Severity scale:  
  (11/100)

Remove Maps Assist (Removal Instructions) - Chrome, Firefox, IE, Edge

removal by Jake Doevan - - | Type: Browser Hijackers

Maps Assist is a browser hijacker that redirects all search results to Yahoo

Maps AssistMaps Assist is a potentially unwanted application that tracks users' data in order to monetize on targeted advertisements

Maps Assist is a potentially unwanted application that users can encounter when downloading freeware from third-party websites, among others. While the installation can sometimes be intentional via Chrome Store, most find it on their Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, or another browser, seemingly out of nowhere due to deceptive distribution techniques.

Once installed, Maps Assist will append an extension to the used browser and change other preferences, such as the new tab/homepage, which would be set to mapsassist.com. Additionally, a fake search engine is also presented to users – each time they search for something online, they will be redirected to Yahoo.

Unlike the original Yahoo engine, however, Maps Assist hijack would show alternative search results, most of which are filled with sponsored links that the top. In the background, the PUA collects a variety of information about users – the practice is very common and used for targeted advertising, as well as sharing of such details with affiliates, service providers, as well as third parties.

Name Maps Assist
Type Browser hijacker, potentially unwanted program
Developer Innover Group
Distribution The extension can be downloaded from official sources, although most users install it through software bundle packages downloaded from third-party sites
Symptoms 
  • Maps Assist extension installed on the web browser (in some cases, the hijack might be related to the installed application instead)
  • Homepage and new tab URL set to mapsassist.com
  • A customized search engine redirects all search results to Yahoo
  • Search results filled with sponsored links
Risks  Installation of other unwanted software/malware, information disclosure to unknown parties, monetary loss
Removal To uninstall the app, access the extension section of your web browser; in case the hijack is related to an installed application, follow the steps we provide in our instructions below
Additional steps  In case you can not eliminate the extension or an application, you should reset the installed browsers, and perform scans with powerful anti-malware, as well as repair software such as Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego 

Browser hijackers are extremely common and can be downloaded from many different places. While not considered as major security threats, these unwanted programs should not be ignored, especially if they showed up on the system without permission. 

Some browser hijackers, such as Mazy Search, Flare Search, or Search Marquis, are known to set “Managed by your organization” on the web browser, which may prevent an easy termination of these apps. Thus, if you fail to remove Maps Assist in a regular way through the extensions section, there might be that there is another PUP installed on your system, or your browser settings are not allowing you to do that.

Maps Assist is an extension that attempts to flaunt its functionality, in this case – directions and maps assistance. The maps function identically to Google Maps, however, so there is nothing unique about this functionality. Even if you choose to use this feature, keep in mind that it comes with a (hidden) cost that might not be so apparent straight away.

As soon as the hijacker gains access to the web browser, it changes the homepage, the new tab, and the search engine to a customized one. This way, users who search via these tools will be rerouted to a well-known provider Yahoo. Unlike regular Yahoo results, however, users will be presented with several Maps Assist ads at the top – these links are used for monetization by the hijacker authors.

While showing ads is a common practice, you should keep in mind that the top results are paid for and are not organic.[1] As a result, the web browsing experience can be completely altered, and relevant information hard to find. In some cases, users might not even notice the “Ads” notification, and they might believe that their searches are genuine.

Maps Assist hijackMaps Assist is a browser hijacker that typically comes in the form of a browser extension

If you still wonder whether you should perform Maps Assist removal, you should check the website's Privacy Policy section. It soon becomes evident that the developers gather a large portion of information about you, some of which might be shared with third parties for marketing purposes. Examples of such collected data include:

  • IP address and Internet Service Provider (ISP)
  • Geolocation
  • Browser and installed extension information
  • Links clicked
  • Sites visited
  • Wallpapers downloaded
  • Uploaded files
  • Flight routes, etc.

As evident, such extensive data harvesting might cause serious privacy issues in case these details end up in cybercriminals' hands. Therefore, experts[2] advise not risking and preventing third-parties from tracking you. As evident, the solution is to uninstall Maps Assist ASAP.

