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Remove Search App by Ask v2 virus (Simple Removal Guide) - updated Aug 2019

removal by Lucia Danes - - | Type: Browser Hijackers

Search App by Ask v2 is a widespread browser hijacker that collects a variety of information about you

Search App by Ask v2
Search App by Ask v2 is a browser hijacker that enters machines without user permission and applies multiple changes to the installed browsers

Search App by Ask v2 is one of the most common browser hijackers users might find on their Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, and other browsers unexpectedly. The browser plugin, which can be downloaded from official sources, usually gets installed without users' notice and assigns search.ask.com as a homepage and new tab address.

Besides, Search App by Ask v2 uses a customized search engine developed by Ask Media Group, which exposes users to a variety of sponsored search results as soon as they press the “Search” button. It means that the results are not organic, and all the top links are rather paid for by affiliates.

Search App by Ask v2 also collects a suspiciously large amount of information about the users and, unlike most other hijackers, this one gathers data that can easily disclose users' identities, their views, interests, and other private details. Security experts[1] highly recommend proceeding with Search App by Ask v2 removal, especially if the pest appeared seemingly out of nowhere.

Summary
Name Search App by Ask v2
Type Browser hijacker
Category Potentially unwanted program (PUP)
Developer Ask Media Group
Homepage set to search.ask.com
Distribution  Software bundles, Java updates, third-party sites, official stores 
Chrome web store user rating 1/5
Dangers  The plugin gathers various information about you; sponsored links might lead to unwanted software installation or money loss 
Termination  Either use security software like Reimage Reimage Cleaner or terminate the PUP manually by using our guide below 

The dubious distribution, operation and persistence techniques of Search App by Ask v2 browser hijacker

Initially being question and answer site, Ask Media Group rapidly expanded in the 2000s and acquired multiple organizations. Its own search engine was developed, along with the notorious Ask Toolbar that was viewed extremely negatively by the security community.[2] The trend continued when Search App by Ask v2 was released, as it also uses dubious distribution, operation, and persistence techniques to stay on users' machines as long as possible.

It is not surprising that users called this hijacker “Search App by Ask v2 virus” or “Search App by Ask v2 malware,” and there are plenty of negative reviews about its dubious operation techniques. One Google Chrome user wrote:[3]

should be blocked from the store.. as with others this was installed without notification

Most of the users complained about its suspicious installation, as they did not install Search App by Ask v2 intentionally. While in most of the cases the browser plugin is bundled with other free software from third-party sites, some installs come from Java update, which is owned by Oracle.

Upon the installation, Search App by Ask v2 changes web browser settings without asking. Nevertheless, if you are using modern browsers, such as Google Chrome, it will notify you that the changes were made, and offer you to go back to your default settings. If that is the case, do not agree and pick your previous configuration.

Search App by Ask v2 negative reviews

However, those who do agree to change the way their browser operates and start relying on a customized search engine will soon notice that their search results are filled with sponsored links. These links lead to sponsored sites, and might not necessarily be useful. Nevertheless, Search App by Ask v2 generates money for each click[4] made to such sites. Considering a large number of users who have this unwanted program installed against their will, the revenue generated is enormous.

Finally, those who decide to remove Search App by Ask v2 from their devices might experience difficulties, as users complained that the plugin simply gets reinstalled after its termination. To make sure all the components are deleted and the unwanted app does not come back, scan your computer with anti-malware software such as Reimage Reimage Cleaner .

Search App by Ask v2 can gather you personal data from your Facebook profile

To increase the profits, Search App by Ask v2 wants to show you ads and direct you to sites that are relevant to you. For that, certain type of information is gathered about you, such as:

  • IP address;
  • Mobile phone ID;
  • Technical data about the computer or mobile device;
  • ISP or mobile network provider;
  • Preferences and settings;
  • Cookies;
  • Search history;
  • Links clicked, sites visited, search results selected;
  • Goelocation, etc.

While most of such data is collected by various providers (including Google), Ask does not stop there. The PUP also collects data that can disclose your personal information, as it also collects your search queries and comments. For example, if you disclose certain personal information while your browser is hijacked, it will be recorded and sent to Asks servers.

