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Remove Search.friendlysocket.com virus (Removal Guide) - updated Feb 2020

removal by Lucia Danes - - | Type: Browser Hijackers

Search.friendlysocket.com is a shady search tool that mostly appears on macOS systems 

Search.friendlysocket.com virus

Search.friendlysocket.com virus may seem like an ordinary search tool but it truly falls in the browser hijacker category. Even though the home page of the tool is presented in English, the news section seems to be oriented toward Jewish speakers. However, most likely English speaking-users, American, UK[1]netizens are likely to notice this product. Friendlysocket aims to modify the web browser's default search engine, homepage, and new tab URL to its own. Afterward, the users are forced to complete search queries via the new search provider that gathers search results from another legitimate search engine -Yahoo. As you can see, there is no purpose for using the services provided by Search.friendlysocket.com as you can just employ the original search provider instead.

Furthermore, Search.friendlysocket.com seems identical to other questionable browser engines recently spotted online: Pogypon, Bitmotion, etc. These apps try to convince the user about their useful functionality. For example, they provide quick access to various web sources, social platforms, and e-shopping pages. However, note that browser hijackers often have a questionable reputation as they come secretly bundled with various free programs from the Internet.

Name Search.friendlysocket.com/Friendlysocket
Type/category Browser hijacker/potentially unwanted program
Similar apps Pogypon, Bitmotion
Activities The browser hijacker aims to change major browser settings such as the default search engine, new tab URL, and the homepage to its own. Continuously, the PUP is likely to produce intrusive advertisements, redirect the user to sponsored sources, and collect non-personal information
Distribution These types of products often come through bogus freeware and shareware that can be downloaded from questionable sources such as cnet.com, download.com, and soft32.com. Also, you can install browser hijackers from infectious advertisements and hyperlinks that you find on unsecured websites
Elimination You can get rid of the browser-hijacking application with the help of reliable antimalware software or by using the manual step-by-step guidelines that have been added to the end of this article
Fix tip If you have discovered some alterings on your Mac or Windows computer system, you can try repairing the device with the help of software such as Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego

Friendly socket Mac can appear in the Applications section of your Mac device. However, if it is a Windows computer that you are running, the browser hijacker might appear in the Programs & Features section and also fill the Task Manager with suspicious processes. Web browsers such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, or Safari are also likely to get hijacked and their major settings modified.

Friendlysocket.com can also include questionable-looking browser extensions, plug-ins, and add-ons into your web browser that can serve for various purposes such as pay-per-click advertising[2] and redirecting. The browser hijacker might start spamming you with suspicious offers and deals during your browsing sessions in order to collect income from your clicks on the provided adverts.

Search.friendlysocket.com PUP
Search.friendlysocket.com is a potentially unwanted program that mostly appears on Mac computers but can target Windows devices too

Furthermore, Search.friendlysocket.com can trick you into buying useless products or subscribing to unneeded services. So, be careful not to lose your money for stuff that you truly do not need. Also, the provided advertisements can aim to redirect you to sponsored sources where you can be loaded with even more suggestions. Nevertheless, you can get redirected to a potentially dangerous website that is filled with malicious pieces of software.

To continue, Search.friendlysocket.com might install flash cookies or pixels[3] into the hijacked web browser that allow tracking non-personal information. The PUP can spy on data such as your browser type, IP address, commonly visited websites, hyperlinks clicked, saved bookmarks, and similar details. According to the Privacy Policy, this type of information can be shared with other parties if it is found as beneficial:

We may share non-personally identifiable information with third parties, when this is required in order to provide, maintain or improve the Friendlysocket operation and services. We may NOT share personally identifiable information with any third party, except in an aggregated and/or statistical form.

If Search.friendlysocket.com initiates multiple activities per one session (advertising, redirecting, etc.), your web browser might start struggling to perform even simple actions as it will be overloaded with unnecessary work. The same can happen to your computer system and you might see changes in your CPU power level. If the energy rises over 60% and more, you can start receiving serious system slowdowns and even crashes.