To do that, you should get rid of the Maps Assist extension – simply access browser settings. In some cases, the hijack could be related to another program installed on your system. In such a case, we recommend scanning the device with anti-malware such as SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes and then fixing possible virus damage with Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego repair utility.

You can easily prevent unintentional installation of unwanted programs

Trojans[3] are known to be installed when users believe that they are installing a legitimate program on their computer. The best example is a pirated application installer that offers to bypass the program's licensing process, allowing it to be used for free. Similarly, browser hijackers end up on users' computers without permission, although the major difference is that they install PUPs themselves – although they are tricked into doing so in the first place.

Software bundling is one of the most common PUP distribution tactics used regularly by various freeware authors and software distribution sites. This tactic involves incorporating several applications into a single installer and then tricking users into installing them unintentionally. For that, several deceptive methods are used, including:

  • Hiding optional programs under the Advanced/Custom installation settings;
  • Providing misleading button placements during the installation;
  • Including relevant information within the fine print, most of which is never read by users;
  • Pre-ticking checkboxes so that users miss the agreement of the installation of optional apps.

Thus, you should be vigilant when you install software from third-party sources (we recommend staying away from pirated programs and software cracks altogether – your machine could easily be infected with malware) – always pick Advanced/Custom settings instead of Recommended ones, read the installation instructions/fine print, untick checkboxes, and install powerful anti-malware that would warn you about potentially unwanted programs.

Maps Assist virusMaps Assist can be installed via official sources, although it is spread via software bundles as well

Maps Assist removal instructions

As previously mentioned, there should not be too much trouble when trying to remove Maps Assist. This application typically comes as an extension and can be found either as an icon in the corner of the window or by accessing the settings of the web browser. However, there might be some difficulties when trying to uninstall the unwanted programs, as they might hijack the browser significantly (e.g., the “Managed by your organization” feature might prevent the elimination of the extension).

In such a case, Maps Assist removal can be performed with the help of browser reset – you can find the details below. Additionally, unwanted applications might also be installed on your system; you should check the installed program section via Control Panel (Windows) or Applications folder (Mac). Furthermore, you should also perform a full system scan with powerful anti-malware – it should also allow you to get rid of the invisible threats that could be present on your machine.

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 Maps Assist, follow these steps:

Delete Maps Assist 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 Maps Assist and related programs
    Here, look for Maps Assist 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 Maps Assist 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 Maps Assist from Mac OS X system

To delete unwanted apps from a Mac, follow these steps:

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

Remove Maps Assist from Applications folder:

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

Get rid of Maps Assist 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 Maps Assist 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 Maps Assist removal.Reset Internet Explorer

Remove Maps Assist 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 Maps Assist-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

Eliminate Maps Assist from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

Firefox should be reset if you are unable to get rid of some extensions:

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

Uninstall Maps Assist from Google Chrome

Some hijackers may leave unwanted components even after their uninstallation. In such a case, reset Google Chrome as explained below

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

Delete Maps Assist 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 Maps Assist 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 Maps Assist, 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 Maps Assist removal process. Select all options and click on 'Reset' button

Choose a proper web browser and improve your safety with a VPN tool

Online spying has got momentum in recent years and people are getting more and more interested in how to protect their privacy online. One of the basic means to add a layer of security – choose the most private and secure web browser. Although web browsers can't grant a full privacy protection and security, some of them are much better at sandboxing, HTTPS upgrading, active content blocking, tracking blocking, phishing protection, and similar privacy-oriented features. However, if you want true anonymity, we suggest you employ a powerful Private Internet Access VPN – it can encrypt all the traffic that comes and goes out of your computer, preventing tracking completely.

 

Recover files after data-affecting malware attacks

While much of the data can be accidentally deleted due to various reasons, malware is one of the main culprits that can cause loss of pictures, documents, videos, and other important files. More serious malware infections lead to significant data loss when your documents, system files, and images get encrypted. In particular, ransomware is is a type of malware that focuses on such functions, so your files become useless without an ability to access them.

Even though there is little to no possibility to recover after file-locking threats, some applications have features for data recovery in the system. In some cases, Data Recovery Pro can also help to recover at least some portion of your data after data-locking virus infection or general cyber infection. 

 

About the author
Jake Doevan
Jake Doevan - Computer technology expert

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