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Remove Search.searchfreedm.com virus (Chrome, Firefox, IE, Edge) - Removal Instructions

removal by Lucia Danes - - | Type: Browser Hijackers

Search.searchfreedm.com is a browser hijacker that should be removed as soon as noticed

Search.searchfreedm.com virus is a browser hijacker that targets widely used web browsers such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari. The hijacker is related to the Free Driver Maps add-on which is developed by the Safer Browser that is known for developing various potentially unwanted applications. The Privacy Policy and EULA reveal that this search engine has been developed by the Eightpoint Technologies, Ltd., under an exclusive license by Polarity Technologies, Ltd. Hence, these two companies are famous for creating deceptive search engines.

There’s no doubt that seeing this website instead of your default homepage or search engine is a sign of computer infection. Search.searchfreedm.com browser hijacker often spreads in software bundles and infiltrates computers unnoticed when users install software carelessly[1]. After the hijack, it alters the browser’s settings and prevents users from replacing this domain with their previous ones.

However, users should put more effort and get rid of this program because it might monitor online activities, deliver shady commercial content, and make browsing the Internet dangerous and annoying. We suggest scanning the computer with ReimageIntego and performing automatic Search.searchfreedm.com removal. It helps to detect and remove all PUPs that might be hiding in the system.

The main page of the website includes not only a search bar but also shortcuts and toolbar with links to various websites. The search engine itself provides results from Yahoo search which is a good sign. However, hijackers are known for being capable of altering search results; hence, you cannot be sure whether this one does it or not. Developers of Search.searchfreedm.com virus generates revenue from advertising. Hence, this program might deliver lots of commercial content in the form of ads, banners, in-text, etc.

Online ads have never been as dangerous as they are now because malvertising[2] is actively used for spreading ransomware. Thus, hackers might use hijackers as a marketing tool to spread malware-laden ads. It’s not hard to click on a malicious ad because they might be delivered on the legitimate websites[3] and often are interest-based. The application installs first-party publisher’s and Partner’s tracking cookies[4]. Therefore, all your browsing activities, habits, and history, as well as technical information about your computer and web browser, are collected and analyzed.

Questions about Search.searchfreedm.com virus

What is more, this information might be shared with a third-party advertising network; hence, the number of delivered ads might increase significantly. Therefore, it’s better to remove Search.searchfreedm.com from the computer while it hasn’t collected too much information about you and hasn’t caused problems while browsing the Web.

The picture of Search.searchfreedm.com virusSearch.searchfreedm.com virus is a shady search engine that should not be used.

Most likely the browser hijacker was installed with some other software

Search.searchfreedm.com hijack might occur when installing a free program using Quick or Standard installation mode. The program spreads as an optional component in the software packages, and these settings do not reveal additional downloads. Then using this setup, all extra apps are simply installed by default. Though, if you install new programs under Advanced or Custom settings, you are allowed to monitor this process and see all additional components. If you see some third-party apps, deselect them, and continue the installation.

The steps you should take after Search.searchfreedm.com has appeared on your PC

After the hijack, there’s no need to wait and see what problems one or another Search.searchfreedm.com redirect might cause. Nevertheless, browser hijacker, it’s dangerous itself; it might let you browse through insecure places on the Web[5]. Once this website appears in your browser, you have two options on how to get rid of it.

The simplest and quickest suggestion to remove Search.searchfreedm.com is to use an anti-malware/anti-spyware program. Install one of the mentioned programs below, update it, and run a system scan. Within several minutes the virus locates and deletes all hijacker-related components. However, if you do not want to use additional software, you have to rely on your investigation skills. The second option offers manual Search.searchfreedm.com removal.

Our team has prepared instructions below that will help to find and remove the hijacker and all its components that might be hiding in the system.

You may remove virus damage with a help of ReimageIntego. 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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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.searchfreedm.com virus, follow these steps:

Uninstall Search.searchfreedm.com from Windows systems

Manual Search.searchfreedm.com removal instructions will help you to get rid of the browser hijacker and all its components that might be installed on the system as well. Though, if you leave particular elements, the hijack might occur again. In this case, we suggest opting for the automatic removal option.

  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.searchfreedm.com and related programs
    Here, look for Search.searchfreedm.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.searchfreedm.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.searchfreedm.com from Mac OS X system

The guidelines below will help you to remove Search.searchfreedm.com from the Mac and web browsers. Make sure you eliminate all hijacker-related components. 

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

Remove Search.searchfreedm.com from Applications folder:

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

Get rid of Search.searchfreedm.com from Internet Explorer (IE)

Click on the Settings icon on Internet Explorer. Go to Manage add-ons -> Toolbars and Extensions. From the list of extensions remove Search.searchfreedm.com, Free Driver Maps, or other shady apps that might be related to the browser hijacker.

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 Search.searchfreedm.com 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, Google.com).
  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 Search.searchfreedm.com removal.Reset Internet Explorer

Remove Search.searchfreedm.com virus from Microsoft Edge

Follow the instructions to fix Microsoft Edge after Search.searchfreedm.com hijack.

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 Search.searchfreedm.com-related 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

Delete Search.searchfreedm.com from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

Click on Tools and go to Add-ons -> Extensions. In the list of extensions, you may find Search.searchfreedm.com, Free Driver Maps, or other unknown entries. Uninstall them all. 

  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.searchfreedm.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.searchfreedm.com removal. Click on 'Reset Firefox' button for a couple of times

Erase Search.searchfreedm.com from Google Chrome

Click on the Chrome menu (or icon) and go to Settings -> Extensions. In the list of extensions look for Search.searchfreedm.com, Free Driver Maps, and other applications that might be developed by Safer Browser, Eightpoint Technologies Ltd., or Polarity Technologies Ltd. Remove them all.

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

Uninstall Search.searchfreedm.com from Safari

Click on Safari Settings Menu and go to Preferences -> Extensions. From the list remove all suspicious applications that might be related to the Search.searchfreedm.com virus, Safer Browser, Eightpoint Technologies Ltd., or Polarity Technologies Ltd.

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

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
Lucia Danes
Lucia Danes - Virus researcher

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References

  1. rome says:
    March 3rd, 2017 at 2:35 am

    my chrome was hijacked, but finally the virus is gone!

  2. ergeg says:
    March 3rd, 2017 at 2:36 am

    I was surprised seeing this website on my browser too. Thanks to your instructions I got rid of it.

  3. browser says:
    March 3rd, 2017 at 2:37 am

    someone should stop people from Polarity Technologies…

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