In some situations, Search App by Ask v2 can also harvest data on your social media, as it is explained in the Privacy policy:[5]

These third parties may also provide us with information about your interactions with their products and services and/or activities on third party websites. For example, use of Service functions that connect to your social media account (e.g., Facebook Connect) may permit us access to your social network profile information, including your first name, last name, gender, birth date and email address, in accordance with your settings on the social network. If you choose to post information to your social media account via the Services, you will be making this information available to other users of these Services.

Search App by Ask v2 PUP
Search App by Ask v2 is a potentially unwanted program that modifies search results, inserts ads into all websites that you visit and tracks your browsing, as well as personal, information

It goes without saying that information is one of the most valuable assets a company might have, as it can be used for profits. However, what does this mean to you and what ramifications such excessive data gathering can bring? It is up to you to decide, but we would highly recommend you remove Search App by Ask v2 to stop the background activities and go back to regular search results on our browser.

Be wary when installing software updates and third-party software

Many techniques are used to distribute browser hijackers and other potentially unwanted programs. While you can easily download the browser extension on the official web sites like Chrome web store, other distribution methods are not so straightforward, or even fair.

Beware PUPs may infiltrate your computer unnoticed because they are added to various freeware installers. Here, they are presented as “optional components” that can be either accepted or declined. However, the latter option might be a little tricky, and users who do not pay close attention to the installation process can often miss the point where they can reject the PUP.

This is because unwanted apps are often hidden under pre-ticked boxes, misleading button placements, and Recommended/Quick settings. Thus, always be attentive during the installation of new software, as well as software updates, as PUPs can be included inside and kept out of sight. Do not forget to pick Advanced/Custom installation options, as this is usually where all the unwanted apps are hidden. In such a way, you can decline the optional components before they enter your device.

Search App by Ask v2 removal methods

Search App by Ask v2 is now an old application, and it is less likely to be spread around. Nevertheless, you can still easily download it with other software from third-party sources. Thus, if your browser is hijacked, be aware that the information about you is being tracked and you are not presented with organic search results.

Search App by Ask v2 modified search results
In the screenshot, you can see multiple sponsored links at the top. All these results are paid for and are not genuine

If you decide to remove Search App by Ask v2 from your computer, you need to go to the installed program list and look for the program entry. However, you need to make sure that you reset each of the installed browsers as well, as traces of the app might still be present, and browser changes might not go away.

Besides, you can use security software for comprehensive Search App by Ask v2 removal. The anti-virus program will delete all the entries automatically within just a few minutes, and you will be able to enjoy browsing soon again.

You may remove virus damage with a help of Reimage Reimage Cleaner . 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 Reimage Cleaner, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage Reimage Cleaner has a free limited scanner. Reimage Reimage Cleaner 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 Reimage Cleaner, try running Combo Cleaner.

To remove Search App by Ask v2 virus, follow these steps:

Eliminate Search App by Ask v2 from Windows systems

To remove Search App by Ask v2 from Windows OS, please follow this guide:

  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 Search App by Ask v2 and related programs
    Here, look for Search App by Ask v2 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 Search App by Ask v2 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.

Remove Search App by Ask v2 from Mac OS X system

If your Mac is suffering from a browser hijacker, proceed with these steps in order to stop it:

  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 Search App by Ask v2 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'

Uninstall Search App by Ask v2 from Internet Explorer (IE)

  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 Search App by Ask v2 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 Search App by Ask v2 removal. Go to 'Advanced' tab and click on 'Reset' button. Now select 'Delete personal settings' and click on 'Reset' button again

Erase Search App by Ask v2 virus from Microsoft Edge

Reset MS Edge in the following way as soon as you delete the PUP:

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, Search App by Ask v2 should be removed from your Microsoft Edge browser.

Get rid of Search App by Ask v2 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 Search App by Ask v2 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 Search App by Ask v2 removal. Click on 'Reset Firefox' button for a couple of times

Delete Search App by Ask v2 from Google 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 Search App by Ask v2 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 Search App by Ask v2 removal. Click on 'Reset' button to complete your removal

Eliminate Search App by Ask v2 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 Search App by Ask v2 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 Search App by Ask v2, 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 Search App by Ask v2 removal process. Select all options and click on 'Reset' button

About the author

Lucia Danes
Lucia Danes - Virus researcher

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