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Safe Finder virus. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Olivia Morelli - -   Also known as safefinder | Type: Browser hijacker

Safe Finder – is a potentially unwanted application which may trick you into downloading useless software

Safe Finder virus
Safe Finder is a browser hijacker that seeks to monetize on compromised users' browsing experience.

Questions about Safe Finder virus

Safe Finder virus is a browser hijacker designed by Linkury which specializes in ad-tech market. The potentially unwanted program (PUP) has also been involved to adware-type viruses because of sponsored content displayed to its victims. It can infiltrate Google Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox on both Mac and Windows operating systems. Recently, hijacker was found to be used for the distribution of Advanced Mac Cleaner, so there is no doubt that its claims to be safe and secure are invented.

Summary
Name Safe Finder
Developer Linkury
Category Browser hijacker
Discovered on 2015
Operating systems affected Windows OS, Mac OS X
Programs spread in a bundle Advanced Mac Cleaner
Main symptoms Start page and default search engine are altered, experts also report about redirects to sponsored websites, appearance of continuous advertisements, slowdowns, etc.
Main dangers The app spies on its users, can redirect them to infected websites, install other adware and similar PUPs
Elimination You can uninstall SafeFinder with the help of Reimage. A full system scan is highly recommended to eliminate all components of this malware

Once installed on the browser, SafeFinder hijack changes the default search engine, the start page and the new tab page. As a result, it fills each of web browsers with bothersome and sometimes even malicious advertisements, and interrupts users' browsing sessions in other ways. 

Some variations of this cyber infection are known as:

Safe Finder browser hijacker
Safe Finder promises enhanced functionality while browsing. Nevertheless, this program is potentially dangerous and should be avoided

It seems that Safer Finder virus has mostly been noticed on Mac OS, when compared to Windows OS. Thus, if you are the owner of Apple products, you should be aware of the persistent Mac Safe Finder version. As we have noticed, it is closely related to the Advanced Mac Cleaner which is known as another questionable tool that should not be installed on the device. Unfortunately, this cyber infection might sneak inside the computer no matter if you want it or not. 

Though it doesn't matter whether you are a Mac or Windows user, or what version of the hijacker attacked your device, you should focus on the same task – Safe Finder removal. The quickest way to get rid of this PUP is to run a full system scan with a reliable anti-malware program, such as Reimage or Plumbytes Anti-MalwareMalwarebytes Malwarebytes. If you do not prefer using additional software, scroll down to the end of the article and follow our prepared manual removal guidelines.

Things to expect after choosing to keep the Safe Finder

The first thing you must remember is that Safe Finder imitates a search engine, but works in a deceptive manner. It claims that it is powered by Yahoo, but don’t think that the search engine is safe because of that! This rogue app tries to camouflage its dubious reputation behind the name of a reputable search website[1]

Being a browser hijacker,[2] this virus alters its search outcomes by adding hideous hyperlinks causing redirects to third-party web pages. That means that whenever you attempt to search something online via this bogus search engine, random and unexpected Safe Finder redirect issues might send you to websites that you did not plan to visit. Beware that each destination directed by Safe Finder can hardly be checked by developers of this app as their only aim is to earn money. We believe that this is yet another reason to remove Safe Finder from the system.

Websites which you might be rerouted to belong to the affiliates of this application, and, while some of them might be safe, others can be very dangerous. In some cases, you might end up on a phishing site – a lookalike page (such as Facebook, Netflix accounts, etc.). Once you enter your credentials, you will merely provide the username and password of your account directly to cybercrooks.

SafeFinder can also bring you to the website that promotes the download and installation of bogus software. Typically, the promotion is done unfairly – fake ads inside the browser display various error messages or virus alerts. These sites are nothing but a scam and only try to trick users into either calling bogus tech support or making users download useless software

SafeFinder virus
With the help of SafeFinder scareware programs may be installed on your computer

If you agree to download the fraudulent anti-malware software (also: speed-up software, driver updater, system optimizer, registry cleaner, etc.), it might bring you into more trouble. The program usually performs several scans and allegedly finds multiple issues. It turns out, all these issues are fake as well, and you will be prompted to buy the full version of the app, which is not cheap in most cases.

These type of applications are called Scareware as they try to scare user that their machine is in trouble in order to earn some money (in other words – it's a scam). Unfortunately, many people who lack technical knowledge will be willing to pay $19.99 just because they want to keep their machine safe. This way, Scareware production became a multi-million dollar business worldwide. Examples of scareware programs include:

Any of these programs, and many others, may be offered to you in one way or another. Ignore these deceptive apps!

Bypassing the risks of Safe Finder for Mac virus

The most victims dealing with Safe Finder are Mac users. The most of them have reported about a close relation between this PUP and Advanced Mac Cleaner. We highly recommend uninstalling this app because it is just a misleading optimizer that reports about thousands of computer errors.

