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Remove SafeSearch (Removal Instructions) - Sep 2020 update

removal by Gabriel E. Hall - -   Also known as | Type: Browser Hijackers

SafeSearch is a widely spread browser hijacker that infects PCs cia software bundling

The image of is a search engine that provides fake results filled with sponsored links.

Questions about SafeSearch

SafeSearch is a group fake search engines that have been making rounds since 2014. Due to frustrating behavior or absence of certain elements, they have been classified as browser hijackers.[1] The dubious app can be downloaded from the Chrome store, as well as a SafeSearch Incognito extension. However, users will find as their homepage after they download free software from the internet – this distribution method is called software bundling.[2] Recently, the name of this hijacker returned to the headlines because of Google that presented the protection feature called SafeSearch. With its help, users can prevent the explicit content appearing in their searches. In some countries, for example Indonesia, this option is enforced by law.

Name SafeSearch
Associated webpage
Type Browser hijacker
Distribution Software bundling, Chrome store
Compatible browsers Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Opera, Mozilla Firefox, Safari
Symptoms Modified browser settings
Main dangers Redirects might lead to unsafe sites; data leakage
Detection and elimination For quick solution, use anti-malware software that detects PUPs; otherwise, use our manual guide below
System fix In case you suffer from system instability issues post-termination of a browser hijacker, scan your computer with Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego

While potentially unwanted programs are not considered to be malware, the presence on the computer might compromise its safety. Nevertheless, without knowing about it, users might be lured by quick access buttons to Amazon, Twitter, Gmail, YouTube and other popular sites. However, bookmarks can be created in just a few seconds for the desired sites; thus, there is no need to use questionable search engines like SafeSearch.

The major features of SafeSearch PUP barely differs from other infections that belong to the same category. It might:

  • affect Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer and Safari browsers;
  • replace default homepage, search engine and/or new tab URL address;
  • block well-known search engines;
  • alter search results;
  • redirect to predetermined websites;
  • install tracking cookies.[3]

The first task hijacker does on the targeted device is system modifications. It might alter Windows Registry and various shortcuts to prevent people from taking back control over the browser. Then it changes current startup page and search engine to its domain.

SafeSearch virus is mostly used for promoting third-party websites and increasing their sales or page rank on Google. However, you can hardly know how trustworthy these websites are because the developer of this hijacker fails to guarantee their trustworthiness. As a result, you can find another PUP or even virus[4] on your computer.

Besides, SafeSearch search engine may also block the access to some of your Internet resources without your permission asked and then cause unexpected advertisements or pop-ups with commercial or pornographic content.

The most disturbing fact which is related to is that it can track its victims. Just like a typical browser hijacker, it collects users' search terms, information about most visited websites, and similar information which is related to browser habits. However, we cannot guarantee that this hijacker is not capable of tracking personal information as well.

Beware that security experts have revealed SafeSearch can update itself via the Internet, so it may also be used for tracking people and stealing personal information. If you want to keep your PC secure, you should get rid of this search engine without wasting your time. Why do you need a search provider that claims in its Terms of Use:

“ does not warrant or make any representations concerning the accuracy, likely results, or reliability of the use of the materials on its Internet web site or otherwise relating to such materials or on any sites linked to this site.”

The picture of SafeSearch redirect virusSafeSearch redirect virus is designed to alter browser's settings and set its domain as default search engine.

SafeSearch does not perform its primary function properly. It might alter search results in order to include sponsored links at the top of the results page. Therefore, it might take a while to find useful and reliable information.

What is more, SafeSearch removal can help to protect your computer from cyber threats. Some of the content provided by this search provider lead to potentially dangerous sites. Thus, you might get infected with Trojan, malware or suffer from other cyber crime.[5]

You can remove from your computer with the help of anti-malware software. As an alternative, we suggest you scroll down and check the manual removal guide which was designed by researchers. However, if you are not an experienced PC user, you should select the first option. For best results, we also recommend resetting all the installed browsers and repairing system files with Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego.

Beware of Safe.Search.Tools – the new variation 

On July 2017, researchers noticed a new distribution method of the SafeSearch. This bogus search engine becomes a default after the installation of SafeSearch Incognito browser extension. It is available on Chrome web store and is compatible with both Windows and Mac OS X.

According to the developers, this tool protects users’ privacy:

Browse and search privately, without sharing personally identifiable information.

Nevertheless, developers talk about major search providers that collect some information about users; they do the same. According to their Privacy Policy, this search program might use cookies[6] to collect non-personally identifiable information, such as:

  • IP address,
  • browser type,
  • internet service provider (ISP),
  • cookie information,
  • and the webpage that a user visits.

Therefore, you should not be tricked by the beautifully written description of the browser extension. If it managed to sneak inside your computer with a software bundle and hijacked your browser, you should get rid of it immediately. Undoubtedly, the best way to remove Safe.Search.Tools is to use reputable security software.

More versions of the infamous Safe Search hijacker virus. claims to be a provider of “Advanced & Clean Search,” however, its functionality proves that this statement is wrong. Cyber security experts tend to rate this search site and the program that promotes it as a browser hijacker and a potentially unwanted program. The site is written in Hebrew language and provides links to external sites of unknown reputation. virus

If you do not speak the said language and you did not set the said search site as your homepage, but the search site emerged in your browser anyway, remove hijacker instantly. You can use the instructions we provided on rely on security programs we recommend using. or (alternatively known as Google is Tracking Your Searches). This particular version is promoted as a browser plug-in supposedly enabling you to browse safely. It is not recommended to use this add-on as it is promoted in a random web page –

Furthermore, there is no explicit information about the extension. Though it claims that you agree with the privacy policy and terms of use, it does not let you review the documents. In fact, the very download button is inactive.

