Severity scale:  
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Remove Pwr-search.com virus (Virus Removal Instructions) - Chrome, Firefox, IE, Edge

removal by Jake Doevan - - | Type: Browser hijacker

Pwr-search.com – a search engine that might spy on you

The screenshot of Pwr-search.com

Pwr-search.com is a questionable search engine created by Traffisco LLC which is a digital advertising and monetization company launched in 2015. To the security researchers this program is known as a browser hijacker[1] that might:

  • get installed on the computer with freeware or shareware,
  • alter browser’s settings,
  • set Pwr-search.com as default browser’s homepage or/and search engine,
  • modify new tab page,
  • make changes in Windows Registry,
  • include sponsored links into search results,
  • collect information about the users.

The main sign of Pwr-search.com virus is the new search engine set as the default homepage. At first glance, it might look like as an ordinary search tool that includes quick links to social networks, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or YouTube, shopping sites, such as eBay, Amazon or Aliexpress, and Wikipedia. It seems that everything that you may need is placed on the startup page.

However, these links might be the only user-friendly feature. The search engine itself might alter search results and trick you into clicking a sponsored link. The Pwr-search.com results page look similar to Google’s. However, the resemblance is misleading.

Some of the links may lead to potentially dangerous or useless websites where you won’t find needed information. Moreover, you might be redirected to tech support scam, phishing or another suspicious Internet site that has been created for spreading malicious programs.

As you can see, this search tool may not complete the primary function completely. Therefore, you should not keep it on your Chrome, Firefox, Explorer or whatever search engine you are using. You should remove Pwr-search.com immediately using reputable security software, such as ReimageIntego.

The picture of Pwr-search.com virusPwr-search.com browser hijacker is designed to change affected browser's homepage and search engine address.

Traffisco collects information about users with the help of a suspicious search tool

Reading the Privacy Policy is one of the most important tasks before starting using or installing a new program. However, security researchers from the United States, Finland,[2] and other European countries noticed that users rarely read this document carefully. As a result, they risk having privacy related issues.

On Pwr-search.com site you might also find the Privacy Policy that discloses what information the hijacker collects. It tracks personal and anonymous information with the help of cookies and other tracking technologies. What is more, the company allows installation of third-party tracking technologies. Thus, developers, advertising networks, and unknown third-parties might get this information about you:

  • name,
  • address,
  • email address,
  • telephone number,
  • IP address,
  • browser type and language,
  • the number of page views,
  • link clicks,
  • login times,
  • etc.

Aggregated details are used for providing the best service as possible and managing their business. Thus, the information might be shared with business partners and authorized service providers. Probably, you understand that you cannot control who might get access to your sensitive data. It might be cyber criminals, so you should protect your privacy by completing Pwr-search.com removal.

Every browser can be hijacked after the installation of freeware

Nevertheless, Pwr-search.com hijack might seem unexpected; the reasons why it happened are clear. The PUP spreads in software packages and enters the system when a user installs freeware under Quick/Recommended setup.

In order to protect your browser from the hijack[3] or installation from suspicious browser extensions, you have to install new programs under Advanced/Custom setup. These settings allow “unpacking” the software package and seeing what hides inside.

If you download freeware or shareware, you are most likely to see the list of pre-selected entries. Undoubtedly, they are presented as useful “optional downloads.” No matter how convenient these tools might look, unmark these entries because they might cause lots of problems.

Dissolve the Pwr-search.com virus from each of your browsers

You can choose Pwr-search.com removal method based on your skills. If you are an experienced user and have already dealt with similar threats in the past, you should opt for the manual elimination option. If it’s your first meeting with PUP, you should choose an automatic method.

In order to remove Pwr-search.com manually, you have to find all suspicious entries that might be installed on the computer or web browsers. Once you uninstall them, reset each of the browsers because it’s the only way to get rid of tracking cookies.

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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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 Pwr-search.com virus, follow these steps:

Remove Pwr-search.com from Windows systems

If you are ready to get rid of Pwr-search.com, you should follow these instructions:

  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 Pwr-search.com and related programs
    Here, look for Pwr-search.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 Pwr-search.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.

Delete Pwr-search.com from Mac OS X system

The hijacker usually aims at Windows OS users, but Mac OS X is not immune. Thus, if your browser was hijacked, follow these steps:

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

Remove Pwr-search.com from Applications folder:

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

Uninstall Pwr-search.com from Internet Explorer (IE)

You will be able to set your preferred homepage once you complete virus removal:

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 Pwr-search.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 Pwr-search.com removal.Reset Internet Explorer

Get rid of Pwr-search.com virus from Microsoft Edge

These instructions will guide you through the hijacker's elimination:

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 Pwr-search.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

Erase Pwr-search.com from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

First of all, make sure that any suspicious Firefox extensions were not installed without your knowledge. Then reset the browser to delete tracking cookies and other components.

  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 Pwr-search.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 Pwr-search.com removal. Click on 'Reset Firefox' button for a couple of times

Eliminate Pwr-search.com from Google Chrome

After the Pwr-search.com hijack, you should uninstall unknown browser extensions and reset Chrome.

  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 Pwr-search.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 Pwr-search.com removal. Click on 'Reset' button to complete your removal

Remove Pwr-search.com from Safari

Safari may have suffered from the hijack too. These instructions will show you how it's done:

  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 Pwr-search.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 Pwr-search.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 Pwr-search.com removal process. Select all options and click on 'Reset' button

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
Jake Doevan
Jake Doevan - Computer technology expert

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