owned and operated by online merchants and other third parties. You acknowledge that we are not responsible for the availability of,or the content located on or through,any third-party site.

Additionally, iStart123 can end up promoting rogue products and services via advertising notifications. These ads might start covering the entire screen of your computer and annoying you while browsing the Internet sphere. This activity can also relate to the increasing CPU or GPU usage on your machine. The power can rise up even over 90%!

For this not to happen, you need to remove iStart123 virus from both your operating system and infected web browser applications. This can easily be done by detecting all affected directories with Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego or by using manual guidelines that are placed at the end of this article. The sooner you get rid of the PUP, the better it will be for your computer.

Another reason to carry out iStart123 removal on time is the fact that this browser hijacker might use cookies and similar tracking technologies for collecting information about your browsing experience and activities. This data often refers to places you have visited, saved bookmarks and is shared with other parties.

Another way how iStart123 might use the collected information is for creating beneficial-looking adverts. Developers identify what type of offers are searched the most by spying on users' browsing activities and are capable of providing ads regarding the collected data. This way a bigger number of users are convinced to click on provided notifications.

iStart123 virus

Browser hijackers reach the system in mysterious ways

According to experts from Virusai.lt,[2] browser hijacker and similar PUPs may show up on your web browser out of nowhere. That's because they are actively spread in a bundle with freeware and shareware. If you are interested in PCs and their security, you must have heard about bundling, which is actively used for spreading adware and browser hijackers.

In order to prevent infiltration of such suspicious programs, you should start spending more time when selecting free programs that you want to download on your computer. Please, look for other people's reviews, comments, and similar opinions. If everything looks fine, then select Custom or Advanced installation of the freeware.

This will give you the ability to see what “optional” downloads are trying to get inside your PC system. Of course, you should opt-out of them by unchecking all checkboxes saying that you agree to change your start page or default search engine. Continuously, always have an antivirus working on your machine which will warn you when something odd is trying to reach the system.

Get rid of iStart123 virus and all related files

iStart123 removal process should be a necessity for you if you want to ensure full optimization of your web browser and computer system. Gladly, this potentially unwanted program can be eliminated within a few clicks by using anti-malware software or you can use the below-provided instructions for manual termination purposes.

If you are a less-experienced user, you should better remove iStart123 virus with the help of automatical software in order not to make harmful mistakes or miss suspicious components. However, if you are self-confident enough, you can continue by cleaning hijacked web browsers[3] and your operating system by yourself.

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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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 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 iStart123 virus, follow these steps:

Eliminate iStart123 from Windows systems

Get rid of suspicious processes and files from your Windows computer system. You can use the help of these 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 iStart123 and related programs
    Here, look for iStart123 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 iStart123 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.

Uninstall iStart123 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 iStart123 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 iStart123 from Internet Explorer (IE)

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 iStart123 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 iStart123 removal.Reset Internet Explorer

Erase iStart123 virus 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 iStart123-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

Get rid of iStart123 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 iStart123 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 iStart123 removal. Click on 'Reset Firefox' button for a couple of times

Remove iStart123 from Google Chrome

Cleaning Google Chrome is a possibility for

  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 iStart123 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 iStart123 removal. Click on 'Reset' button to complete your removal

Eliminate iStart123 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 iStart123 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 iStart123, 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 iStart123 removal process. Select all options and click on 'Reset' button

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 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
Ugnius Kiguolis
Ugnius Kiguolis - The mastermind

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