However, avoiding such trouble is possible by performing the Search.friendlysocket.com removal process once you see that your browser settings such as the search engine, homepage, and new tab URL have been hijacked. Perform a full malware scan to identify the browser hijacker and all the additional components that it might have brought to your computer system. Also, if you have discovered any altered areas, you can try repairing them with a tool such as Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego.

There are many reasons to remove Search.friendlysocket.com from your operating system and web browsers. You should know that you can always use an alternative and legitimate search engine instead of employing this program's services. Using Google, Bing, or Yahoo will be much safer and you can create the same shortcuts to popular web pages by adding bookmarks to the upper bar of your browser window.

Search.friendlysocket.com browser hijacker
Search.friendlysocket.com - a browser hijacker that can include flash cookies and pixels for tracking non-personal information about the user's browsing sessions

Ways to detect PUPs before they settle on your PC

This sort of hijacker is likely to be promoted through sponsored domains in the form of web scripts. You might have likely been redirected to this website after you clicked on a link in site overcrowded with fake “download” buttons.

There is also another common method for distributing PUP-like programs. They are pinned down to free applications, for instance, free file converters or media players. Thus, in order to spot them on time, it is recommended to opt for “Custom” settings instead of the “Recommended” settings and deselect all unwanted add-ons. Furthermore, you should avoid downloading software from untrustable sources such as cnet.com, download.com, or soft32.com.

In addition, browser hijackers can get downloaded from infectious advertisements that are distributed on third-party sources all over the Internet. If you are ever encouraged to proceed to a website that you consider not to be safe – do not do that. Also, always think twice before pressing on a particular ad as it might seak to plant a PUP on your computer system. Last but not least, employ reliable antimalware software and always check the program's virus-related alerts.

Delete Friendlysocket components from the OS and browsers

Since it is not an elaborate virus[4], you do not need to go through the troublesome elimination. You can remove Search.friendlysocket.com web scripts with the assistance of an anti-spyware program. This type of software can help you to get rid of the browser hijacker within a few minutes of time and delete all the additional products that it has brought to the computer system together with itself.

Alternatively, the below-provided instructions will come in handy as well if you are likely to get rid of the potentially unwanted program on your own. Full browser reset function facilitates Search.friendlysocket.com removal. Check whether it did not append any additional browser add-ons. You should search and refresh all of the possibly-infected web browsers, including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, and Safari.

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.

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What to do if failed?
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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 Search.friendlysocket.com virus, follow these steps:

Remove Search.friendlysocket.com from Windows systems

  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.friendlysocket.com and related programs
    Here, look for Search.friendlysocket.com 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.friendlysocket.com 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.

Eliminate Search.friendlysocket.com from Mac OS X system

To terminate the browser hijacker and all the suspicious products that it has included in your macOS device, you should apply the following steps.

  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.friendlysocket.com 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'

Get rid of Search.friendlysocket.com 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.friendlysocket.com 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.friendlysocket.com removal. Go to 'Advanced' tab and click on 'Reset' button. Now select 'Delete personal settings' and click on 'Reset' button again

Delete Search.friendlysocket.com virus 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, Search.friendlysocket.com should be removed from your Microsoft Edge browser.

Erase Search.friendlysocket.com 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.friendlysocket.com 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.friendlysocket.com removal. Click on 'Reset Firefox' button for a couple of times

Uninstall Search.friendlysocket.com from Google Chrome

To eliminate all of the suspicious extensions and other additional components from your Google Chrome web browser, use the below-provided guiding instructions.

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

Remove Search.friendlysocket.com from Safari

To bring the Safari web browser back to its previous state and get rid of the browser hijacker, you should take a look at the following guidelines.

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

About the author

Lucia Danes
Lucia Danes - Virus researcher

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