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Remove MaskSearch.com virus (Chrome, Firefox, IE, Edge) - Free Guide

removal by Alice Woods - - | Type: Stealing programs

Things to consider before using MaskSearch.com

Google Chrome users who are looking for new search engine might encounter MaskSearch.com virus. It’s a suspicious tool created by FreshTab Technologies that is presented as a “privacy-enhanced” search engine and browser extension[1]. According to the developers, it protects user’s privacy and does not share any personal information. While other search engines collect non-personally identifying information, such as IP address, user agent, browsing-related information, this search tool, according to their Privacy Policy, may do not collect this kind of information. However, there are some other issues why we are talking about it today. MaskSearch.com browser hijacker[2] has one incredibly annoying feature – it infiltrates the system secretly, bundled with various free programs users download from the Internet. Once inside, it alters browser’s settings and sets its domain as the default homepage. Since then users are forced to use this search engine and cannot get back to their old habits to use well-known and reliable search tools such as Google or Yahoo. Only MaskSearch.com removal can help to set preferred homepage and search engine. We recommend to do it as soon as you see this website on your browser. Speed up hijacker’s elimination with ReimageIntego and avoid other unpleasant features.

Questions about MaskSearch.com virus

MaskSearch.com virus needs to take control over the browser because it has to deliver sponsored content to the users. Commercial content might come in every form and shape[3]: pop-ups, banners, in-text ads, redirects to promotional websites and modified search results. The latter activity is quite annoying because instead of relevant results you might find sponsored links. Searching for information and regular browsing might be disturbed by eye-catching ads and sudden redirects as well. MaskSearch.com redirect problems might lead to even bigger problems that annoyance and inability to spend hours online without being distracted by commercial content. The problem is with delivered third-party content – when you click on the ad or link provided in the search results, you take full responsibility for what happens there. Keep in mind that you might enter phishing or infected website[4] where you can encounter ransomware and lose personal data. Browser hijacker can let you explore the world of potentially dangerous content, so if you value your safety, you should remove MaskSearch.com without hesitation.

The picture of MaskSearch.com virus

Why did this search engine appear on my browser?

The reason why your browser has been hijacked is that you didn’t take proper attention to recent software installation. Browser hijackers, as well as other potentially unwanted programs[5], spread bundled with freeware and shareware. So, you can expect MaskSearch.com hijack every time you install a new program using “Basic” or “Recommended” settings. This setup hides all optional applications that are added to the software package and installs them by default. Bear in mind that installer does not inform you about this activity. However, if you want to know what PUPs might be installed on your device, you have to opt for “Advanced” or “Custom” installation. This setup allows “unpacking” the program and adjusting installation settings. Only choosing this installation mode is not enough, you have to monitor each step carefully and read all provided information because you might unnoticed and skip some important step. For example, you might leave a pre-selected statement that you agree to make MaskSearch.com as your default homepage. This little mistake might cause you unpleasant experiences in the future, so don’t rush and take your time with software installation.

MaskSearch.com removal methods

For MaskSearch.com removal you have two options. You can opt for manual or automatic elimination. If you think about the first method, before making a decision, check our prepared instructions below. If they don’t look complicated and hard to follow, we wish you patience and good luck. Once you finish, we recommend scanning the computer with the reputable anti-malware tool just to make sure that you managed to delete all hijacker-related files. However, if you want to succeed from the first time, choose to remove MaskSearch.com automatically. This method requires running a full system scan with malware removal program.

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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To remove MaskSearch.com virus, follow these steps:

Uninstall MaskSearch.com from Windows systems

If you got infected with MaskSearch.com virus, you have to identify the program that is responsible for installing hijacker and remove it along with the virus. Don’t forget to check and fix your web browser’s as well. Hijacker designed to target Google Chrome; however, you should check all web browser installed on your PC.

To remove MaskSearch.com virus from Windows 10/8  machines, please follow these steps:

  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 entries related to MaskSearch.com virus (or any other recently installed 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.

Erase MaskSearch.com from Mac OS X system

Remove MaskSearch.com virus from Applications folder:

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

Get rid of MaskSearch.com 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 MaskSearch.com virus 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 MaskSearch.com virus removal.Reset Internet Explorer

Delete MaskSearch.com 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 MaskSearch.com virus-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

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 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

Remove MaskSearch.com 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 plugins that are related to MaskSearch.com virus 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

In case MaskSearch.com virus did not get removed after following the instructions above, 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 – this should complete MaskSearch.com virus removal.Reset Firefox 2

Eliminate MaskSearch.com from Google Chrome

MaskSearch.com virus might have installed its browser extension and other third-party plugins, so you have to uninstall all suspicious applications. Then, reset Google Chrome’s settings as shown below.

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 MaskSearch.com virus 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 like MaskSearch.com virus 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 MaskSearch.com virus-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 to complete MaskSearch.com virus removal.Reset Chrome 2

Uninstall MaskSearch.com from Safari

Remove unwanted extensions from Safari:

  1. Click Safari > Preferences…
  2. In the new window, pick Extensions.
  3. Select the unwanted extension related to MaskSearch.com virus 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 MaskSearch.com 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.

Protect your privacy – employ a VPN

There are several ways how to make your online time more private – you can access an incognito tab. However, there is no secret that even in this mode, you are tracked for advertising purposes. There is a way to add an extra layer of protection and create a completely anonymous web browsing practice with the help of Private Internet Access VPN. This software reroutes traffic through different servers, thus leaving your IP address and geolocation in disguise. Besides, it is based on a strict no-log policy, meaning that no data will be recorded, leaked, and available for both first and third parties. The combination of a secure web browser and Private Internet Access VPN will let you browse the Internet without a feeling of being spied or targeted by criminals. 

No backups? No problem. Use a data recovery tool

If you wonder how data loss can occur, you should not look any further for answers – human errors, malware attacks, hardware failures, power cuts, natural disasters, or even simple negligence. In some cases, lost files are extremely important, and many straight out panic when such an unfortunate course of events happen. Due to this, you should always ensure that you prepare proper data backups on a regular basis.

If you were caught by surprise and did not have any backups to restore your files from, not everything is lost. Data Recovery Pro is one of the leading file recovery solutions you can find on the market – it is likely to restore even lost emails or data located on an external device.

About the author
Alice Woods
Alice Woods - Likes to teach users about virus prevention

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  1. Henrieta says:
    January 16th, 2017 at 6:08 am

    This search engine looked so innocent!

  2. Firefox says:
    January 16th, 2017 at 6:09 am

    Why does developer lie? I thought it was a genuine search engine… But after using it for a while, I figured out that these redirects are not normal.

Your opinion regarding MaskSearch.com virus