(Removal Instructions) - May 2020 update Removal Guide

What is – questionable search engine creating various issues for the user is the search engine that claims to be improving, but it is associated with questionable programs. 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 FortectIntego

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 FortectIntego. 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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Compatible with Microsoft Windows Compatible with macOS
What to do if failed?
If you failed to fix virus damage using Fortect Intego, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Fortect Intego has a free limited scanner. Fortect 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 Fortect, 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.

Getting rid of Follow these steps

Uninstall from Windows

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.

Instructions for Windows 10/8  machines:

  1. Enter Control Panel into Windows search box and hit Enter or click on the search result.
  2. Under Programs, select Uninstall a program. Uninstall from Windows 1
  3. From the list, find the entry of the suspicious program.
  4. Right-click on the application and select Uninstall.
  5. If User Account Control shows up, click Yes.
  6. Wait till uninstallation process is complete and click OK. Uninstall from Windows 2

If you are Windows 7/XP user, proceed with the following instructions:

  1. Click on Windows Start > Control Panel located on the right pane (if you are Windows XP user, click on Add/Remove Programs).
  2. In Control Panel, select Programs > Uninstall a program. Uninstall from Windows 7/XP
  3. Pick the unwanted application by clicking on it once.
  4. At the top, click Uninstall/Change.
  5. In the confirmation prompt, pick Yes.
  6. Click OK once the removal process is finished.

Delete from macOS

Remove items from Applications folder:

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

Remove 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

Restore new tab and homepage settings:

  1. Click the menu icon and choose Settings.
  2. Then find On startup section.
  3. Click Disable if you found any suspicious domain.

Reset MS Edge if the 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 Delete Advanced 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” -Verbose Advanced 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, search 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

Remove 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.

Remove dangerous extensions:

  1. Open Mozilla Firefox browser and click on the Menu (three horizontal lines at the top-right of the window).
  2. Select Add-ons.
  3. In here, select unwanted plugin and click Remove. Remove extensions from Firefox

Reset the homepage:

  1. Click three horizontal lines at the top right corner to open the menu.
  2. Choose Options.
  3. Under Home options, enter your preferred site that will open every time you newly open the Mozilla Firefox.

Clear cookies and site data:

  1. Click Menu and pick Settings.
  2. Go to Privacy & Security section.
  3. Scroll down to locate Cookies and Site Data.
  4. Click on Clear Data…
  5. Select Cookies and Site Data, as well as Cached Web Content and press Clear. Clear cookies and site data from Firefox

Reset Mozilla Firefox

If clearing the browser as explained above did not help, reset Mozilla Firefox:

  1. Open Mozilla Firefox browser and click the Menu.
  2. Go to Help and then choose Troubleshooting Information. Reset Firefox 1
  3. Under Give Firefox a tune up section, click on Refresh Firefox…
  4. Once the pop-up shows up, confirm the action by pressing on Refresh Firefox. Reset Firefox 2

Remove from Google Chrome

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

Delete malicious extensions from Google Chrome:

  1. Open Google Chrome, click on the Menu (three vertical dots at the top-right corner) and select More tools > Extensions.
  2. In the newly opened window, you will see all the installed extensions. Uninstall all the suspicious plugins that might be related to the unwanted program by clicking Remove. Remove extensions from Chrome

Clear cache and web data from Chrome:

  1. Click on Menu and pick Settings.
  2. Under Privacy and security, select Clear browsing data.
  3. Select Browsing history, Cookies and other site data, as well as Cached images and files.
  4. Click Clear data. Clear cache and web data from Chrome

Change your homepage:

  1. Click menu and choose Settings.
  2. Look for a suspicious site in the On startup section.
  3. Click on Open a specific or set of pages and click on three dots to find the Remove option.

Reset Google Chrome:

If the previous methods did not help you, reset Google Chrome to eliminate all the unwanted components:

  1. Click on Menu and select Settings.
  2. In the Settings, scroll down and click Advanced.
  3. Scroll down and locate Reset and clean up section.
  4. Now click Restore settings to their original defaults.
  5. Confirm with Reset settings. Reset Chrome 2

Delete from Safari

Remove unwanted extensions from Safari:

  1. Click Safari > Preferences…
  2. In the new window, pick Extensions.
  3. Select the unwanted extension and select Uninstall. Remove extensions from Safari

Clear cookies and other website data from Safari:

  1. Click Safari > Clear History…
  2. From the drop-down menu under Clear, pick all history.
  3. Confirm with Clear History. Clear cookies and website data from Safari

Reset Safari if the above-mentioned steps did not help you:

  1. Click Safari > Preferences…
  2. Go to Advanced tab.
  3. Tick the Show Develop menu in menu bar.
  4. From the menu bar, click Develop, and then select Empty Caches. Reset Safari

After uninstalling this potentially unwanted program (PUP) and fixing each of your web browsers, we recommend you to scan your PC system with a reputable anti-spyware. This will help you to get rid of registry traces and will also identify related parasites or possible malware infections on your computer. For that you can use our top-rated malware remover: FortectIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes.

How to prevent from getting browser hijacker

Stream videos without limitations, no matter where you are

There are multiple parties that could find out almost anything about you by checking your online activity. While this is highly unlikely, advertisers and tech companies are constantly tracking you online. The first step to privacy should be a secure browser that focuses on tracker reduction to a minimum.

Even if you employ a secure browser, you will not be able to access websites that are restricted due to local government laws or other reasons. In other words, you may not be able to stream Disney+ or US-based Netflix in some countries. To bypass these restrictions, you can employ a powerful Private Internet Access VPN, which provides dedicated servers for torrenting and streaming, not slowing you down in the process.

Data backups are important – recover your lost files

Ransomware is one of the biggest threats to personal data. Once it is executed on a machine, it launches a sophisticated encryption algorithm that locks all your files, although it does not destroy them. The most common misconception is that anti-malware software can return files to their previous states. This is not true, however, and data remains locked after the malicious payload is deleted.

While regular data backups are the only secure method to recover your files after a ransomware attack, tools such as Data Recovery Pro can also be effective and restore at least some of your lost data.

About the author
Olivia Morelli
Olivia Morelli - Ransomware analyst

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