Besides, if you are not attentive enough while installing this app, you can end up with Safe Finder hijack. To bypass the risk of getting your PC accidentally infected, follow these guidelines:

  1. Be attentive enough while installing freeware on your computer. 
  2. Do not use a search website that has become your browser homepage without your knowledge. It is 99% of probability that your computer was hijacked by a PUP;
  3. Do not click on suspicious pop-up ads or banners that continuously appear on your screen. The appearance of super intrusive ads[3] indicates that computer might have been infected with spyware or malware, too.
  4. Install a reliable anti-spyware software to keep your computer secured. Such program continuously scans the system and searches for dangerous apps that may have been installed without your consent. Thus, these tools will help you disable Safe Finder on Mac and Windows as well.

Countering the hijacker. What you need to know about Safe Finder

As you can see, Safe Finder is not that safe at all. In fact, it is not a popular search site, so many PC users get surprised when they see this web page instead of their regular homepage. This browser hijacker tends to occupy users' computers in a silent way, pretending to be a “recommended program[4]” next to the legitimate free programs. 

Software that holds additional apps is called “bundled software.” Beware of such software bundles as in most cases they are used to spread potentially unwanted apps (browser hijackers, adware, browser extensions, add-ons, and plug-ins). The key to keeping your PC secured from such spyware programs is a correct installation of new programs. 

When installing program which is free, make sure you investigate the website that provides a download link to the software that you wish to download. Make sure it is legitimate and safe. When you decide to download the program, install it with attention and care. Do not rush through the installation process by continuously clicking “Next,” “Agree,” and finally “Finish.”

Besides, we highly recommend reading each statement and investigate the Terms of Use document. If you find any hints about the promotion of third-party software, be careful! Once you reach the stage where setup suggests choosing installation settings, opt for the “Advanced/Custom” mode.

These settings provide additional software window that offers a list of suggestions to install optional free apps. Make sure you deselect these suggestions. You should install new programs in such way all the time. However, if Safe Finder PUP has already invaded your Mac or Windows operating system, keep on reading this article to learn how to banish it from your computer.

Frequently asked questions about Safe Finder virus on Mac (FAQ)

Question. I have removed “Advanced Mac Cleaner” from the Macbook Pro. However, Safe Finder still appears on my browser. No matter what I do, I cannot delete it from Chrome. What do I need to do?

Answer. This PUP spreads around as a browser extension. Thus, you need to open the list of Google Chrome extensions and remove it from there. If you need a detailed explanation how to do it, please scroll down to the end of the article and follow our prepared instructions.

Question. Safe Finder virus hijacked my Safari browser. How can I remove it?

Answer. After the Safe Finder hijack, you should scan your device with professional anti-malware software, such as Reimage. It will detect and eliminate this adware/browser hijacker from the device. Additionally, you can uninstall this browser extension: Open “Preferences” and go to “Extensions,” and uninstall the add-on. Then, you need to reset Safari settings. Safari reset instructions are presented bellow.

Safe Finder PUP
Safe Finder hijack changes the default search engine, the start page and the new tab page

Question. Probably, I was falsely informed about the necessity to update Flash Player… As a result, I found Safe Finder extension installed on the Safari. It loads whenever I launch Safari. I have no intentions of using it, but I cannot remove it too. I’ve tried to uninstall it, but it showed up again. Help me!

Answer. So-called Safari Finder virus might be tricky to remove. Uninstalling browser extension only may not be effective. You should also investigate computer’s system and look for the suspicious application installed on the computer as well. You can find illustrated manual instructions at the end of the article. However, you can remove this virus automatically with a help reputable security tool.

Question. How can I permanently remove Safe Finder from Mac? These pop-ups offering Advanced Mac Cleaner are getting more and more aggressive.

Answer. The best way to terminate the adware is to run a full system scan with anti-malware/anti-spyware program. However, you can use our prepared instructions below and get rid of the virus manually. No matter which method you choose, don’t forget that removal requires three steps: 1) get rid of Safe Finder from Mac; 2) uninstall Safe Finder browser extension from your browsers; 3) reset your browser.

Safe Finder elimination guide

The virus can be terminated manually and automatically. Our team of computer experts has prepared comprehensive and detailed Safe Finder removal instructions which can be found just below the article. We strongly recommend scanning your system with a reputable anti-spyware[5] afterward; it might find additional programs that should not be kept installed on your PC. 

With an anti-spyware software, you can also easily remove this PC intruder automatically. Choose whatever removal method works best for you and remove Safe Finder virus without delay! Otherwise, you can put yourself at the risk of losing your personal information, being redirected to an infected website

You can remove virus damage automatically with a help of one of these programs: Reimage, Malwarebytes MalwarebytesCombo Cleaner, Plumbytes Anti-MalwareMalwarebytes Malwarebytes. We recommend these applications because they 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, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage is recommended to remove virus damage. Free scanner allows you to check whether your PC is infected or not. If you need to remove malware, you have to purchase the licensed version of Reimage malware removal tool.
Alternative Software
Different security software includes different virus database. If you didn’t succeed in finding malware with Reimage, try running alternative scan with Malwarebytes.
Alternative Software
Different security software includes different virus database. If you didn’t succeed in finding malware with Reimage, try running alternative scan with Combo Cleaner.

