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Search Encrypt. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Ugnius Kiguolis - - | Type: Browser Hijackers

Search Encrypt – a PUP that promises to protect your privacy, but uses affiliate marketing to obtain revenue

Search Encrypt potentially unwanted program
Search Encrypt is a suspicious application that was created by a well-known browser hijacker creator Polarity Technologies Ltd.

Questions about Search Encrypt

Search Encrypt is a browser extension[1] for various commonly used web browsers. However, if you visit the official website, you might see that users are mostly offered to install this plug-in on their Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox browser apps. Developers claim that they do not track their users and focus on protecting their privacy while they surf the world wide web. Unfortunately, most of this is a lie, as all promises disappear as soon as you take a look at the Privacy Policy – various data is collected about you and is used for marketing purposes. Such behavior is typical to browser hijackers. What is more, this app usually spreads as an optional install in software bundles and changes your homepage, default search provider, and new tab address to hxxps://www.searchencrypt.com. 

SUMMARY
Name Search Encrypt
Type Browser hijacker, PUP
Assigned homepage Searchencrypt.com
Developer Polarity Technologies Ltd.
Mostly targeted browsers Chrome, Safari, etc.
Distribution Software bundling, the official website
Symptoms Altered homepage, search engine, and new tab URL
Elimination Download and install Reimage; otherwise, use manual instructions below

If you are asking is Search Encrypt safe to use, maybe the following article will shed some light on that. Firstly, it is interesting how developers of Search Encrypt hijacker try to convince users that they are completely safe while using this “privacy tool”:

Stop big companies from tracking your data by using Search Encrypt. With our advanced encryption technology you can safely browse the internet.

Ironically, if you click on “Privacy Policy” on Google web store,[2] you are lead to the infamous Polarity website, which indicates, that “Polarity may collect information about you when you visit our Sites or use our Services.” So initially, the developer goes with the agenda “Stop others from tracking you and provide this data to us instead!” Sadly, many users do not pay attention to such details and merely trust false promises.

Search Encrypt extension
Search Encrypt promises to protect your privacy. Instead, the information about your web browsing activities are collected and stored on Polarity's servers

Changes that are typically initiated by Search Encrypt virus might impact your browsing experience in a negative way. For example, you can be interrupted by continuous pop-up ads and also redirected to websites that you didn't expect to visit. Developers of this extension do not provide any guarantee related to “the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness” of the content, so there is a great risk of getting infected.  

If that is not enough, people are unable to simply get rid of this unreliable application from Mac and Windows OS. That's why we highly recommend using automatic tools to delete Search Encrypt from the system. Reimage could be one of them.

Many people cannot figure out how to remove Search Encrypt from Google Chrome since it is programmed to reassign the settings mentioned above once the user tries to change them to the previous state. Note that there are other versions of this browser hijacker like Searchencrypt.navigateto.net and Searchencrypt.com virus which might also infect your system.

Search encrypt fake search engine
Search Encrypt is a potentially unwanted application which can appear on the machine after using stealth distribution techniques

As we have already mentioned, search results delivered by Search Encrypt and its variants are distorted by sponsored ads. Usually, they promote affiliate websites or products which help the developers to generate revenue by pay-per-click marketing scheme[3]. Note that intrusive ads might not only be annoying, but malicious as well.

According to the Terms of Service page, the app does not take responsibility for the content of the promoted advertisements:

Search Encrypt has no control over, and assumes no responsibility for the content, privacy policies, practices or availability of any third party sites or resources or the products, services or other materials on or available from such sites or resources.

This means that it might also display potentially dangerous ads which can lead you to either a shady website or trigger an automatic installation of malware once clicked[4]. Therefore, we suggest you initiate Search Encrypt removal without wasting any time. For that, you can use the manual elimination guide below or run a full system scan with your antivirus. 

Distribution techniques used to spread suspicious extensions

As mentioned above, this browser hijacker can be willingly downloaded from the Chrome Web Store. However, users report that this potentially unwanted program also manages to sneak into the system without permission. This happens when people install free software inattentively. 

