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Remove Search.stormygreatz.com virus (Chrome, Firefox, IE, Edge) - Virus Removal Guide

removal by Olivia Morelli - - | Type: Browser hijacker

Stormygreatz virus might put your computer and your security at risk

Search.stormygreatz.com virus

Search.stormygreatz.com is a potentially unwanted program seeking to disrupt your search sessions. The developers of Stormygreatz state that this “search engine” specializes in Mac installation service and improves user’s browsing experience. Besides, program developers and websites’ owners are promised higher revenues and better user engagement.

At first sight, the appearance might be deceptive, as it is easy to confuse it with other legal search engines, such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, and others.

Due to this delusional look of Stormygreatz and its promises of extremely simple download/installation process, I have already been lured into using this fake search engine. Unfortunately, but this can lead you to hard or almost impossible removal procedure of search.stormygreatz.com virus. If you are willing to eliminate the changes it has made to your web browsers, scan your computer with ReimageIntego (for Windows) or Malwarebytes (for Mac).

According to search.stormygreatz.com “About Us” section, the platform has been functioning as a successful app downloader for years. It also claims to guarantee faster downloads and optimized functionality of apps. However, Stormygreatz virus is promoted with the help of browser hijacking[1] method, and it uses download/installation set-ups that modify browser’s options without user’s permission asked.

If that is not enough, it collects browsing-related data, which usually contains personally identifiable information and may put your privacy at risk. If you are willing to remove Search.stormygreatz.com virus from your computer, follow a guide below and fix your computer.

Once the user downloads and installs the Stormygreatz, the virus tries to hijack legitimate browsers, such as Google Chrome, Safari or Mozilla Firefox and secretly modifies the default search engine, pre-set new tab site, and homepage options by assigning them to search.stormygreatz.com.

These changes may not seem significant, yet, later on, the users are not able to return, their legitimate browsers to the previous state. This problem arises because those set-ups are also designed in a way to download various potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) and other plug-ins (also known as “helper objects”) without user’s consent.

Novirus.uk experts say that these virtual annoyances tend to reassign browser options when the user tries to change them back.[2]

Image of Search.stormygreatz.com virus on MacSearch.stormygreatz.com virus mainly targets Mac computer users. It changes default browser homepage to convince the victim use a shady Genieo search engine variant.

While the user might not notice the downloaded “helper objects,” they continually collect personally non-identifiable data, which may be sold to third-party companies and could possibly cause privacy issues. Privacy issues can arise because some of the collected data that is considered anonymous (such as your search queries) might contain personally-identifiable information.

Moreover, browser plug-ins and potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) run various tasks in the background, e.g., mining cryptocurrency[3]. It can decrease computer’s performance and expose personal data, such as information about your location, etc.

Virus is promoted using browser hijacking method

One of the most popular marketing method used to promote Stormygreatz is bundling – In other words, it means the installation of additional programs, while installing the regular apps or software. The developers are not completely honest and hide the information about future browser modifications in the Custom/Advanced options and mislead the users, who are in a rush and skip important steps of the download/install process.

The developers of Stormygreatz clearly state in the Terms of Use column “Changes to your Computer”: “You hereby grant Stormygreatz Software permission to install the Software and the Approved Offers, including collateral software required to execute such Softwares and/or Approved Offers, as determined by the relevant ISV.”. Hence, once the user downloads it, the developers have permission to make changes to the user’s computer without notifying.

Moreover, Stormygreatz states that it is not responsible for any illegal content or malware damage it may cause: “We, nor our subsidiaries, officers, affiliates and its licensors, are not liable for any damages resulting from your installation or damages caused by any form of malware or inappropriate or illegal (including copyright infringing and spamming) content.”.

Therefore, if you encountered a redirect to search.stormygreatz.com, we strongly recommend you to uninstall all suspicious apps and avoid visiting that site again. 

Useful steps to remove Search.stormygreatz.com and other PUPs and avoid their installation in the future

To avoid the need of Search.stormygreatz.com removal, you have to learn how to avoid downloading the virus in the first place. We always recommend installing applications only from official sources, because as mentioned above, there is a high possibility to download the potentially unwanted programs including Stormygreatz with other free apps. It should be clear to you that the removal of such questionable applications can be complicated.

Also use only direct download URLs, since most malicious ads may seem legitimate and it is hard to determine its origins. If the ads redirect to surveys or other suspicious websites such as adult-only, online dating or gambling sites, we extremely advise to uninstall all dubious browser plug-ins/applications and avoid clicking ads in future.

However, there is a quicker way to finish Search.stormygreatz.com removal, and it requires an anti-spyware or anti-malware software. If you do not have such yet, consider installing one of the programs recommended by us.

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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What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove virus damage using Reimage Intego, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
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.stormygreatz.com virus, follow these steps:

Uninstall Search.stormygreatz.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.stormygreatz.com and related programs
    Here, look for Search.stormygreatz.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.stormygreatz.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.

Erase Search.stormygreatz.com from Mac OS X system

To remove Search.stormygreatz.com from Mac, we suggest using the instructions provided below. You will have to delete shady apps as well as files related to StormyGreatz downloader.

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

Remove Search.stormygreatz.com from Applications folder:

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

Remove Search.stormygreatz.com from Internet Explorer (IE)

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.stormygreatz.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.stormygreatz.com removal.Reset Internet Explorer

Eliminate Search.stormygreatz.com virus 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 Search.stormygreatz.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

Get rid of Search.stormygreatz.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.stormygreatz.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.stormygreatz.com removal. Click on 'Reset Firefox' button for a couple of times

Delete Search.stormygreatz.com from Google Chrome

Get rid of the browser hijacker by deleting questionable entries found in chrome://extensions page in the Google Chrome browser.

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

Uninstall Search.stormygreatz.com from Safari

To clean up the mess StormyGreatz virus made in Safari browser, use the provided guidelines and do not forget to reset the browser afterward!

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

Choose a proper web browser and improve your safety with a VPN tool

Online spying has got momentum in recent years and people are getting more and more interested in how to protect their privacy online. One of the basic means to add a layer of security – choose the most private and secure web browser. Although web browsers can't grant full privacy protection and security, some of them are much better at sandboxing, HTTPS upgrading, active content blocking, tracking blocking, phishing protection, and similar privacy-oriented features. However, if you want true anonymity, we suggest you employ a powerful Private Internet Access VPN – it can encrypt all the traffic that comes and goes out of your computer, preventing tracking completely.

 

Lost your files? Use data recovery software

While some files located on any computer are replaceable or useless, others can be extremely valuable. Family photos, work documents, school projects – these are types of files that we don't want to lose. Unfortunately, there are many ways how unexpected data loss can occur: power cuts, Blue Screen of Death errors, hardware failures, crypto-malware attack, or even accidental deletion.

To ensure that all the files remain intact, you should prepare regular data backups. You can choose cloud-based or physical copies you could restore from later in case of a disaster. If your backups were lost as well or you never bothered to prepare any, Data Recovery Pro can be your only hope to retrieve your invaluable files.

About the author
Olivia Morelli
Olivia Morelli - Ransomware analyst

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