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Remove Safeplex Search (Virus Removal Instructions) - Chrome, Firefox, IE, Edge

removal by Lucia Danes - - | Type: Browser Hijackers

Safeplex Search is an extension for Chrome and Mozilla Firefox web browsers that falls for PUP category due to various manipulations on settings

Safeplex Search virus

Safeplex Search is a potentially unwanted program (PUP) also dubbed as a browser hijacker. Developed by Innover Group Inc, the program is promoted as a secure search app for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox web browsers. It's developers boast about the app's in-built real-time threat protection that can prevent ransomware attacks[1] and other cyber infections. However, it has been revealed that Safeplex Search redirects to affiliate sites and may show sponsored search results by manipulating web browser's settings. 

Upon the installation, the Safeplex Search hijacker replaces a search engine to search.yahoo.com, sets a new start page, new tab window, and adds a related toolbar to the default web browser. Besides, the injected extension gets administrative privileges and starts managing Chrome's and Mozilla's settings to prevent easy removal. Although in general, this search provider is non-malicious, keeping it on the system will bring about an unpleasant experience, such as an increased amount of ads, inappropriate search results, and continuous redirects to safeplexsearch.com sites. 

Name Safeplex Search
Type of malware Browser hijacker / Potentially Unwanted Program (PUP)
Developer Innover Group Inc.
Compatibility Windows and Mac OS. The extension is compatible with Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox web browsers
Distribution There are several distribution strategies used for this PUP:
Official website
Google Play Store
Software bundles
Symptoms The symptom of the Safeplex Search hijack is very obvious, i.e. replacement of start page and search provider, injection of related toolbars, redirects to sponsored Yahoo search, increment in ads, in-text links on random websites, inability to modify certain web browser's settings
Risks Users may be tricked into installing other potentially unwanted programs or unconsciously disclose personal information. 
Termination You can select from manual or automatic removal of the browser hijacker. You can either use security software or check our manual removal guide below
Optimization and recovery Browser hijackers and other PUPs are known for altering web browser's settings. However, they can also modify registries and scatter system's files. Consequently, the system may start showing errors. To prevent such a scenario, we recommend optimizing the system with ReimageIntego tool

Sometimes people describe this search provider as a Safeplex Search virus. The main reason for such reference is related to stealthy infiltration and aggressive modification of the web browser's settings. Although it has an official website and can also be downloaded from the reputable Google Play Store[2], most of its downloads are indirect – via freeware and shareware apps. 

Seeing an app for the first time and not reading its reviews on the web can hardly make people think of this extension as a Safeplex Search virus. In contrast, the extension is represented as a security tool, which provides real-time protection, indicates threats instantly, and ensures non-intrusive experience. An excerpt from the official website states as follows:

Get a report on threats detected from your toolbar, view safety badges on the search results page to avoid visiting harmful sites and get custom web search from your browser search bar.

However, the official website does have any legal document indicating which AV vendors it is cooperating with, neither does it provide details on how is it able to protect users' web browsers from ransomware and other malware attacks. It seems that these promises are bogus since browser extensions, in general, are not that powerful to decontaminate the most dangerous cyber threats. Ar best, Safeplex Search virus detection mat be able to block ads with malicious scripts. 

Those who have already been tricked into installing this PUP should consider Safeplex Search removal due to privacy infringements. A close investigation of the Privacy Policy provided on the official website revealed that the extension is powerful enough to harvest the following user data:

  • package tracking numbers
  • flight information and routes
  • notifications
  • uploaded files
  • to-do list
  • map search queries
  • IP address
  • names
  • ISP
  • browser-related information, etc.

The type of information depends on the specific Extension but may include package tracking numbers, flight information and routes, downloaded wallpapers, notifications, and (on a temporary basis and in no case for more than seven days) certain files you choose to upload. Other types of information necessary to the Extension may be collected but stored only on your computer (i.e., we do not store it on our server). This latter category depends on the specific Extension but may include your astrological sign, your reminders and to-do lists, your recipe search terms and recipes, and your map search queries. 

Although it is stated that the Safeplex Search hijacker collects such information for marketing purposes only, collecting and analyzing personally identifiable information is illicit and can lead to identity theft. 

Besides, do not fall for believing that this doubtful extension will provide a safe web browsing experience. Its main purpose is to generate from affiliate marketing. That is why it replaces the existing search engine and search provider to sponsored Yahoo search. Upon the changes, Safeplex Search redirects to sponsored websites regularly and promotes affiliated content via ads, banners, and pop-ups. 

Unfortunately, there's no way to guarantee that some of the Safeplex Search ads will not redirect to phishing websites, rogue online surveys, x-rated domains, or sites that promote PUPs and malware. Every redirect triggered by this extension poses a potential risk, so it's better to get rid of it asap. 

