Search-Guard browser hijacker (Tutorial) - Chrome, Firefox, IE, Edge

Search-Guard browser hijacker Removal Guide

What is Search-Guard browser hijacker?

Search-Guard is a fake search tool that inserts ads and tracks your online activities

Search-GuardSearch-Guard is a potentially unwanted browser extension that alters browser settings to show you more ads

Search-Guard New Tab is a potentially unwanted browser extension that is likely to be installed by users along with freeware[1] or after they get tricked by misleading advertisements online. Alternatively, some users might install it intentionally via legitimate sources such as the Chrome web store, where they would be promised that the extension can allow access to the “browser's Security control panel.”

Once installed, the app would immediately take over the homepage of your Chrome or another web browser by appending search-guard.xyz to it. This URL would also be used whenever the new tab is opened, which inclines users into using the search preferences established by the unwanted browser extension.

By doing so, people would be redirected to an alternative search provider, such as Bing, although this might vary depending on the location and browser settings prior to the installation of the Search-Guard extension. The top results would almost always be ads and sponsored links, which would greatly alter the way users browse the web.

Name Search-Guard
Type Browser hijacker, potentially unwanted application
Distribution Software bundles, deceptive ads, fake update prompts
Symptoms A new application of extension is installed on the system; a new tab and homepage are set to search-guard.xyz; search results are distributed by an alternative provider and consist of multiple ads shown at the top
Risks Installation of other potentially unwanted programs, privacy risks due to information gathering practices, financial losses
Uninstall The browser extension can be removed via settings, while a program has to be uninstalled on the system level. To solve the issue easily, we recommend using SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner security software
Other tips To get rid of browser caches for data tracking prevention and fix potential virus damage to the system, use ReimageIntego

Questionable functions

There are thousands of extensions available for users to choose from, and choice is always great, as it allows them to customize their browsing experience. While some of such apps can be extremely useful – improve security by warning of malicious websites or blocking intrusive ads, others – not so much.

Browser hijackers often pretend to be useful by offering questionable functions. Commonly, they are presented as “improved” or “faster” search results. Some apps may also offer functionality that is rather useless in the grand scheme of things, such as the insertion of links to popular websites such as YouTube or Gmail.

In the case of the Search-Guard browser hijacker, it is not entirely clear what the app is going for. The description is as follows:

We offer you a better way to protect your browser while casually surfing the web, while trying to get the information you are looking for and being harassed.

The truth is, the extension does not provide any security features whatsoever, and the only change to the browsing experience is ads and a changed search provider. The app also tracks user data in the background to employ targeted ads functions for larger monetization purposes.

Search-Guard virusSearch-Guard is not a virus, although its provided features can hardly be considered beneficial

There are plenty of hijackers that, similarly to this one, do not provide any useful features despite the naming of these apps, which imply otherwise. Power-Cleaner, QuickCouponSearch, and Keep It Secure are perfect examples of such behavior. Their main goal is to fool users into believing that they will be useful when installed.

Remove the extension

Your first step in recovering from the browser hijacking is to remove the browser extension responsible for the unwanted activities. You could not retrieve your default browser settings without disabling or uninstalling it from your device.

In most cases, it can easily be eliminated by accessing the “Extensions” (or equivalent) button next to the URL bar and selecting “Uninstall Search-Guard.” If this is not possible for some reason, you could also access browser settings and remove the extension from there.

Google Chrome

  • Open Google Chrome, click on the Menu (three vertical dots at the top-right corner) and select More tools > Extensions.
  • 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

Mozilla Firefox

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

MS Edge

  • Open Edge and click select Settings > Extensions.
  • Delete unwanted extensions by clicking Remove.Remove extensions from Chromium Edge

MS Edge (legacy)

  • Select Menu (three horizontal dots at the top-right of the browser window) and pick Extensions.
  • From the list, pick the extension and click on the Gear icon.
  • Click on Uninstall at the bottom.Remove extensions from Edge

Safari

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

Internet Explorer

  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 suspicious plugins. Click on these entries and select Disable.Remove add-ons from Internet Explorer

Clean your browsers

Once installed, Search-Guard establishes various tracking mechanisms on the web browser. Cookies, web beacons,[2] and other trackers are very common methods to track user activities and technical parameters, which include user browsing history, clicked links, visited websites, device technical aspects, unique identifiers, approximate location, and more.

The collected data is used for various purposes, although it is mainly to profit from the targeted advertisement schemes. According to the privacy policy of the hijacker, the collected information can also be shared with various parties:[3]

We do and may share non-personally identifiable information about your use of the Site and Product with our partners and some service providers

In order to stop this unwanted tracking, you should find and remove web-browser data stored locally on your computer. You can accomplish that by doing a scan with ReimageIntego repair and maintenance utility or by following the manual steps below:

Google Chrome

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

Mozilla Firefox

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

MS Edge (Chromium)

  • Click on Menu and go to Settings.
  • Select Privacy and services.
  • Under Clear browsing data, pick Choose what to clear.
  • Under Time range, pick All time.
  • Select Clear now.Clear browser data from Chroum Edge

MS Edge (legacy)

  • Click on the Menu (three horizontal dots at the top-right of the browser window) and select Privacy & security.
  • Under Clear browsing data, pick Choose what to clear.
  • 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

Safari

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

Internet Explorer

  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
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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.

How to prevent from getting browser hijacker

Protect your privacy – employ a VPN

There are several ways how to make your online time more private – you can access an incognito tab. However, there is no secret that even in this mode, you are tracked for advertising purposes. There is a way to add an extra layer of protection and create a completely anonymous web browsing practice with the help of Private Internet Access VPN. This software reroutes traffic through different servers, thus leaving your IP address and geolocation in disguise. Besides, it is based on a strict no-log policy, meaning that no data will be recorded, leaked, and available for both first and third parties. The combination of a secure web browser and Private Internet Access VPN will let you browse the Internet without a feeling of being spied or targeted by criminals. 

No backups? No problem. Use a data recovery tool

If you wonder how data loss can occur, you should not look any further for answers – human errors, malware attacks, hardware failures, power cuts, natural disasters, or even simple negligence. In some cases, lost files are extremely important, and many straight out panic when such an unfortunate course of events happen. Due to this, you should always ensure that you prepare proper data backups on a regular basis.

If you were caught by surprise and did not have any backups to restore your files from, not everything is lost. Data Recovery Pro is one of the leading file recovery solutions you can find on the market – it is likely to restore even lost emails or data located on an external device.

About the author
Gabriel E. Hall
Gabriel E. Hall - Passionate web researcher

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