To remove Safe Finder virus, follow these steps:

WindowsMac OS XSafariGoogle ChromeInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefox

Remove Safe Finder from Windows systems

If you want to disable Safe Finder on Windows, you should carefully look through the list of your applications and locate the ones that are related to this hijacker. You can also uninstall all apps that you installed on the same day when Safe finer virus showed up on your browser.

  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 Safe Finder and related programs
    Here, look for Safe Finder 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 Safe Finder 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.

WindowsMac OS XSafariGoogle ChromeInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefox

Get rid of Safe Finder from Mac OS X system

If you are trying to get rid of Safe Finder on Mac, you should find all programs that could be related to this hijacker. According to the latest reports, Advanced Mac Cleaner could be used for spreading this PUP, so make sure you uninstall it together with this hijacker. Also, you should look for other apps that appeared on your computer on the same day as this hijacker.

  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 Safe Finder 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'
WindowsMac OS XSafariGoogle ChromeInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefox

Remove Safe Finder from Safari

If you want to get rid of Safe Finder on Safari, make sure you reset it to defaults. You should also run thru its add-ons and eliminate the suspicious ones.

  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 Safe Finder 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 Safe Finder, 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 Safe Finder removal process. Select all options and click on 'Reset' button
WindowsMac OS XSafariGoogle ChromeInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefox

Eliminate Safe Finder from Google Chrome

If Safe Finder virus is blocking your Google Chrome, you need to reset this browser after removing malicious add-ons from it. Here are the steps that should help you do that.

  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 Safe Finder 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 Safe Finder removal. Click on 'Reset' button to complete your removal
WindowsMac OS XSafariGoogle ChromeInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefox

Delete Safe Finder from Internet Explorer (IE)

To fix Internet Explorer after Safe Finder hijack, you need to remove all add-ons that could be related to this virus. Finally, don't forget to reset your browser.

  1. Remove dangerous add-ons
    Open Internet Explorer, click on the Gear icon (IE menu) on the top right corner of the browser and choose Manage Add-ons. Click on menu icon and select 'Manage add-ons'
  2. You will see a Manage Add-ons window. Here, look for Safe Finder and other suspicious plugins. Disable these entries by clicking Disable: Right click on each of malicious entries and select 'Disable'
  3. Change your homepage if it was altered by virus:
    Click on the gear icon (menu) on the top right corner of the browser and select Internet Options. Stay in General tab.
  4. Here, remove malicious URL and enter preferable domain name. Click Apply to save changes. Delete malicious URL, enter your desired domain name and click 'Apply' to save changes
  5. Reset Internet Explorer
    Click on the gear icon (menu) again and select Internet options. Go to Advanced tab.
  6. Here, select Reset.
  7. When in the new window, check Delete personal settings and select Reset again to complete Safe Finder removal. Go to 'Advanced' tab and click on 'Reset' button. Now select 'Delete personal settings' and click on 'Reset' button again
WindowsMac OS XSafariGoogle ChromeInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefox

Uninstall Safe Finder virus from Microsoft Edge

Reset Microsoft Edge settings (Method 1):

  1. Launch Microsoft Edge app and click More (three dots at the top right corner of the screen).
  2. Click Settings to open more options.
  3. Once Settings window shows up, click Choose what to clear button under Clear browsing data option. Go to Settings and select 'Choose what to clear'
  4. Here, select all what you want to remove and click Clear. Select 'Clear' button
  5. Now you should right-click on the Start button (Windows logo). Here, select Task Manager. Open the start menu and select 'Task Manager'
  6. When in Processes tab, search for Microsoft Edge.
  7. Right-click on it and choose Go to details option. If can’t see Go to details option, click More details and repeat previous steps. Right-click 'Microsoft Edge' and select 'Go to details' Select 'More details' if 'Go to details' option fails to show up
  8. When Details tab shows up, find every entry with Microsoft Edge name in it. Right click on each of them and select End Task to end these entries. Find Microsoft Edge entries and select 'End Task'

Resetting Microsoft Edge browser (Method 2):

If Method 1 failed to help you, you need to use an advanced Edge reset method.

  1. Note: you need to backup your data before using this method.
  2. Find this folder on your computer: C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge_8wekyb3d8bbwe.
  3. Select every entry which is saved on it and right click with your mouse. Then Delete option. Go to Microsoft Edge folder on your computer, right-click every entry and click 'Delete'
  4. Click the Start button (Windows logo) and type in window power in Search my stuff line.
  5. Right-click the Windows PowerShell entry and choose Run as administrator. Find Windows PowerShell, right-click it and select 'Run as administrator'
  6. Once Administrator: Windows PowerShell window shows up, paste this command line after PS C:\WINDOWS\system32> and press Enter:
    Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers -Name Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register $($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml -Verbose}
    Copy and paste a required command and press 'Enter'

Once these steps are finished, Safe Finder should be removed from your Microsoft Edge browser.

WindowsMac OS XSafariGoogle ChromeInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefox

Erase Safe Finder 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 Safe Finder 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 Safe Finder removal. Click on 'Reset Firefox' button for a couple of times

About the author

Olivia Morelli
Olivia Morelli - Ransomware analyst

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