It is recommended to cease this Safesearchgo redirect. If, by any chance, you are interested in it, note that this group of hijackers is closely associated with the  AdNetworkPerformance adware. SafeSearch products are promoted in random and insecure pop-up ads. It is another argument why it is not advised to use any of their tools. Besides installing useless plug-ins, you may accidentally get redirected to an infected website. browser hijackerAnother version of the virus prompts users to download useless browser extension, allegedly helping to stay secure online.

Software installers – a perfect way to promote PUPs

This PUP spreads using questionable and doubtful methods. One of such methods is known as “bundling.” Beware that you can end up with unwanted system changes and similar problems after installing freeware and shareware without monitoring its installation process.

To stay safe and prevent infiltration of such problems as the redirect to sponsored websites; you should start checking what programs you use. Please, avoid questionable, illegal and suspicious programs.

If you decide to install a free program from the Internet and think that it is safe, select Custom or Advanced installation method. After that, follow every installation step of the freeware and opt out of such potentially unwanted programs like this one. You need to uncheck all checkboxes that offer you to change your start page and default search engine because this may easily allow installation of SafeSearch.

A new variant of the hijacker, known as Safe.Search.Tools virus, has been noticed spreading via Chrome web store as well. We highly recommend staying away from SafeSearch Incognito Chrome extension. Keep in mind that other extensions might distribute this cyber threat too. Thus, always do your research before installing them.

Eliminate SafeSearch from your browsers

To avoid dangerous programs or even viruses on your computer, you should act now and remove SafeSearch. For that, you can use updated anti-spyware software or a guide given below. The hijacker mostly attacks French computer users; thus, if you are one of them you can visit our colleague’s site for more information.[7]

If you prefer to get rid of the Safe Search virus manually, you have to uninstall unknown programs and browser extensions. Make sure that you delete all hijacker-related entries. Leaving some entries on the system may lead to the re-hijacked browser.

SafeSearch PUPChrome warns users that site is not secure to use.

If you want to avoid failure and speed up elimination process, you should opt for automatic SafeSearch removal. As we have mentioned, you can do it with the help of updated security software. Just run a system scan and wait until the program finishes the task.

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 SafeSearch, follow these steps:

Remove SafeSearch from Windows systems

To remove SafeSearch virus from the system and avoid its appearance on it in the future, you must remove every program which is related to it. You need to try to find SafeSearch, SafeSearch, Trovi, Music Search App, Genieo, and SafeSearch Incognito.

  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 SafeSearch and related programs
    Here, look for SafeSearch 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 SafeSearch 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 '' 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 SafeSearch from Mac OS X system

If this program hijacked your device, please follow the steps to get rid of it.

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

Remove SafeSearch from Applications folder:

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

Get rid of SafeSearch from Internet Explorer (IE)

The hijacker may have altered settings of Internet Explorer. Follow the steps to get rid of all the changes caused by the hijacker.

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 SafeSearch 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,
  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 SafeSearch removal.Reset Internet Explorer

Erase SafeSearch from Microsoft Edge

After the hijack, you have to follow the instructions and fix 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 SafeSearch-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 SafeSearch from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

In order to uninstall SafeSearch virus from Firefox, you need to remove questionable extensions and reset the browser.

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

Uninstall SafeSearch from Google Chrome

To fix Google Chrome and SafeSearch infiltration, you should remove all add-ons that are related to this hijacker. 2-spyware security researchers found these apps to be related to this hijacker: SafeSearch, SafeSearch,, Trovi, Music Search App, Genieo and SafeSearch Incognito. Once you find an add-on which belongs to the same developer, make sure you delete it. 

  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 SafeSearch 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 SafeSearch removal. Click on 'Reset' button to complete your removal

Remove SafeSearch from Safari

These guidelines will help you to get rid of all hijacker-related components and set your preferred startup page/search engine on 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 SafeSearch 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 SafeSearch, 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 SafeSearch removal process. Select all options and click on 'Reset' button

Access your website securely from any location

When you work on the domain, site, blog, or different project that requires constant management, content creation, or coding, you may need to connect to the server and content management service more often. It is a hassle when your website is protected from suspicious connections and unauthorized IP addresses.

The best solution for creating a tighter network could be a dedicated/fixed IP address. If you make your IP address static and set to your device, you can connect to the CMS from any location and do not create any additional issues for server or network manager that need to monitor connections and activities. This is how you bypass some of the authentications factors and can remotely use your banking accounts without triggering suspicious with each login. 

VPN software providers like Private Internet Access can help you with such settings and offer the option to control the online reputation and manage projects easily from any part of the world. It is better to clock the access to your website from different IP addresses. So you can keep the project safe and secure when you have the dedicated IP address VPN and protected access to the content management system.

Backup files for the later use, in case of the malware attack

Computer users can suffer from data losses due to cyber infections or their own faulty doings. Ransomware can encrypt and hold files hostage, while unforeseen power cuts might cause a loss of important documents. If you have proper up-to-date backups, you can easily recover after such an incident and get back to work. It is also equally important to update backups on a regular basis so that the newest information remains intact – you can set this process to be performed automatically.

When you have the previous version of every important document or project you can avoid frustration and breakdowns. It comes in handy when malware strikes out of nowhere. Use Data Recovery Pro for the data restoration process.

About the author
Gabriel E. Hall
Gabriel E. Hall - Passionate web researcher

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