Safeplex Search hijackerSafeplex Search is a redirect virus that displays sponsored search results and reroutes traffic to affiliate domains

According to NoVirus.uk[3] experts, the best option for Safeplex Search removal is a professional security tool. This potentially unwanted program can infiltrate PCs via freeware and actively promote other PUPs, meaning that your PC may be highly obfuscated. A full scan with SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner, Malwarebytes, or similar tools would help. Besides, do not underestimate the need to optimize the system after the malware attack. To fix corrupted system files and processes, run a scan with ReimageIntego after you remove Safeplex Search virus. 

Browser hijackers use tricks to get user's permission to modify browser's settings

Browser hijackers fall for Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUP) category due to misleading distribution strategy known as bundling. In other words, they are often disseminated as pre-selected parts of freeware installers. The user's option of the express installation stands for permission to install the entire bundle. 

Such distribution lacks the user's choice since he or she is not explicitly informed of what software is going to be installed, how it behaves, what are its intentions, and capabilities. In any case, if the software limits the user's choice and exhibits rather aggressive changes on the web browser and the system, it has no right to stay on the system. 

As for this particular web browser, it spreads in several ways:

  1. Users may be redirected to the official website after clicking on ads provided by the adware-program. The website contains all the necessary information and direct download links. There's nothing suspicious. 
  2. It is promoted on the Google Play Store. However, it's very difficult to detect the extension there, thus it's very likely that people get redirected to the store with the help of adware. 
  3. The last and most successful distribution method of this hijacker is dubbed bundling. It may spread in the disguise of freeware and share installers as an optional component. However, the term “optional” is not appropriate here because the additional extension is typically pre-checked and hidden under the Express installation setup. This way, it gets installed without the user even noticing it. 

Safeplex Search extensionSafeplex Search is classified as PUP due to stealthy distribution and installation techniques

A full guide on Safeplex Search malware removal

No matter how intrusive this browser hijacker can be, Safeplex Search removal is not a big problem. To assist our visitors, we have submitted a comprehensive elimination tutorial that you can find down below. Make sure to follow each step and the PUP should successfully be removed. 

Alternatively, it's advisable to remove Safeplex Search virus using a professional AV program. This way, you will ensure a full system's protection and PUP elimination. Our recommended programs are SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner and Malwarebytes, though you can use any preferred security tool. 

Once you remove Safeplex Search related PUP from the system, it's important to disable the extension on Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox browser depending on which it settled down. Finally, scan with system with ReimageIntego or similar optimization tool fo repair any damage that malware has done to the system. 

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?
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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 Safeplex Search, follow these steps:

Remove Safeplex Search from Windows systems

If you have any problems with the Safeplex Search removal, try rebooting into Safe Mode to disable malware files that interrupt the AV program's scanner

  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 Safeplex Search and related programs
    Here, look for Safeplex Search 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 Safeplex Search 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.

Eliminate Safeplex Search from Mac OS X system

Those who keep experiencing web browsers redirects to Safeplex Search related domains should follow these steps to put the dot in the malware's existence on then system

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

Remove Safeplex Search from Applications folder:

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

Erase Safeplex Search 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 Safeplex Search 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 Safeplex Search removal.Reset Internet Explorer

Get rid of Safeplex Search from Microsoft Edge

Microsoft edge is one of the two web browsers that the Safeplex Search virus can attack. to eradicate it from Mozilla's settings, follow these steps:

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 Safeplex Search-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

Delete Safeplex Search 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 Safeplex Search 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 Safeplex Search removal. Click on 'Reset Firefox' button for a couple of times

Uninstall Safeplex Search from Google Chrome

This hijacker primarily targets Google Chrome web browsers. It alters the settings significantly, so to get rid of any malware traces, you may need to reset Chrome's defaults.

  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 Safeplex Search 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 Safeplex Search removal. Click on 'Reset' button to complete your removal

Remove Safeplex Search 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 Safeplex Search 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 Safeplex Search, 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 Safeplex Search 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 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.

 

Lost your files? Use data recovery software

While some files located on any computer are replaceable or useless, others can be extremely valuable. Family photos, work documents, school projects – these are types of files that we don't want to lose. Unfortunately, there are many ways how unexpected data loss can occur: power cuts, Blue Screen of Death errors, hardware failures, crypto-malware attack, or even accidental deletion.

To ensure that all the files remain intact, you should prepare regular data backups. You can choose cloud-based or physical copies you could restore from later in case of a disaster. If your backups were lost as well or you never bothered to prepare any, Data Recovery Pro can be your only hope to retrieve your invaluable files.

About the author
Lucia Danes
Lucia Danes - Virus researcher

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