Usually, users choose Quick or Recommended settings in the installation wizard and skip many steps. This is the reason why users are unable to notice the browser hijacker which is bundled with freeware. Likewise, NoVirus.uk[5] team says that you should always opt for Advanced/Custom mode, which will display optional installs and give a chance to eliminate them before the installation is finished.

Other security measures include:

  • Updating software the operating system as soon as patches are out;
  • Using a reliable anti-malware software with real-time protection feature;
  • Avoiding visiting dubious websites, such as file-sharing, free online gaming, pornographic, etc.;
  • Not clicking on various pop-ups or suspicious ads.

Get rid of Search Encrypt on Mac and Windows

While Search Encrypt virus is unable to pose harm to your computer itself, it can expose your system vulnerabilities and help infiltrate malware. Note that there are additional components which may support its activity and hide under different names. Uninstalling them can be challenging. Thus, we recommend an automatic elimination procedure.

Search Encrypt browser hijacker
Search Encrypt is a suspicious application can produce several pop-up ads and display alternative search results

You will not need to worry about how to remove Search Encrypt from Mac or Windows, merely download an antivirus tool from the list below and run a full system scan. Note that you can use another security software of your choice as long as it is reputable and powerful enough to deal with potentially unwanted programs. 

We have prepared manual Search Encrypt removal guidelines for those who seek a challenge. They are presented at the end of this article together with the guide to reset your browser to the primary state. If you follow the instructions attentively, your computer will be hijacker-free after the termination procedure.

You can remove virus damage automatically with a help of one of these programs: Reimage, Malwarebytes MalwarebytesCombo Cleaner, Plumbytes Anti-MalwareMalwarebytes 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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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, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage is recommended to remove virus damage. Free scanner allows you to check whether your PC is infected or not. If you need to remove malware, you have to purchase the licensed version of Reimage malware removal tool.
Alternative Software
Different security software includes different virus database. If you didn’t succeed in finding malware with Reimage, try running alternative scan with Malwarebytes.
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 Search Encrypt, follow these steps:

WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Eliminate Search Encrypt from Windows systems

If you have encountered the hijack of your Windows, follow the instructions below to remove this potentially unwanted program on Windows.

  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 Encrypt and related programs
    Here, look for Search Encrypt 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 Encrypt 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.

WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Uninstall Search Encrypt from Mac OS X system

You should delete all suspicious entries which might be related to the browser hijacker to clean your Mac.

  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 Encrypt 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'
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Get rid of Search Encrypt from Internet Explorer (IE)

Clean and refresh your Internet Explorer web browser by using this below-provided guide:

  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 Encrypt 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 Encrypt removal. Go to 'Advanced' tab and click on 'Reset' button. Now select 'Delete personal settings' and click on 'Reset' button again
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Delete Search Encrypt from Microsoft Edge

Refreshing Microsoft Edge might take only a few minutes. You can perform such process by using these instructing lines:

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 Encrypt should be removed from your Microsoft Edge browser.

WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Remove Search Encrypt from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

If you have overcome rogue extensions on your Mozilla Firefox web browser, you can get rid of them by using this step-by-step guide:

  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 Encrypt 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 Encrypt removal. Click on 'Reset Firefox' button for a couple of times
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Erase Search Encrypt from Google Chrome

You can fix Chrome by uninstalling Search Encrypt extension. Additionally, search for other suspicious entries which might disrupt your while browsing and remove them as well. Later, reset your browser to finish the procedure.

  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 Encrypt 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 Encrypt removal. Click on 'Reset' button to complete your removal
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Eliminate Search Encrypt from Safari

If you have spotted the browser hijacker in your Safari web browser, use these guidelines to get rid of it permanently and safely:

  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 Encrypt 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 Encrypt, 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 Encrypt removal process. Select all options and click on 'Reset' button

About the author

Ugnius Kiguolis
Ugnius Kiguolis - The mastermind

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References

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