Severity scale:  

Remove (Removal Instructions) - May 2020 update

removal by Olivia Morelli - - | Type: Browser Hijackers – questionable search engine creating various issues for the user is the questionable search engine that affects web browsers with redirects and additionally added toolbars, extensions, applications. All these products get installed automatically and all the goals of these products are focused on controlling the traffic of your browser and injecting commercial material on the list of search results. It endorses other tools, browsing security, and system optimizers to collect views on affiliated domains. virus is a wrongly used phrase, and users should stop calling this search engine like that. It is a search tool that gets installed into user's browser after the user downloads and installs the 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.

Type Browser hijacker
Symptoms The site becomes a default homepage, search engine, new tab and gets set as other particular preferences automatically. This suspicious engine also triggers Secured Search extension or Toolbar installation without asking for any permissions
Related Bytefence Redirect is the main software that gets installed and triggers these additional browsing activities interfering symptoms by adding search engine-based tools
Distribution Freeware installations, generally, cause infiltration of such rogue and questionable tools. The particular program comes with another software that is not always reliable and secure to use
Elimination removal should involve anti-malware tools in the case for any unwanted or possibly dangerous tools or apps
Repair Recover systems' functions and affected files using proper repair tools like Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego

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 that dangerous to use, there are many browser hijackers[3] that sneak into user's computers 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 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 designed 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 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. But remember that even though this is not a virus, there might be some intruders that cause all the issues with the performance and speed of the machine. so rely on proper AV tools and check the machine. search search engine means that you have installed Bytefence software along with the system tool that controls your browser's settings now.

Browser extension Secured Search by Bytefence – another suspicious tool hijacker is a known search engine that interferes with various processes on the machine, especially web browsing activities. However, it was recently reported that the Google Chrome browser receives more annoying application Secured Search extension. This search engine controls various settings on the browser too and even manages other applications, extensions, themes of the browser.

The plugin changes the default search engine, disables the user, and redirects all online searches to various search pages without disabling the particular extension itself. New tab settings also get altered, as for typical browser hijacker infection. Consumers cannot know where the tool came from, in most cases, because changes happen without permission or knowledge. 

It is also not that easy to remove Secured Search since the extension is silently added by ByteFence Antivirus desktop application. Users are not aware and cannot easily fix all the issues since the main behavior is more likely controlled by the software. is the older version of such a hijacker belonging to ByteFence AV software/ PUP, so SecuredSearch is an automatic upgrade for the older hijacker. Both acting the same since the focus is traffic and redirects, injections on search result lists, promotional material.   Secured SearchSecured Search is another browser hijacker that endorses browsing security tools and changes settings. Another fact that concerns us is that the described 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 with 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 with the ByteFence software without your knowledge.

The installation of such search tools can be prevented

These browser hijackers usually come alongside the software that promotes them or other PUPs. These programs are connected using a software bundling technique, which allows to group and distributes 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 your 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.

Try to safely remove from all the web 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 making 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 the removal, or you can read these instructions and eliminate the intruder on your own.

If you need additional tips for removal: rely on a proper tool that can securely check the machine for you; get PC optimizer application and to recover any affected data or corrupted files, programs on the machine. You may need to remove toolbars or extensions like Secured Search, so reset the browsers to default as well. 

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.

do it now!
Reimage Happiness
Intego Happiness
Compatible with Microsoft Windows Supported versions Compatible with OS X Supported versions
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, 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 the 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

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

Remove from Applications folder:

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

Delete 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 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 removal.Reset Internet Explorer

Eliminate from 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 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

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

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
Olivia Morelli
Olivia Morelli - Ransomware analyst

If this free removal guide helped you and you are satisfied with our service, please consider making a donation to keep this service alive. Even a smallest amount will be appreciated.

Contact Olivia Morelli
About the company Esolutions

Removal guides in other languages