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Remove (Removal Instructions) - Apr 2017 update

removal by Olivia Morelli - - | Type: Browser hijacker

Should I worry about an unexpected appearance of

 Example of Bytefence search engine virus is a wrongly used phrase, and users should stop calling this search engine like that. It is a legitimate search tool that gets installed into user's browser after the user downloads and installs ByteFence Anti-Malware software (developed by Byte Technologies LLC). It is part of the software and users always have the right to opt it out when installing the legitimate anti-malware program, however, not many users pay enough attention to the information provided by software installers[1].

Usually, the installer of ByteFence software suggests changing your homepage, new tab page and default search settings, which means that all of them will point to that customized search engine. No matter if you're using Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome or another popular web browser, it is likely that its settings will be altered in order to make you use that certain search engine. Despite that its functionality is normal and it is unlikely to provide you with dangerous search results[2], you might not want to use it, and that is completely okay.

If you wish to remove, you can easily do it on your own – just make sure that you carefully read the instructions given below the article. We prepared them in order to help you to complete the removal process without hassle. 

Although this search engine is not dangerous to use, there are many browser hijackers[3] that sneak into user's computer when bundled with random free programs and users should be aware of them. Usually, they meddle with the parameters of Internet Explorer, Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox browser, just like the described ByteFence component does. 

Actually, the search engine that the aforementioned anti-malware tool promotes enters the system without a CLEAR permission asked, and we do not think that it is a tolerable activity. Sure thing, if you find it useful, you can use it, however, we noticed that many users start looking for removal guidelines shortly after installing the related anti-malware software. Therefore, we usually advise users to use other anti-spyware or anti-malware tools like Reimage or SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner for computer protection, because these programs do not configure browser's homepage, new tab and default search settings for their own benefit.

The described search engine might be pushing sponsored search results or even pop-up ByteFence ads to users in order to generate pay-per-click revenue[4]. However, as we said, if you weren't looking for a new search engine, there is hardly any reason to keep it in your system. You can leave the anti-malware on the computer if you want and remove the component that controls your browser's settings only. Instructions on how to do it are provided below the article. search engine
Researcher demonstrates search engine. If this page appears each time you launch your web browser, it means that you have installed Bytefence software along with the system tool that controls your browser's settings now.

Another fact that concerns us is that the described ByteFence Redirect tool records your browsing-related information like search queries, websites you are visiting, IP addresses, computer locations and other things you might not like sharing with someone you do not know. Such information might be used for market research or even shared with third-parties.

Technically, it is legal to do so, because such information is considered to be personally non-identifiable. However, small details such as your search queries can contain sensitive data, which is going to be collected along all other terms and phrases you used in your searches. To stop such activity, you will only need to uninstall the described potentially unwanted program[5] (PUP) that sneaked along the ByteFence software without your knowledge.

How can I prevent installation of this search tool?

The Search.ByteFence browser addition usually comes alongside the anti-malware software that promotes it. These programs are connected using software bundling technique, which allows to group and distribute several pieces of software together. The technique is considered to be legitimate; however, in most cases, installers of such software packs fail to adequately disclose the existence of additional programs, so consequently, users install them unknowingly and then start complaining about suspiciously behaving web browsers.

To prevent this, you should be very attentive when downloading free programs. Although the described search tool is not dangerous, there are other and more critical browser hijackers that are also distributed using the same bundling technique. When installing new programs, you should always choose Advanced or Custom options, and then deselect all programs that you do not want to be installed. 

We suggest you avoid suspicious free programs and download managers because they are notorious for distributing bundled programs and they receive revenue each time such bundle is downloaded and installed. Do not choose Default or Standard settings, ever – they are usually filled with permissions to install extra programs and there's no way to reject them. 

What is more, you should always download programs from their official websites as this will also diminish the risk of getting you computer infected. However, keep in mind that some free programs are designed specifically to lure people into downloading them so they would download PUPs as well. Therefore, trust your best judgment on what to download and what might seem suspicious.

How can I safely remove from my browsers?

The described search tool is likely to be controlled by a certain browser extension that was installed during the installation of ByteFence, but the anti-malware software could have modified your browser's shortcuts to make them point to search engine.

Remember – these extensions are not viruses, however, their presence usually is objectionable, so if you no longer want to use the new search engine and get back to your old habits, you should remove right away. You can use anti-spyware software for Search.ByteFence removal, or you can read these instructions and eliminate the intruder on your own.

You can remove virus damage automatically with a help of one of these programs: Reimage, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner, 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.
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Alternative Software
Different security software includes different virus database. If you didn’t succeed in finding malware with Reimage, try running alternative scan with SpyHunter 5.
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, follow these steps:

Get rid of from Windows systems

The instructions provided below clearly describe all steps that you need to complete if you wish to remove the described search tool from your system. Do not forget to clean browser shortcuts as shown below. After completing these steps, you should start fixing each of web browsers individually.

  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 and related programs
    Here, look for 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 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.

Uninstall from Mac OS X system

  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 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'

Delete 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 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 removal. Go to 'Advanced' tab and click on 'Reset' button. Now select 'Delete personal settings' and click on 'Reset' button again

Eliminate 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, should be removed from your Microsoft Edge browser.

Erase from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

Firefox can start causing redirects to the described search engine as well, and if it does, you should carry out these instructions carefully.

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

Remove from Google Chrome

In Chrome, you should find one or couple browser extensions added without your knowledge, so make sure you remove them.

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

Get rid of 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 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, 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 removal process. Select all options and click on 'Reset' button

About the author

Olivia Morelli
Olivia Morelli - Ransomware analyst

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